The Horne Lake Caves offer a range of caving opportunities for people of all ages. Horne Lake Caves Facebook

SUMMER FUN: Horne Lake Caves a great family getaway

Up-Island park a mainstay for summer activities for all ages

The Horne Lake Caves might be considered Vancouver Island’s hidden jewel to some, but they’ve also been recognized as some of the best caves in Canada.

Ranked the No. 1 attraction by TripAdvisor, this unique provincial park west of Qualicum Beach offers something for everyone, both above and below ground and is open year round. Park visitors can check out Canada’s only Cave Theatre, hike the Fossil Trail, explore the marble caverns or learn how to rock rappel.

The easiest caving experience is the two-hour Riverbend Explorer Cavern Tour. This guided tour visits crystal-filled Riverbend Cave without any crawling or vertical climbing and is ideal for kids age five and older.

For those looking for more adventure, try the three-hour Multi-Cave Spelunking Tour, which adds some extra caves that feature easy climbing and rock scrambling along with an underground cave slide!

For maximum thrills, the four-hour and five-hour Extreme Tours are your best bet. The four-hour High Adventure Expedition is a great introduction to vertical roped caving – no previous experience necessary. Short crawls and roped climbing leads you to an amazing crystal formation over four storeys tall.

The five-hour Extreme Rappel Tour adds a wild rappel down a seven-storey waterfall underground and a look into the spectacular China Shop near the end of this breathtaking cave.

If you’re not familiar with rappelling, learn the ropes outdoors on the two-hour Rock Rappel Clinic. It’s great for families looking for extra fun.

If you prefer to guide yourself, the park has two caves open for self-guiding. These are more rugged than the Riverbend Explorer Tour, and lighted helmets as well as maps are available to rent.

The summer months are very busy and reservations are recommended by visiting hornelake.com or calling 1-250-248-7829. Call or email for more detailed information, including departure times and weather conditions.

The Cave Park is located next to Horne Lake Regional Park Campground, which offers a beautiful beach, lakefront camping and canoe/kayak rentals – all within walking distance of the park.

editor@vicnews.com

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