Canada isn’t really known for it’s caving, but with a country this size, there are a few notable examples.
Spelunking is not for everyone. We’ll just get that out of the way right away; a deep dark hole isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time or great sight. Myself, I find caves fascinating, though I can’t say I’m an active enthusiast.
All that preamble to say, the Horne Lake Cave system is one of the best systems in Canada, and offers tons to see for those willing to don a helmet and creep through the limestone tunnels and caverns.
Virtually every tourism magazine covering B.C. has sent someone down there, thanks to the relatively easy access for parts of the cave. On top of that, it does also have some special photo opportunities, for anyone willing to shoot in the dark.
To be fair, this isn’t a single sight; the caves are a large complex, with hundreds and hundreds of meters to explore. There are a few highlights though, including plenty of limestone structures built over the years by dripping water and mineral build up.
The park is located in the interior of the island near the towns of Parksville and Qualicum Beach (popular tourist towns). The area is about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Victoria and the caves are a popular day trip from the provincial capital.
Costs can range on this sight. Since it’s a provincial park it’s free to enter, but there are fees for some of the tours and equipment rental.
TripAdvisor rates it as the number 1 thing to do in the area, and that’s not nothing, with Qualicum Falls and Parksville’s beach in the area.
The park’s official site is here.
Editor’s Notes —This is an updated version of the post I published last year when I took the first swing at this project.