There’s something magical and otherworldly about caves – mysterious even.
Created by ancient limestone deposits eroded by melting ice-age glaciers, these surreal caverns hold many secrets and ancient stories for those who venture into them. And while you might want to leave some caves to professional spelunkers and speleologists, others beg to be explored by folk with curious souls.
In Ontario, we’re lucky enough to have many incredible caves across the province that are absolutely perfect for exploring – especially for beginners.
Ideal for daytrippers of any age looking to feed their wanderlust, here are three Ontario caves that you should keep on your radar for an out-of-the-ordinary adventure.
For cave exploration newbies, this 45-minute guided tour of Ontario’s largest cavern is guaranteed to pique your curiosity and get you hooked into the strange world of spelunking.
Located about 15 minutes from Belleville in the iconic Bay of Quinte area, this family-run site is tucked away amidst picturesque park lands where you can enjoy a nature stroll or a picnic after your subterranean visit.
Journey through the nooks and crannies of this unique place and learn about the natural wonders of Tyendinaga Caves and its fascinating history. See fossils embedded into the limestone walls, encounter an underground wishing well and, if you’re brave, get plunged into darkness momentarily before finally returning to the light of day.
Will you see bats? Maybe. Is it safe for kids? Absolutely. Is it affordable? Ridiculously so. And, lastly, is it worth it? Totally!
Head over to Collingwood and the Blue Mountains and get your fair share of wonder at Scenic Caves Nature Adventures, which offers multiple activities and fantastic landscapes for any nature enthusiast. Located on a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and Petun First Nations land, this amazing cave system also sits along the Niagara escarpment.
Spend the day exploring the many caves and crevasses on a self-guided tour that’s great for kids and adults alike. Climb ladders, meander through mystical moss-covered gorges, and descend 70 feet underground to traverse the cave network that makes this place magical. Discover unearthly rock formations and geological curiosities along the way and wonder at it all.
Once you’ve finished, cross the 420-foot suspension bridge and pause at the stunning panoramic views. Or, hike through the old-growth forest that boasts over 200-year-old trees.
Will you need running shoes? 100 per cent. Do you need to be a pro caver? Not at all. Will you feel like one when you’re done? Sure!
Take a road trip to the Ottawa Valley, and explore the phenomenal Bonnechere Caves. Another family-run business known for providing visitors with a memorable spelunking experience.
Offering guided tours filled with fun and educational information, learn all about these spectacular hundreds of millions of years old examples of solution caves (ancient limestone eroded by water). Wind your way through the underground tunnels and encounter icicle-like stalactites and other marvellous geological formations. Come upon fossils of unimaginably old sea life encrusted into the walls and take in the natural beauty of it all. As for bats – you likely won’t see any unless you visit in the autumn, but, hey, you might get lucky!
Not only do Bonnechere Caves offer hour-long cave excursions, but they also host several unforgettable (and hugely popular) special events such as cave concerts and subterranean fine-dining. How cool is that?
Do you need to book ahead? For the cave tour, no, but for special events, yes. Will you be filled with wonderment? You bet. Can you bring the family? Of course!
Visit Streets of Toronto for a travel guide to tree house escapes in Ontario.