Thursday, July 06, 2017

Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park

Our family recently had our first adventure in spelunking otherwise known as cave exploration–what a unique and incredible experience it is! Established in 1971, Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park is located 12 km off of Hwy 19 just north of Parksville. There are three caves that are open to the public and you are able to venture on your own for about 20 meters into each of those caves, just be prepared with headlamps and/or flashlights! The path is well labelled and I recommend stopping in at the information centre before heading out to see where the location of each cave is.

Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park

There are a variety of tours available to learn more about the geology of the caves and they range from family-friendly to extreme options such as rappelling down waterfalls into the depths of the cave. These tours are an added cost and we decided to go at our own pace as we weren't sure how the kids (and I!) would do. The entire route including the caving took us about 1.5 hours to complete. 

The caves are so refreshing on a cool day as they are approximately 8 degrees Celsius inside. I had no idea they would be so narrow and long. Be sure to look around for crystal formations and fossils!

The three caves to self explore are: Lower Cave, Main Cave and Andre's Annex.

Andre's Annex is the furthest cave open to the public and is worth the beautiful extra 1km walk. 

Andre's Annex is one that descends immediately which is an unusual feeling! 

On the tours they give you helmets and headlamps and I can see the need of those helmets–you really need to look around to be aware of all of the rocks around you as well as the slippery and steep sections. You have the option of renting lights there as well.

I would definitely recommend stopping by Horne Lake Caves if you are anywhere near Parksville on Vancouver Island. If we go back we will book the 1 Hour Main Cave Experience or 2 Hour Riverbend Experience, both of which are for ages 5+ as we know now that we would feel comfortable with it. Have you done it? Would you?


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Looking for a fun adventure on Vancouver Island? How about visiting Horne Lake Caves?


  1. I think my husband and I would skip this adventure, but glad you all enjoyed it!

  2. Wow, that looks amazing! I'm not sure if I could do it or not, but it would be worth a try!