Category   Horne Lake Caves Park, Qualicum River, Vancouver Island BC
  Maps of BC 
  Regions & Towns 
  Campgrounds & RVs 
  Fishing & Guides 
  Golf & Golf Vacations 
  Kayaking & Canoeing 
  Outdoor Recreation 
  Parks & Trails 
  Real Estate / Agents 
  Restaurants & Pubs 
  Sightseeing & Tours 
  Skiing & Ski Resorts 
  Whale Watching 
  Wildlife Viewing 
  Business & Shops 
  Conference Facilities 
  Jobs & Employment 
  Spas & Health
  Weddings, Banquets 
  Contact & Advertise 
  Calendar of Events 
  Discussion Forum 
  Facts & Information 
  Photo Gallery 
  Send a Postcard 
  Weather in BC 


Enter the park, cross the river...and go underground!
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.

Horne Lake 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.

Three guided programs are conducted in Riverbend Cave: Family Interpretive, High Adventure or the Underground Extreme program. The main focus of the worthwhile guided tour program is the conservation of the cave environment through education and adventure.

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.

Winding road to Horne Lake, Vancouver Island
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. There is no safe access to the Qualicum River from the day-use area.

The area offers viewing opportunities to see birds, bears and deer. During the fall season, you can see eagles feeding on trout at the campground area next to the park.

Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park is located 38 miles (60 km) north of Nanaimo, and 16 miles (26 km west) of Qualicum on central Vancouver Island. The caves are reached from Qualicum Bay off Island Highway 19A on Horne Lake Road. Turn at the Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park signs at the Horne Lake Exit and follow the signs for 7 miles (12 km) along a gravel road on the north shore of Horne Lake.

For more information on Horne Lake Caves visit their website at:

Nearby Regions & Towns
Qualicum Beach
Fanny Bay
Nearby Services
  Beach Acres Resort, Parksville Listing Details 
Bring your friends and family together to enjoy our seaside charm and tranquil forest setting. Stroll our vast sandy beach in search of treasures, enjoy our ocean and mountain views, or just stretch out and listen to the hush of the wind. Just the two of you? The perfect “kid-free” get-a-way awaits in a cozy little cottage……right on the beach.
  Little Qualicum Cheeseworks, Parksville Listing Details 
Nestled in the shadow of Mt. Arrowsmith, Little Qualicum Cheeseworks on Morningstar Farm produce a variety of world-class, award-winning cheese. Made from high quality milk from our own herd of dairy cows, we have an artisan cheese to suit any occasion, meal or light snack. Come and visit us at the farm - take a self-guided tour, sample the different cheeses, and explore the fruit wines made on location from our own MooBerry Winery. Open daily 9-5.
  MooBerry Winery, Parksville Listing Details 
MooBerry Winery is located on Morningstar Farm where we produce a wide variety of high-quality fruit wines. Winemaker Phil Charlebois invites you to come by for tastings and a self-guided tour. Located on a working dairy farm together with Little Qualicum Cheeseworks, there’s lots to do, see and taste! Open daily from 9am to 5pm.
  Morningstar Farm, Parksville Listing Details 
Morningstar Farm is a heritage dairy farm located between Parksville and Qualicum Beach on Central Vancouver Island. Home to Little Qualicum Cheeseworks and MooBerry Winery, there is something to see, do and taste for everyone. Visit us and see how they make that yummy cheese, pet the farm animals, shop in our FarmGate store, try some cheese and wine samples, take a self-guided tour and stay for a picnic! Open daily 9am - 5pm.
  Practicar Nanaimo, Nanaimo Listing Details 
Practicar Nanaimo offers low rates on daily, weekly and monthly rentals for cars, passenger vans, and trucks; ferry and airport pick-up and delivery, cars also available in Parksville/Qualicum and Gabriola Island; no charge for additional drivers; minimum driver's age 21; special packages, including self-drive vineyard tours, Tofino/Pacific Rim, Gulf Islands available.
  Qualicum Landing, Qualicum Beach Listing Details 
Qualicum Landing is a master-planned luxury beachfront community of 62 beach homes located on 15.5 acres of waterfront property in Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island. Qualicum Landing is one of the last remaining spectacular waterfront properties on Vancouver Island, and the Oceanside area is fast becoming one of the most desirable places to live in Canada.
  Thyme Away Bed & Breakfast, Coombs Listing Details 
Experience warm hospitality and delicious breakfasts at this peaceful countryside retreat. Beautiful rooms, air conditioning, private baths and comfortable beds. We also offer a charming cottage, and swimming pool. Located minutes from the local beaches, this is an ideal base for exploring the Island. Coombs is a tourist destination 10 minutes from Parksville, and 2 hours from Tofino or Victoria.
Park Notices
Park User Fees (Parking Fees and Camping Fees)
Current Updates and Notices for this Park
     Back to Top                                            Web Design by Sage Internet Solutions.
     Copyright (c) 1998 - 2014 Shangaan Webservices Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer.