Caving & Coombs

When: Saturday, Jul 13, 2024, 9:00AM - 5:00PM PST
Add to CalendarCaving & Coombs07/13/2024 09:00 AM07/13/2024 05:00 PMMM/DD/YYYYAmerica/VancouverfalseaYqCFcQpUzxLBYhTummH26494

Caving and Coombs

Trip Information

Join us for a day of exploring central Vancouver Island and discovering the fascinating underground world of our local caves.

Heading north of Nanaimo, we will make our way to Horne Lake Caves, located within a Provincial Park. Once there, we will get instruction from the staff as well as some safety gear. It is dark in the caves, so they will provide us with helmets and headlamps. Then we head out for a guided hike where we'll learn about the unique geography of Vancouver Island and go underground!

After caving, we will visit the famous "Goats on the Roof" Market, in the small town of Coombs. There will be time to explore this unique market, which features food and items from around the world. Everyone will have a chance to purchase lunch or snacks and take pictures of the goats snacking on the grass roof.

Conditions in the Caves

“Wet & Wild Cave Adventure” - the rainy season brings lots of water to the caves. The caves are dark, wet, and have a consistent temperature of 8°C (very cold!). During the Winter or Spring these tours can be VERY wet; bring along a complete change of clothes, including shoes and socks. Rubber boots make the best footwear. Otherwise, hiking boots or running shoes will do. Don’t forget about the weather outside, that may be quite warm, as we will have to hike to caves entrances. 

Multi-Cave Experience

These tours spend more time in the cave and involve some scrambling and climbing so make sure your long pants and shirts are able to take some rough use. Don’t wear your best new clothes, they won’t stay that way for long. Hiking boots are recommended rather than running shoes.

What to wear for a video about what to wear at Horne Lake Caves.

What to Wear:

  • Waterproof clothing
  • A warm sweater, fleece or hoodie or a light jacket
  • Pants (do not wear jeans or cotton pants, because they will stay cold and wet)
  • A change of socks, shoes, and pants (expect that your clothes will get wet and dirty)
  • Appropriate footwear - rubber boots would be best, as it will be wet in the caves
  • You may want to pack some extra clothes for after the caving activity (expect that your clothes will get wet and dirty).

* Do not wear sandals, dress shoes, crocs, or high heels. You will be denied entry into the caves*

What to Bring:

  • Water bottle (no fresh water is available in the caves and you will be out for about 2.5 hrs)
  • Hand sanitizer 
  • Snacks & lunch (you will have the option to buy a later lunch at Coombs Market)
  • Gloves & warm hat
  • A backpack to carry all your items
  • Money for shopping at the Coombs Market
  • A camera that can be put in your pocket (you must be able to use both your hands while moving through that caves)

Meeting Location: 

VIU Building 255, Main Lobby (second floor) at 9 am

Trip Includes:

Transportation, guided 3 hour tour, free time at Coombs Country Market

Policies, Health & Safety

We have an ongoing commitment to ensure the safety and quality of our trips, with trained and responsible student leaders, staff and community partners. Before you sign-up, please check out our policies & procedures for more information about how to prepare for a trip, as well as our cancellation policy.

How to Sign Up

Our activities are available to all current VIU Students. Sign up with us in person, next to the Front Reception Desk in the "Glassroom" on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12pm – 1:30pm in Building 255 - Second Floor.

You will need to have your:

  1. Student card,
  2. Proof of medical insurance (BC Care Card or Insurance Policy)
  3. Payment (cash is currently the only method of payment for activities)

Waiver Form

Please read our general waiver form for VIU group activities in the attachment section below. All participants are required to read and sign the waiver before the start of the trip. We will provide a paper copy for you to read through again and sign the morning of the trip.


Robin Lemmens, Activity Program Coordinator
phone: 250-753-3245, Ext. 2228