The Horne Lake Mystical Caves

The Horne Lake Mystical Caves

The Horne Lake Mystical Caves

Remember the movie “Journey to the Center of the Earth”? Well, its kinda like that except you don’t have to travel so far. What I can tell you is that once you get there it will blow your mind the same way. Guaranteed!!!

Its not hard to find and its not far to go but when you get there you will forever be glad you made the journey and really, lets be honest with each other, your not going to be travelling anywhere far & warm in the immediate future so why not explore this awesome island.

So, where is this treasure? Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park is located along the Qualicum River, north of Qualicum Beach on central Vancouver Island. The 158-hectare park protects seven caves in the cave system, considered to be one of the best in Canada.

Horne Lake is named after Adam Horne (1831-1903), a Hudson Bay Company storekeeper in Nanaimo, who discovered the lake in 1856. Horne was perhaps the first European to cross central Vancouver Island.

The cave was discovered in 1964 by a party of spelunkers headed by longshoreman Jim Johnson of Nanaimo, and his wife Delores. At 4,000 feet long and containing more than 1,000 caves, it was believed to be the largest measured natural cave in BC. Johnson named the cave Euclataws, after the First Nation people who had resided there for generations. Johnson’s party sealed off the entrance and kept its existence a secret to protect the caves and the fragile crystal formations they contained.

The cave was “rediscovered” in 1969 by members of the Canadian Speleological Society and named Casteret Cave after French speleologist Norbert Casteret; the Society later agreed to use Johnson’s earlier name, Euclataws. The cave is now under the jurisdiction of the Provincial government, which incorporated the area into a provincial park in 1971.

The caves are largely undeveloped, and in keeping with the natural theme, none of the caves have lighting, and the floors are rocky and uneven. The caves are cool, even during summer, so bring warm clothing and good footwear. Visitors wanting to explore on their own should have at least two sources of light, and helmets are highly recommended. These supplies are available to rent from the tour operator. The routes within the caves are not marked, and contain steep slopes, slippery sections, and exposed drops. Self-explorers should exercise extreme caution while traveling in the caves.

From the parking area a trail leads across a swinging suspension bridge over the Qualicum River to the main cave. The Main Cave and Lower Cave are open for self-guided tours throughout the year.

The 1.5-hour Family Interpretive tour is designed to teach the geology and history of the caves. It starts with a 25-minute hike to the entrance along the Karst Trail. While exploring the larger and easier passageways, visitors are treated to a cave full of beautiful crystalline formations. There are no narrow squeezes or tight passages involved in this tour.

Looking for adventure? Where the family tour stops, this “The High Adventure” begins. This 5-hour wild and challenging underground expedition is basic rock climbing.

The adventure begins in the Siphone Room and continues down a series of vertical drops. One on one instruction is provided for inexperienced climbers to rope their way to the top of a seven-story waterfall known as the Rainbarrel.

Go further than ever before! This is an extension of the High Adventure expedition with an added thrill. Rappel down seven story Rainbarrel and visit the spectacular China Shop at the very end of this amazing cave. Explorers will return to the surface by climbing back up the Rainbarrel on a wild cable ladder. Not for the faint of heart! Dress warmly and appropriately for caving and carry a flashlight.

The park has a day-use/picnic area with 2 picnic tables and pit toilets. Located next to the Big Qualicum River, the day-use area offers a shallow area suitable for swimming or wading. Other adventures include canoe and water safety instruction on Horne Lake, kayaking, horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, and fishing. There is a private campground adjacent to the park with a boat launch.

So, if you want to take a 6 minute tour and see what is in store for you there, click on the link here:

To take a tour, its located at 3905 Horne Lake Caves Rd, Qualicum Beach and you can call (250) 248-7829

Hope you all have an awesome weekend.

Brian McCullough, RE/MAX of Nanaimo

#1-5140 Metral Drive

Nanaimo, BC V9T 2K8

Office: (250) -751 – 1223


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