Upana Caves Trail

Difficulty
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Easy
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
0.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
0.6 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
23 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

The Upana Caves Trail is a quick 0.6 km lollipop hiking route west of Gold River, BC that will take you through a forest to a series of underground caves. While out on the trail, hikers will experience a peaceful forest setting along the flowing waters of the Upana River before descending a series of stairs to enter into the subterranean atmosphere of the caves. Remember to bring decent hiking footwear and a flashlight in order to get the most out of your adventure in the cool cave environment. Those with claustrophobia may prefer to skip this hike.

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Route Description for Upana Caves Trail

While the Upana Caves Trail is a short, family-friendly hike, there are a few safety concerns to keep in mind when planning a trip to the caves. Due to the weathered nature of the rock, moist atmosphere, and the short descent into the caves, it is recommended that you wear proper hiking footwear for the best possible footing while exploring the caverns. Additionally, remember to keep an eye on children, especially if you are visiting in the spring/autumn seasons when the water levels will be higher.

Even with these concerns in mind, a visit to the Upana Caves Trail is a fun adventure that will allow you to experience the natural beauty of the karst caves that can be found dotted across the Vancouver Island landscape. The trail sets out from the parking area and heads north along a route that winds through the tranquil old-growth forest on the way to the caves. After passing by some steep karst cliffs, the trail will turn east and cross a land bridge over the Upana River that is supported by the caves beneath. There are several entrances and viewpoints, so take some time to explore the area and get a feel for the immense amount of weathering that has taken place over time in order to create this unique landscape. After exploring the caves, head back along the same route to return to the trailhead.

Getting to the Upana Caves Trail Trailhead

To reach the trailhead for the Upana Caves Trail from Gold River, head west on Gold River for 2.8 km and turn left onto Head Bay Road. After 15.0 km, turn right to arrive at the parking area.

Route Information

  • When to do

    Year-round

  • Backcountry Campsites

    No

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    Yes

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Lollipop

Upana Caves Trail Elevation Graph

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