Copes Islander Oceanfront Bed and Breakfast
Courtenay BC / Comox Valley B&B and Vacation Rental Accommodation
Comox, Vancouver Island,  British Columbia, Canada

Caving on Vancouver Island

caving spelunking caves karsts speleology Vancover Island BC

Vancouver Island, with an area of some 32,100 square kilometres, is the largest island on North America's west coast. Four percent of this surface area (1,200 square kilometres) is karst. 

With over 1000 recorded, there are more explored limestone caves here than in all other Canadian provinces combined. Vancouver Island is so inundated with caves, however, that the majority of them have yet to be explored. 

Northern Vancouver Island has some of Canada's longest and deepest cave systems.  Hundreds of caves have been surveyed here, some with over 8 kilometres of mapped passages.

Some of the better known and more accessable caves in the mid to north Vancouver Island region within a day trip's reach of the Comox Valley are listed below.

Caves open to the public offering guided or self-guided tours include:

Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park:
The most accessible of caves on Vancouver Island, Horne Lake has three caves open for exploration. The park attracts over 50,000 visitors annually. Main Cave and Lower Main Cave are open for self-guided tours. Safety helmets and flashlights can be rented at the park during operating hours. The third cave, Riverbend, is accessible only on guided 1.5 -hour tours. For those who crave a spelunking challenge, there is a five-hour caving lesson using ropes and harness in a second section of Riverbend. If you're keen to rappel down seven stories, these are the caves to visit. 
Directions: Horne Lake Caves are west of Qualicum Bay on the east side of Vancouver Island. From the Comox Valley, a thirty minute drive south on the Inland Island Highway will bring you to Horne Lake Road. The caves are at the end of the road, about 12 kilometers from the highway turnoff.

Upana Caves:
Near Gold River, Upana Caves are actually several caves within one group. Altogether, the caves have 15 known entrances and 450 meters (1,500 feet) of passages. There are both self-guided and organized tours. The interior of 
the caves remain wild and undeveloped. At one point, you will come across an underground river. The underground sequences of the television series Huckleberry Finn and His Friends were filmed in Upana Caves.
Directions: From the Comox Valley, head north on the Inland Island Highway to Campbell River and Hwy. 28 (the Gold River Hwy). Gold River is about 90 minutes west. Once in Gold River, follow the signs. Maps for self-guided tours are available in Gold River.

Little Hustan Caves Regional Park:
Located at the south end of Nimpkish Lake on north Vancouver Island, the Little Hustan Caves offer self-guided tours.
Directions: From the Comox Valley, head north on the Inland Island Highway through Campbell River and Sayward to the gravel road turnoff for Zeballos. Watch for the signs.

Artlish River Cave:
North of Zeballos, these are some of the biggest caves on Vancouver Island. They can only be accessed by guided tours. Check with the Zeballos Chamber of Commerce for more information.
Directions: From the Comox Valley, head north on the Inland Island Highway through Campbell River and Sayward to the gravel road turnoff for Zeballos. Zeballos is about 50 kilometers away.

Northern Vancouver Island Caves:
For information on Guided tours of some of the many caves and karsts in the Northen region of Vancouver Island, click here .

Essential equipment when exploring caves includes: sturdy boots, warm clothing and a safety helmet, flashlight and spare batteries. For beginners, starting out with guided tours is advisable.

More information about caving, spelunking, caves, caverns, karsts, speleology, etc. in British Columbia: 
B.C. Speleological Federation- 1-250-283-2283

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