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Little Huson Caves Park: A Hidden Secret on Vancouver Island
We think of caves as being dark places. However, the main cave (Cathedral River cave) at Little Huson Caves Park turns out to be a charming area. Its natural light and colours illuminated by the bouncing light off the stream. Not only is the interior of the cave illuminated by bounce light, there is also ambient blue light reflecting off the nearby rock formations around the entrances.
Waiting for you at Little Huson Cave Park is a rock arch of limestone and a disappearing stream.
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Why is Little Huson Caves Park a hidden secret?
The Little Huson Caves are a well-kept secret as few people know about them. Visitors are unsure on how to get there, even the dusty rough road is off the beaten path and can be a bit intimidating.
Welcome to Atluck Canyon, stretching from Atluck Lake to Anutz Lake, in the district of Mt Waddington. What is it? Why! It’s a flowing creek through a narrow canyon passing through a cave.
What is Little Huson Caves Park?
Looking to explore a cavern built beneath limestone, including several Karst features. This massive cavern forms a natural bridge over the Atluck Creek. The caves offer visitors an amazing underground experience, and they’re also a great place to explore and photograph if you’re looking for adventure with a camera.
History of the Little Huson Caves Park?
The Caves where discover by Alden Westley Huson (1832–1913), a prospector and surveyor,he gave the lake and the neighbouring caves their names. Huson was born in New York and came to British Columbia during the California gold fields in 1858. After working for a while at the Fraser River AKA Cariboo gold fields. Later, he ran a trading schooner from Nanaimo via Johnstone Strait to the settlements on the northeastern part of Vancouver Island. He also started a coal mine at Suquash before relocating to Alert Bay and starting a cannery.
What’s in a name
Huson and Little Huson Lakes, which feed Atluck Creek, are the source of the caves’ name (the creek that runs through the canyon). Little Houston Caves or Little Huston Caves are alternate spellings for Little Huson Caves. Because of its location on Atluck Creek, they are sometime referred to as Atluck Caves.
Little Huson Caves Park directions?
Little Huson Caves Park is a 20-minute drive from Highway 19 at the Zeballos turnoff immediately north of Woss. The drive is all logging roads, with the last few kilometres being the hardest. It’s rocky and narrow and can be hard on a 2WD vehicle with low clearance. So no! I don’t recommend you drive that brand new corvette to the caves.
Following the signs at the intersection at highway 19 will insure that you stay on the right road. I used my in Car GPS with the Vancouver Island back road maps. It shows all the logging roads and the trail and works in areas, as cell service is spotty. If you prefer a paper map, I suggest the Vancouver Island Back road Map.
See below for detailed instructions to Little Huson Caves. You can use Google Maps be aware that there is very little mobile coverage.
Take the Zeballos Road turnoff from Highway 19. (If you are coming from the south, it is on your left, about 21 km past Woss. From the north, about 39 km south past Telegraph Cove turnoff.
- Follow Zeballos Road for 2.5 km til you cross the bridge the Nimpish River
- At the fork, go right and stay on Zeballos Road for 0.5 km.
- At the next fork, go down the hill road to the right, you should be on Atluck Forest Service Road (FSR).
- In 2.5 km, go left at the 4-way intersection and stay on Atluck FSR.
- In 1.8 km. you will see a fork, go left stay on Atluck. (Right is the Tlakwa Main FSR.)
- look for HU1000 Branch Road in 300 meteres. It will be narrower and bumpier.
- Stay on HU1000 for 2.3 km into an older second-growth forest.
- Arrive at the parking area, park is on the right by the signboard so you don’t block the road.
Best time of year to visit the Little Huson Caves?
Little Huson Caves is open all year round, so whether you’re a fan of the weather in September or any other time of year, you’ll love visiting this cave. Personally, I enjoy touring the cave in early September when the water levels are lower and traversing its depths is much easier.
Vancouver Island caves, what to bring with you when visiting Little Huson caves?
Little Huson caves are not like other caves on the island. It is classified as beginner caves. Honestly no special equipment is required. I would suggest nothing more than what you use for hiking. Be prepared to get wet as it is after all a stream, wear comfortable clothing as you will be crawling over rocks. Carry a flashlight if you intent to venture into the cave to take photos.
Cathedral River cave (the main cave at Little Huson Caves Park) can be visited and photographed without any caving equipment. The trails is mostly boardwalks and an easy hiking trails run right up to the edge.
You’ll also need a map of the area in case you get lost or need to find your way back.
Little Huson Caves trail description
Hiking to the Little Huson Caves is considered an easy trail, but the surrounding area can be treacherous. When hiking, wear proper footwear with adequate traction to avoid slipping in and around the caves. Stay on the designated trails to avoid disturbing the delicate ecosystems. While the trip may be brief, the Little Huson Caves are an epic adventure that offers a glimpse of epic subterranean scenery.
Highlights of limestone caves of Little Huson Caves Park
The caves are beautiful and full of natural wonders, and they’re a great place to spent a few hour taking photos and exploring the area.
The caverns, which are built beneath limestone, include several Karst characteristics, including a massive cavern that forms a natural bridge across the Atluck Creek spaning sixty meters. The water level remains high most of the year, making it difficult for anybody wishing to explore the cavern.
Tips for Photographing Little Huson Caves Park
- You will want to bring an DSLR or mirror-less camera,
- Bring a tripod for longer shutter speed to get a silky smooth water look,
- Use your polarizer to cut down on reflections from the rocks and the water
- Remember to capture images from inside the and outside the cavern
- Try to be there in late Sept. or early Oct when the water is lower, and you can get further into the cavern.
- Look for textures and abstracts in the rocks.
- At lastly why not read our post on how to photography waterfalls
Are there any other secret places on Vancouver Island?
Yes! This place is definitely one of those hidden secrets that everyone should see at some point in their life. Vancouver Island is riddled with other great destinations to visit here on the island. Check out our other photo-trips.
Conclusion Little Huson Caves Park
If you’re looking for a hidden gem on Vancouver Island, the Little Huson Caves are definitely worth a visit. With a short and easy trail to the caves, you can enjoy the spectacular views without having to worry about crowds. The caves offer visitors an amazing underground experience.
Little Huson Caves Park must be on your bucket list if you’re looking to photograph something different on Vancouver Island.
Interested in photographing other caves on Vancouver Island. Than why now check out our post on Upana Caves Vancouver Island
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