Caves, Pacific Northwest
North Vancouver Island is a place of waterfalls and rivers, of deer and wolves, of birds and seals. A place of majestic forests gently covered in a blanket of mist. A place where dreams come from. A visit to North Vancouver Island must include a stop at the beautiful Eternal Fountain Waterfall.
This waterfall is truly amazing and a wonder to see, it flows out of the rock face, drops for about 5 meters and then disappears back into the mountain. If the beauty of these falls is not enough for you, then you could drop down to the base of the falls and go behind to discover another waterfall that is completely underground, there is a beautiful subterranean passage that has been sculpted out of red rock, it has been carved out by the passing of the underground river.
The tunnel behind the falls meanders along as it follows the roaring stream on its route through the cave to the end where it drops into a deep sump and disappears. Awesome sight to see, but please be careful as the rock passage can be very slippery.
Along the route you will also have the opportunity to visit some other incredible spots like the Devils Bath, its Canada’s only cenote, a cenote is a sink-hole surrounded by rock bluffs and is filled with groundwater. The Devil’s Bath is connected to the Benson River Cave system via an underwater cave. Devil’s Bath is located in the Quatsino limestone karst system, which contains many karst formations and cave systems.
You can also visit the Vanishing River and the Reappearing River, a part of the Benson River that flows underground for about 2 km before reappearing again. The trail into this site is not marked, there has been a washout on the trail route and its suggested that you pass this spot by. But if you are adventurous, you can locate the trail, hike in on a short trail that takes you to an incredible place, you will see a river roaring down a canyon and then dropping into a deep hole and disappearing into the mountain, only to reappear some 2 km away. Quite a sight to see.
To get to the Eternal Fountain along with the Devils Bath and the Disappearing River from hwy19, turn off onto the Keogh Rd just north of Port McNeil and head south, drive a short distance and you will see a large directional sign with a map of the Alice Lake Loop, this is where you choose your route. The drive is about 100 km, with a driving time of 2 to 3 hours, but you will want to have the whole day, so you can explore these wonders completely.
On your drive, you will have a good chance in seeing bears, elk, cougars, deer, wolves and any number of smaller forest creatures and if that is not enough, the bird-life here is just incredible. The numerous lakes you will pass have exceptional fishing along with great camping areas, so you could take your time and stay overnight in one or more camp-grounds and spend several days here . This would allow you to really get to see the north island and all it has to offer.
So what are you waiting for, grab your camera, fishing pole, some flash-lights and head out on one heck of an adventure.