Caving, or spelunking, is the activity of exploring cave systems. A lot of fun, creepy, slimy and fascinating stuff can be found in caves. If this is your thing, British Columbia has a number of caves that will satisfy your urge to put a light on your head, and explore the nearest deep caverns. Make sure that you have all of the personal caving gear required to safely explore, and contact your local park to ensure that there are no precautions or concerns. Some of the parks listed below are perfect for novice spelunkers, and some are for experienced explorers only. Be sure to contact the park to talk to them about your trip. Many of the parks also have specific rules in place to help quell the incidences of White-Nose Syndrome, which is a fungal disease that kills bats in massive numbers. Talk to park officials about your plans, and prevention strategies, as the disease is easily spread by spelunkers entering caves with contaminated clothing, gear and equipment.

Artlish Caves Provincial Park

Artlish Caves Provincial Park is known for its spectacular and unique karst features. It is the home of the last remaining undisturbed karst unit, in the underground portion of the Artlish River, and an old growth valley bottom karst ecosystem.

Location: Located northwest of Zeballos on northern Vancouver Island. The most popular access is at the west side of the park through Canadian Forest Products TFL 37. This system of roads is accessed via the Zeballos Forest Service road (off Highway 19 just north of Woss).

Caving Opportunities: There are two large caves and an underground river to explore. However, because the environment of the park is sensitive, there are limited caving opportunities at present. Entrances to the caves are not marked.

Experience Level Required: Very experienced. As a park management plan is still being developed and use is restricted, only very experienced cavers should consider contacting the park. Karsts can be easily and irreparably damaged by visitors.

Something to Note: The park is accessible only by logging roads, and logging trucks have the right of way, so vehicles entering the park must use pullouts when needed and possible.

Interesting Stuff: The park is in the traditional territory of the Kyuquot/Checleset First Nation peoples.

Other Park Activities: fishing; hiking; pets on leash (not in backcountry, as problems with wildlife, particularly bears, may arise); wildlife viewing.

Website: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/artlish_caves/

Amenities: Campfires (although a stove is preferred). There are no other services at this park, and visitors must adhere to "leave no trace" ethics.

Weymer Creek Provincial Park

Weymer Creek Provincial Park is home to some of the longest and deepest caves in the country, which provide a habitat to a number of bat species such as the Keens Long-eared Myotis.

Location: 5 km southeast of the village of Tahsis on northwestern Vancouver Island. Access to the park is via a series of old and active logging roads off the road to Tahsis. Nearby communities include: Tahsis, Gold River, Nootka Sound

Caving Opportunities: Most caves are suitable for experienced cavers only. There are limited caving opportunities, and when a management plan is implemented the park will be available for more cave exploration.

Experience Level Required: Experienced. As a park management plan is still being developed and use is restricted, only experienced cavers should consider contacting the park. Karsts can be easily and irreparably damaged by visitors.

Something to Note: The park is accessible only by logging roads, and logging trucks have the right of way, so vehicles entering the park must use pullouts when needed and possible. Weymer Creek Provincial Park is open year round, but in the winter, depending on weather, access roads may be closed.

Interesting Stuff: The park is home to some of the longest and deepest caves in the country. The caves are home to several bat species, and the park itself has large old-growth and second-growth forests.

Other Park Activities: Hiking; pets on leash (dogs are not allowed in caves)

Website: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/weymr_cr/

Amenities: Campfires; walk-In/wilderness camping; winter camping

White Ridge Provincial Park

White Ridge's name is reminiscent of the white limestone and karst topography in the park.

Location: Extending from the boundary of Strathcona Provincial Park northwest to the Gold River Highway corridor, the park is 4 km west of Gold River and can be accessed off Gold River Highway 28.

Caving Opportunities: There are some opportunities for cavers, but, with the absence of a park management plan, only experienced cavers should attempt to explore the park.

Experience Level Required: Experienced. As a park management plan is still being developed and use is restricted, only experienced cavers should consider contacting the park. Karsts can be easily and irreparably damaged by visitors.

Something to Note: There are important deer and Roosevelt elk habitat in the park.

Interesting Stuff: The park has a prominent mid-elevation forested ridge which forms the eastern viewscape of the community of Gold River.

Other Park Activities: Hiking; hunting; pets on leash; wildlife viewing.

Website: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/wht_ridg/

Amenities: Campfires (camping stoves preferred); walk-In/wilderness camping; winter camping; There are no other services at this park, and visitors must adhere to "leave no trace" ethics.

Cody Caves Provincial Park

The caves at Cody Caves Provincial Park are lined with calcite formations.

Location: Off of Highway 31, near a gravel pit north of Ainsworth is where visitors will start the drive to the park. The road is passable during July and August, but may have industrial traffic at other times of the year. Please contact the Park Facility Tour Operator for details on how to get to the park. The roads into the park are mainly gravel, and are sparsely marked. Larger vehicles, such as motorhomes and vehicles pulling trailers, may not be able to pass through to the park.

Caving Opportunities: The park provides guided tours only, for visitor safety and protection of the caves. Visitors can only see the caves by booking a tour. Visitors can get book guided cave tours at www.codycavetours.com.

Experience Level Required: For all experience levels.

Something to Note: Visitors should bring their own water, as the park does not have any sources of potable water.

Interesting Stuff: There are more than 800 metres of cave passages for exploration, and an underground stream flows for over a kilometre.

Other Park Activities: Cycling; hiking; pets on leash (pets are not allowed in caves)

Website: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/cody_cvs/

Amenities: Picnic areas; pit or flush toilets.

Clayoquot Plateau Provincial Park

Clayoquot Plateau Provincial Park, protects a number of rare plant species, undisturbed old-growth forests, fragile karst features, sinkholes and a number of small lakes.

Location: Located on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Access from the base of the plateau west of Sutton Pass off Highway 4 (approximately 1 hour past Port Alberni). Nearby communities include: Tofino, Ucluelet, Port Alberni.

Caving Opportunities: Caves are suitable for experienced cavers only. Although there may be potential for caving opportunities in the future, this area is sensitive and its use is not recommended until a management plan is complete.

Experience Level Required: Experienced cavers only. The park is difficult to access, and there are no developed trails in the park. Snow melts very late in the season. The karst area is very hazardous.

Something to Note: Bears, wolves and cougar may be present anywhere in the Sound; therefore, pets are not allowed in the park.

Good quality raingear is essential, even in the summer. Bring emergency equipment and spare clothing.

Interesting Stuff: The park lies in the traditional territory of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation.

Other Park Activities: Hunting; wildlife viewing.

Website: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/clayoquot_pl/

Amenities: Campfires (although a stove is preferred); walk-in/wilderness camping; winter camping. There are no other services at this park, and visitors must adhere to "leave no trace" ethics.

Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park

The park is open for day use only, and is known as a family-friendly park. Spelunking activities and tours are geared towards all family members.

Location: 60 km north of Nanaimo and 26 km west of Qualicum on central Vancouver Island. The park can be accessed via the Horne Lake exit off Hwy #19 or Hwy #19a. Follow signs for 12 km to Horne Lake.

Caving Opportunities: Reservations for cave tours can be made through the Horne Lake Cave tour operator. Visit www.hornelake.com for more details.

Experience Level Required: All experience levels.

Something to Note: Although the park offers tours for visitors, some of the caves are open for self-exploration. Visitors should bring their own drinking water as potable water is not available in the park.

Other Park Activities: Canoeing; rock climbing/rapelling; cycling; hiking;

Website: https://www.hornelake.com/

Amenities: Interpretation programs; self-guided educational trails; pets on leash; swimming; wildlife viewing; picnic areas; pit or flush toilets.

Small River Caves Provincial Park

Location: Located on the west side of the Small River drainage, high above the valley bottom, this cave complex is remote and difficult to access.

The closest communities include McBride and Valemount.

Caving Opportunities: The caves in the park are difficult to access and can be hazardous for those who do not have extensive experience. Because of the environment's fragility, it is recommended that cavers talk to park officials first.

Experience Level Required: Very experienced cavers only.

Something to Note: Logging trucks constantly access the roads that lead into the park, so it is important that visitors be aware of all traffic, and take the proper precautions to remain safe.

Interesting Stuff: The park, created through the joint efforts of the Robson Valley Land and Resource Management Plan and the Protected Areas Strategy, is home to a vital karst/cave system and lies at the transition zone between Engelmann Spruce-Subalpine Fir (ESSFmm1) and the Alpine Tundra (AT) biogeoclimatic zones.

Other Park Activities: Wildlife viewing

Website: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/small_rv/

Amenities: There are no facilities in the park.

Mount Robson Provincial Park

Mount Robson Provincial Park is named after Mount Robson, which, at 3,954 metres, is the highest peak in the Rockies. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Location: Located west of the British Columbia/Alberta border and Jasper National Park. About 4 hours north of Kamloops, BC on Highway 5; 3 1/2 hours east of Prince George, BC on Highway 16; and 5 hours west of Edmonton, Alberta on Highway 16. The closest communities to this park are Valemount, Tete Jaune Cache and McBride.

Caving Opportunities: There are a lot of opportunities for cavers at Mount Robson.

Experience Level Required: All experience levels are welcome.

Something to Note: Avalanches are common here, so visitors should check the Canadian Avalanche Association website for current regional conditions. Avalanche bulletins can be found at http://www.avalanche.ca/cac/bulletins/latest/north-rockies/

Interesting Stuff: There are over 182 species of birds at Mount Robson, and the indigenous wildlife is fascinating - including moose, elk, bear (grizzly and black), deer and mountain goat and mountain sheep.

Other Park Activities: Canoeing; climbing; cycling; fishing; hiking; horseback riding; pets on leash; swimming; wildlife viewing; back country skiing; snowshoeing;

Amenities: Boat launch; campfires; drinking water; group camping; picnic areas; pit or flush toilets; playground; sani-station dump; showers; vehicle accessible camping; walk-in/wilderness camping; wheelchair accessible; winter camping.

Website: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/mt_robson/

Evanoff Provincial Park

The park is home to the Fang Cave Complex, home to the ninth longest cave in Canada.

Location: 121 km east of Prince George along Highway 16, the Bowron Forest Service Road and Pass Lake Road in the McGregor Mountains. Prince George is the closest community, town or city.

Caving Opportunities: There are opportunities for caving at the park, but the caving area can be dangerous.

Experience Level Required: Experienced cavers only.

Something to Note: Accessible by forest roads, visitors must keep an eye open for logging trucks. Once you get to the park, however, the alpine lakes, limestone pinnacles and ridges, and the trails are easy to get to, and will make you thankful that you made the drive.

Interesting Stuff: The park is the traditional territory of Lheidli T'enneh Nation.

Other Park Activities: Hiking; hunting; wildlife viewing; snowmobiling;

Website: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/evanoff/

Amenities: Walk-in/wilderness camping.

Close To The Edge Provincial Park and Protected Area

The park is the Dezaiko Range of the Rocky Mountains.

Location: 160 km northeast of Prince George, accessible via the Pass Lake forest service road to Gleason creek. The closest community is Prince George.

Caving Opportunities: Caves here are incredible. Close to the Edge Cave, the third deepest cave in Canada at 472 metres, is the pièce de résistance, but there are also a great number of interesting smaller caves to explore.

Experience Level Required: Experienced cavers only.

Something to Note: Close to the Edge Cave goes straight down, so it is important that victors take care when visiting the park.

Interesting Stuff: Along with the wonderful caves, the park is also home to caribou, moose, and black and grizzly bears.

Other Park Activities: Hiking; hunting.

Website: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/close_to_the_edge/

Amenities: There are no facilities in the park.

Monkman Provincial Park

Monkman is one of the most beautiful and diverse parks in British Columbia. Alpine meadows, mountain peaks, lush valleys and waterfalls are all in one place for visitors to view.

Location: On the Murray River Road, 60 kilometres south of Tumbler Ridge.

Caving Opportunities: The Stone Corral Trail has many caving opportunities, such as at Corral Cave and Porcupine Cave. The small caves are located in the limestone outcrops.

Experience Level Required: All experience levels welcome.

Something to Note: The park has many wheelchair-accessible areas, including a viewing platform at Kinuseo Falls. Visitors are asked to practice "leave no trace" ethics.

Interesting Stuff: Kinuseo Falls, part of the Murray River, is higher than Niagara Falls.

Other Park Activities: Camping; fishing; hiking; horseback riding; hunting; pets on leash; wildlife viewing; backcountry camping; mountain biking;

Website: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/monkman/

Amenities: Campfires; drinking water; picnic areas; pit or flush toilets; vehicle accessible camping; walk-in/wilderness camping; wheelchair-accessible.

Bocock Peak Provincial Park

This park is so remote that there are no designated trails or access roads, but the limestone cave systems are worth the trip.

Location: South of the Peace Arm of Williston Lake and adjacent to Eleven Mile Creek, approximately 70 km west of Hudson's Hope.

Caving Opportunities: There are opportunities to spelunk here, but visitors must always be aware of the fragile karsts.

Experience Level Required: All levels welcome.

Something to Note: Grizzly, black bear, mountain goat, moose, and small mammals such as pine marten, marmots and porcupine are numerous in the park.

Interesting Stuff: The park is part of the lands used by the West Moberly, Salteau and Halfway First Nations.

Other Park Activities: Cycling; hiking; horseback riding; hunting; wildlife viewing; snowshoeing; backcountry skiing.

Website: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/bocock_peak/

Amenities: Campfires; walk-in/wilderness camping;





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