The province abounds with beautiful mountains and canyons, so it makes sense that there are a variety of caves and tunnels to explore. Some are easily accessed, and others require a bit more effort to get to, but if you are interested in spelunking or seeing the underground life of the province, these are well worth a visit. The mainland of British Columbia offers a number of caves and tunnels, but it is really Vancouver Island that is the draw for those who are looking for an underground adventure. There are more than 1000 caves on Vancouver Island alone!
Horne Lakes Caves Provincial Park
One of the cave systems on Vancouver Island, this provincial park is located just outside of Parksville, north of Nanaimo. There are a variety of tours available year-round that will let you adventure through this amazing network of caves. From beginners to advanced cavers, you will discover an incredible underground world of crystal formations and ancient fossils. There are also two self guided caves that are available to the members of the public who do not want to go on a guided tour. There is a Cave & Karst Education Centre that features geology information, a small museum and fossil display in addition to Canada’s only Cave Theatre, so visitors can learn more about this unique environment.
Part of the famous Kettle Valley Railway and located in Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park, the Othello Tunnels are a cool place to go hiking or bike riding. Travelling through the tunnelsis a great experience in a gorgeous area, so make sure you take your camera. It is our recommendation that you dismount bikes in the tunnels and take flashlights with you. You will love the unique experience of going through the five tunnels on foot.
Cody Caves Provincial Park
In this provincial park, you can adventure into the fragile and amazing underground world in the Selkirk Mountains, with one of the tours offered by a local professional caving company. You can choose from a variety of packages, from a short 2-hour family adventure to a 3-day full on caving experience. In winter you can experience caving to see incredible ice formations. This is an explorers dream destination.
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Did you know Cody Caves, in the West Kootenays near Ainsworth, was threatened a few years ago by, of all things, logging practices.Bobbi Barbarich of @three_owls_studio shares the story, which first appeared in KMC's "Fringe Issue." Click the link in our bio to read it all. #mountainculture #kootenays
Ainsworth Hot Springs
While we are listing this as a separate cave, this is part of the Cody Cave system. However, you don’t need to go caving to enjoy this cave, as a visit to the hot springs will give you access to soak in the amazing underground scene. As with most hot springs in the province, Ainsworth was used by the First Nations of the area long before it became a tourist attraction and has some incredible healing mineral waters, another bonus!
Considered to be located in the “cave capital of Canada” this network of caves is incredible. Located by Campbell River on Vancouver Island, you can self guide through four caves with a combined length of 450 meters and a vertical depth of 35 meters. You need approximately one hour to wind your way through the caves. Make sure you dress appropriately and wear good walking shoes or boots.
Little Huson Cave Regional Park
This park is located in the northern part of Vancouver Island and is home to 15 caves. It is a good place for beginners to start their explorations, or to just view some of the beauty of the caves and surrounding areas without venturing inside. More adventurous and experienced cavers will also find routes to take. You do not need any special equipment to explore the caves and there are no delicate features here that inexperienced cavers need to worry about destroying.
Artlish Cave Provincial Park
A beautiful wilderness area that is home to a cave system on Vancouver Island, this is a destination that takes a bit more effort to get to. A good GPS and proper attire are recommended to get to the cave itself. There are two large cave entrances and an underground river which provide a great opportunity to get some gorgeous photos. Please note that there are limited access points and trails tend to be not well maintained, so be prepared to walk a long distance through rough terrain before getting to the caves. As well, the karst topography is easily damaged and considered a sensitive area, so exercise caution in how you interact with the natural surroundings.
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This is the ninth longest cave in the country and part of a system located in Evanoff Provincial Park. It is a spectacular location for explorers to enjoy. Proper equipment is required for this experience though and it is not recommended for beginners. This is a wilderness destination and visitors should be prepared for a steep ascent to get to the entrance of the cave. A satellite phone, climbing and camping gear, and a GPS are absolute necessities.
Bocock Peak Provincial Park
Approximately 70 kilometers west of Hudson’s Hope you will find this provincial park, which is home to three limestone cave systems, with deep descents up to 253 meters, making it the ninth deepest in Canada. B.C. Parks says the following about the cave system: “When viewing caves, the fragile nature of these systems and the potential hazards associated with them must be recognized. Visitors should be aware of the numerous vertical openings and irregular terrain of surface karst. Inexperienced visitors wishing to view caves should consider joining a caving club.”
Kakwa Provincial Park
The McBride area is gorgeous and it is no surprise that there are caves in the area. About 70 kilometers north of town you will come across this provincial park, which is home to caves that have formed in the limestone and along contact lines with quartzite. Cave resurgences, in which the underground streams reappear at the surface, can be found in the Mount Sir Alexander and Mount Ida areas as well. There are caves that have been partially explored, unexplored and even undiscovered. This is an area best exploring with a caving group that is familiar with the zone and cave systems.
To access this cave, you need to hike the 4-kilometerStone Corral Interpretive Hiking Trail in Monkman Provincial Park, just south of Tumbler Ridge. The cave is 20 metres long and has smooth walls and vertical limestone cliffs with a high ceiling. In spring and early summer, the floor is covered in large icicles. Be sure to explore the back of the cave where you can view a few small stalactites. You need at least 3 hours to do the trail and the cave.
Not too far from Vancouver, in the Fraser Valley by Chilliwack, the Chipmunk Cave system is a hidden gem for experienced trekkers and cavers. The trail itself ends at a steep wooden ladder that takes you up to the cave entrance. Make sure you take a flashlight with you. There are several other small caves in the area if you are up to exploring a bit more.
Tilly Point Caves
A slightly different take on caving, these caves are underwater and can be accessed by scuba diving. If you happen to be on South Pender Island and want an adventure, this underwater cave is really one of the coolest things you can do! Leaving from the beach at Tilly Point or by boat, you can scuba dive through the cave, starting on one side and coming out the other, not only having a chance to see the cave but also the abundant and vibrant marine life.
The Highway Tunnels of BC’s Fraser Canyon
This is more a road trip than a destination, but well worth a drive down the Fraser Canyon to experience these historic tunnels. There are seven in total and are all located between Boston Bar and Yale on the Trans-Canada Highway. They were all built between 1957 and 1964 and range in length from 57 metres (187 feet) to 610 metres (2,000 feet). With their own characteristics, these tunnels each unique and fun to travel through.