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“A good introduction to caving with children” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park

Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park
3900 Horne Lake Caves Rd., Qualicum Beach, British Columbia V9K 2L7, Canada
250-248-7829
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Certificate of Excellence 2014
Activities: Group tours/walking tour
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Attraction details
Owner description: Check out the Vancouver Island Underworld! Open year round for exploration above and below ground. Tours range from easy family tours all the way to the "Underground Extreme" where explorers rappel down a seven-storey waterfall! Or try the "3 hr. "Wet & Wild" Spelunking Adventure. Next door to the Horne Lake Campground where visitors will find lakefront campsites, canoe & kayak rentals, free parking & picnic area, boat launch and even camping in a teepee!
Shanghai, China
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
18 attraction reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“A good introduction to caving with children”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2013

We visited the caves with our children aged 7 and 9, renting helmets and flashlights on site ie self-guided tour. The fist two lower caves were appropriate for beginners while the upper ones are more challenging. We had a great family laugh and recommend the experience.

Visited August 2013
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125 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Torrance, California
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Horn Lake Caves - Family Tour”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2013

I loved the Family Cavern Tour but don't agree with their answer to the question: "How tight are the passages? Do we have to crawl or squeeze?" Their answer: "The Family Cavern Tour does not have squeezes or crawls....". True, there were no "crawls" but their WERE "squeezes" in my opinion. Here is how I described my experience in an email to a friend: “Well, I did it. Took the Horn Lake Caves 90 minute family tour yesterday morning. We started out as 14 customers, which included 4 young boys, plus 2 guides. 2 ladies turned back at the beginning of the hike up the trail. First we walked over a swinging bridge, then 25 minutes up a steep path, with lots of stops making it very doable, then climbed around in the cave, over, in between and sometimes slithering down small boulders, at times watching not to hit your head on the low hanging ceiling. (Miner's helmets were provided). It was interesting and fun, but my thighs are complaining a little this morning.

I wouldn't recommend it to anybody not limber enough to climb over sometimes wet, a little slippery boulders in limited space”.

Visited August 2013
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Vancouver, Canada
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Unique experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2013

It's not easy entertaining 3 teenage boys without electronic gadgets, but the spelunking at Horne Lake Caves did it! The family caving trip is highly recommended. Not too difficult as long as you have good shoes and a light jacket. An experience not to be missed!

Visited August 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Whitby
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
10 attraction reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
“FUN CAVE ADVENTURE WITH KIDS”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2013

My sister and I took our kids (aged 8-13) on a Family Tour of the caves. They have different tours available and some go very deep into the caves, so it's not for the light of heart. You must be able to withstand being in the deep and dark for up to 4 hours for some tours, as well as being able to repel to quite deep levels.
The tour we did with the kids was perfect and so much fun! We had a really nice guide, a young student, who took us up a steep trail to the cave entrance. The largest group they take is 14 plus the guide, so if you're a larger group I suggest you call first to see if they can accommodate you. We had to wait 90 minutes as they were already full and they do not take reservations except for the first and last tour of the day.
The caves are centuries old and the sides cannot be touched as the oils from our hands with damage the wonderful growths and designs that emerge from the depths. The cave bottoms are awkward and a bit treacherous as they are covered in large, awkward-shaped boulders, but it is really interesting to see what water and time can do to the lime formations. You must be sure-footed to be able to move within the caves. Dress appropriately in proper footwear and I suggest you wear a light jacket as it's only 8 Celsius inside the caves (year-round). It's a worthwhile visit to see these amazing formations as they are so rare. BC is one of only a handful of places in the world with caves like this, so it's a great adventure for a rainy day if you are visiting Vancouver Island.
The main office has chocolate bars and ice cream novelties for sale, but not much else, so I suggest you bring water and something to eat as you are definitely off the beaten track and there aren't any services around.
It's a bjt of a drive in from the main highway, and half of it is only oiled-over dirt road, but it's worth the trip if you want to try something novel.
Horne Lake is adjacent (hence the name). It's a lovely and large lake, but it's very cold to swim in.
This is a provincial government site, but there is no electricity or plumbing at the site but the office has a gas-powered generator and can accept interact and credit cards for payment. There are well-maintained outdoor toilets.

Visited August 2013
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Port Alberni, BC
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
10 attraction reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Great caving morning”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2013

We had a lovely first time experience in venturing into the caves. As a first time, we took the Family tour. Perfect! Some things to think about. The cave is a constant 8 degrees celcius (47 F). So, some warm clothes are recommended. But, there is a "little" hike up to the cave. By the time I got to the top, I was sweating (as were others). If you can, wear shorts and bring sweats. And/or wear a zippered jacket/fleece - you have to wear a helmet and this would be the easier way to get on and off. They do not provide gloves, so that may be an option - you are encouraged to balance with a three point stance. Not a big issue, but just a thought. Most of the way from the highway was a hard packed dirt road. Plan accordingly as most people drive slow on it. The actual tour was excellent. Tour guide (Ansel) interjected technical terms in a story teller way. It was a good mix. For our tour, the cost was easy to handle. Obviously, the longer the tour, the greater the cost. My wife and I are thinking of now taking the longer tours. You can also take your own self-guided tours - check with the staff where you can go on that one. Lots of walking up and down, steps, and close quarters. Highly recommend for all, but be aware you will have to play billy-goat, sliding/sitting on rocks, and stooping over in the smaller cave areas.

Visited August 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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