Caves, Pacific Northwest
Vancouver Island has more than 1,000 discovered caves and l am sure there are at least as many yet to be found. For the beginner, the Horne Lake Caves are a great place to get acquainted with the underground. The park was created in 1971 at the request of many spelunking groups on Vancouver Island. They felt this system was to incredible and the potential damage that could arise from from being unprotected was to great.
Spelunking is becoming very popular and the Horne Lake Caves are a perfect place to begin learning how to do it. There are educational tours to show you the wonders of the underground. Guides lead visitors through the caves where you will see crystal formations and incredible fossils and formations. There are two small caves that you can explore on your own, guided tours of the larger caves can offer more intense spelunking and views.
The park has an education center that can teach you about cave geology information, plus a small museum and fossil display, there is also a cave theater where you can learn more about caves.
According to the brochure, you can go on a 90-minute family tour into the protected Riverbend Cave, daily from 10 am to 5 pm from May to September. This tour will teach you the geology of the caves while exploring the larger and easier passageways and is available on a first-come, first-served basis from 10am to 5pm. Three-hour Adventure trips are also available daily throughout the year. Reservations are required for all tours and can be made by calling the Horne Lake Caves at 250 248-7829. Those wanting more adventure can try the 4-hour or 5-hour caving excursions offered at the park. The ultimate in caving challenge is the 5-hour excursion that has cavers rappel down a seven story waterfall into the depths of a cave then climb out on a cable ladder.
Whichever method of exploring the caves you choose, you are bound to be fascinated by this amazing underground world in the heart of Vancouver Island.