Bonnechere Cave in Canada is a breathtaking geological wonder formed over 500 million years ago. This underground cavern houses well-preserved prehistoric fossils and sea creatures, including fossilized cephalopods, gastropods, brachiopods, crinoid rings, and many more. It is one of the unique creations of Mother Nature and offers an unparalleled experience like none other.
History of Bonnechere Caves
Bonnechere Caves are primarily made of limestone deposited as layers of silt and mud during the Ordovician period. They were dissolved out of the solid rock by the acidic waters of an enormous sea.
Tom Woodward first discovered the caves in 1955, filled with running water. After exploring them, he drained them so they could be accessible to the public. According to studies, the caves were formed from ancient limestone at the bottom of a tropical sea around 500 million years ago. People from all over the world have been visiting these caves for more than 55 years.
Where is Bonnechere Caves?
The Bonnechere Caves is in Douglas, Eganville, around halfway between the capital city of Ottawa and Algonquin Provincial Park. It is situated right next to the Bonnechere River.
Things to do in and near Bonnechere Caves
Today, Bonnechere Caves is owned by Chris and Val Hinsperger. They also run a family-owned company that offers a safe, entertaining, and educational tour of this natural cave system. The tours will take you 100 feet deep to explore the wonders. These adventures are suited for all age groups, and the tickets are available on a first- come, first-serve basis.
Here are some of the activities you can enjoy at the caves.
- Go on guided tours
The guides have immense knowledge about these caves and provide in-depth information about this natural wonder. You walk down narrow staircases descending to the cave floor. As soon as you enter, you are greeted with incredible stalactite formations, fossilized corals, and many ancient sea creatures. You can even spot an octopus fossil inside the walls of the caves. Depending on the time of year you visit, you may even see hibernating bats inside the cave.
These guided tours last an hour, and you can learn about the cave’s history, geology, and other vital facts.
- Explore the sinkhole
Once you exit the caves, you head to a wooded area featuring a sinkhole. You can explore this sinkhole or follow the beautiful trail to the picnic area.
- Have a picnic
Picnic tables are set up for visitors outside the caves, beside Bonnechere Lake and Fourth Chute Falls. It is a gorgeous spot to have a picnic with your loved ones. You can buy soft drinks, snacks, ice cream, souvenirs, and science-type products here. You can even see the picturesque Fourth Chute Falls from here.
- Hunt for fossils
Fossils are one of the most exciting parts of the Bonnechere Caves experience. If you are traveling with kids, you must participate in the two-hour fossil-finding events held regularly in the caves. These fossil hunts include a tour of the cave and a search for fossils in the area. They provide a fun experience for the entire family that educates and engages your little ones.
- Hike alongside Fourth Chute Falls
The area around the falls has several scenic hiking trails that offer stunning views and an opportunity to click amazing photos.
- Experience underground dining
The Bonnechere Caves also organize many underground dining events every year. These events include a four-course dinner, a bottle of wine, lovely music, and an excellent guided cave tour.
- Enjoy special events
Bonnechere Caves hosts numerous underground concerts that include a tour, music, and gift vouchers for a meal. If you want to watch one of these live concerts, book the tickets in advance.
Other nearby attractions
There are a few things you can do around the Bonnechere Caves.
- Relish a meal in Eganville
Eganville is only a ten-minute drive from the caves. It has several eateries that serve delicious meals. So, it is a fantastic place to stop for a break on your way back from the caves.
- Camp at Bonnechere Provincial Park
Bonnechere Provincial Park has plenty of campsites. So, you can spend the night camping here and enjoy some time amidst nature.
- Swim in the waters of Round Lake
The Round Lake is located close to Bonnechere Provincial Park, so you can swim in its refreshing waters and canoe along the Bonnechere River.
- Visit the Bonnechere Museum
Visit the Bonnechere Museum to learn about the history of Eganville and the Bonnechere River. The river is a source of fossils from the Ordovician Period (443 to 485 million years ago) and a treasure trove of impressive information. You can also see exhibits related to railways, the lumber industry, and more.
- See old trees at Shaw Woods Outdoor Education Centre
Shaw Woods is home to trees more than 200 years old. Explore the lush wetlands and forests and admire the verdant greenery of this place. This place is open from morning to evening, and entry is free.
What can I bring into Bonnechere Caves?
The inside of the caves is cold even during sultry summer days, so it is recommended that you carry a sweater or a light jacket. Also, since you will walk a lot, it is better to wear comfortable footwear without heels. Photography is allowed inside the cave so you can bring your cameras and mobile phones. Although unnecessary, you can get a flashlight to look closely at the fossils.
You can bring your pets on a leash in the picnic area and walking trails, but they are not allowed on the one-hour underground guided tours.
Opening hours of Bonnechere Caves
The Bonnechere Caves are open from the end of May to October second week, around Canadian Thanksgiving. Hour-long guided tours are available every 20 to 30 minutes from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm except in September. Weekday tours in September are available at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 3:00 pm.
Traveling in time of coronavirus was not allowed, and the cave tours were closed at that time.
1. What is the ticket price for Bonnechere Caves?
Tickets are priced as follows:
- $17 for adults
- $15 for seniors,
- $13 for youth (age 13-17), and
- $12 for children (entry under age four is free).
- Are the Bonnechere Caves open throughout the year?
No, the caves are open only from the last week of May to Thanksgiving.
2. What is the address of the Bonnechere Caves?
The address is 1247 Fourth Chute Rd, Eganville, ON K0J 1T0, Canada.
3. Can I visit the caves with an infant?
Yes, you can visit with infants, but the cave system is not stroller friendly. You can use a snuggly or backpack carrier while accessing the caves.
Next time you are in Canada, do something offbeat and embark on an adventurous trip to the captivating Bonnechere Caves.
Image Credit: www.bonnecherecaves.com