Horne Lake Caves: A History

The best in Canada! That is one way to describe the cave resources of Vancouver Island, home to more than 1,000 caves – many of them still not fully explored.

Horne Lakes Provincial Park was established in 1971 at the request of local caving groups on Vancouver Island. These passionate cavers were concerned about potential damage from the outside environment and the lack of legal protection for these unique caves.

As part of the wider environmental awakening that grew during the late 1980’s, local caving enthusiasts from the Canadian Cave Conservancy ran the operations here at Horne Lake Caves from 1986 to 1988. These volunteers provided guided trips to guests, and helped open the eyes of the local public to the importance of protecting these pristine cave ecosystems. Although their tenure lasted only two years, these volunteers left a lasting legacy as the first to popularize Horne Lake Caves among the wider public.

Before long, the growing popularity of Horne Lake Caves made operating the site increasingly difficult for a small group of volunteers. In 1989 Richard Varela and a small group of partners stepped in and carried on operations at the caves, beginning a love affair that has lasted for over three decades.

Our friendly and knowledgeable guides take pride in teaching visitors about the ecosystem of the caves and the surrounding area.

The past 30 years have seen Horne Lake Caves grow significantly under Richard’s leadership, both in popularity and in size with many new rooms and tunnels now explored. In 2011, Canada’s first and only cave interpretive centre was built on the site. This facility educates visitors of all ages on the ecology of caves in a fun and engaging way.

Another newer addition to Horne Lake Caves is the Caves Ability Course. An above ground building, this course helps acquaint visitors with the experience of caving in a safe and exciting way. This course is especially helpful for empowering younger visitors who may have fears about caving.

After more than 32 years of running the site Richard is now passing the torch to Myles Fullmer. A long-time guide here at Horne Lake Caves, Myles has been working here in a variety of roles for over ten years.

Starting as a guide in 2011, Myles rose up the ranks to become a lead guide, group coordinator, operations manager and is now the owner of the operator license for Horne Lake Caves from the provincial government. Myles and the team at Horne Lake Caves are dedicated to empowering guests by guiding them the unique experience of caving.
Myles and his team are continually working to further improve the accessibility and safety of Horne Lake Caves in an environmentally conscious manner. Like most cave systems in the world, Horne Lake Caves has not been completely-explored yet. Exploring and mapping out these caves is an ongoing project for Myles and the team at Horne Lake Caves.

Join us on one of our tours to learn more about the beautiful and exciting world beneath your feet!

We’re also planning to introduce new options for our guests to further improve the Horne Lake Caves experience. We’re considering offering guided tours of other caves in the local area as well as canyoneering tours – stay tuned for further updates!

We believe that caving isn’t just limited to a highly-adventurous few, but rather that every person can experience this rewarding activity in a safe and structured way. We invite you to join us here at Horne Lake Caves, and see for yourself the beauty that can be found beneath your feet.

To learn more about Horne Lake Cave and to book your guided tour, call us at (250) 248-7829 or email us at info@hornelake.com today! We can’t wait to have you join us here for an amazing caving experience you won’t soon forget!

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