Visit Wells for winter wellness, history, local culture


Wells, BC — At the foothills of the Cariboo Mountain Range, 20 mins up the Historic Barkerville Highway from Troll Ski Resort, lies an untapped source of winter gold. 

“Wells is a town with soul,” says Brittany Cleminson, who lives in Williams Lake, BC, two hours north. Its geography commands adventure for those after gold—karat or white gold—as it can be found around every turn. 

Tony Fiala knows a lot of those turns. He grew up in the area, and turned his passion for local turns into a two-time stint at the Olympics, competing in biathlon. While he may have traveled the world, like Cleminson, he's passionate about Wells. "Instead of just going to a resort or something, Wells has culture to it—and with the old prospecting days and the gold rush, it's pretty cool."

Fiala is referring to the history made just down the road here in Barkerville; this region of BC is home to one of North America’s biggest gold rushes. 

But today, a new kind of discovery is underway: Wells BC as a winter escape destination.

One of Wells' main winter attractions: cross-country ski and snowshoe trails that lead out from town in all directions.

At two hours’ drive from Prince George, or one hour from Quesnel, Wells is at the far end of the road where fewer explorers dare go. But those that do discover rewards. Sometimes gold, sometimes arts festivals, sometimes a deep connection to nature. All are possible, but the wealth in Wells today is in nature, community and creativity. 

How to winter in Wells

Here's how to build your expedition to Wells.

Watch for wildlife

Keep your eyes peeled along the drive! As Cleminson describes, “getting to Wells from Quesnel is convenient, as it is not a long drive and there are no turns to get lost on! The sights along the road are beautiful, and you will often see wildlife along your travels—we saw two moose on our way out this time!” 

"Wells is a town with soul" and winter beauty to refresh all your senses.
Get out on the trails with a local

Wells is surrounded by gentle mountains perfect to introduce yourself to the backcountry or to get out for an easy cruise, guided by friendly locals.

"It's an amazing playground for a lot of winter activities," says Fiala. "Cross-country skiing to snowshoeing, to backcountry skiing and snowmobiling, it's really big in the Barkerville area."

Ember Harper-Fedirko, who runs Cariboo Mountain Adventures, has been spending time in the Wells outdoors since she was a child at her family cabin, rambling on the mountain trails that were literally on her doorstep. 

Ember and a group of women embarking on the Yellowhawk Trail, near Wells.

As an adult, this has blossomed into partnerships as a trip leader with The Lady Alliance and the Prince George-based Adventure Bus. Her goal is to get other women exploring the Cariboo Chilcotin region and find the love for it.

WhiteGold Adventures will also take you on some epic adventures, with skiing being their primary focus. They offer one-, three-, four- or five-day day guided cross-country ski tours all accessible from Wells. 


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Most famous is the Bowron Lake Chain Traverse. You’ve heard of it by canoe, but experiencing it on cross-country skis is magical.

"Dave Jorgenson and Cheryl at WhiteGold, and the Wells trail society, they've really taken it upon themselves to set tracks and mark the trails," Fiala says. "Anyone looking for that kind of getaway, it's an amazing place to go—the snow, the trails are well marked and the community welcomes you with open arms."

Learn about Wells' goldrush history

One of the highlights of visiting Wells during winter is the chance to explore its rich history as a Gold Rush town. Step back in time with a visit to Barkerville Historic Town, where you can experience what life was like during the Gold Rush era.

Barkerville Historic Town & Park is a preserved gold mining town from the days of the gold rush.

During winter (Sept 11 - May 1), the gate is open for those who want to wander or perhaps cross-country ski through this ghost town and imagine yourself there.

Any time in Wells can lead you to white gold, but if you are seeking a big dose of community spirit at its best, check in March 2, 2024, for the town’s second annual Wells's Winter Wonder Carnival.

This is a town that knows how to throw a good time—just ask someone who's been privileged enough to visit this community in the summer during ArtsWells.

“It’s one of the best festivals I have ever been to, the energy is off the charts,” says our video producer Après Wheeler (and Wheelers’ a festival aficionado; a guy whose content has been featured on Pearl Jam’s Instagram).

Apres tip: the Wells Hotel is renowned for its extensive scotch collection.

After a day (or two) of adventure, you'll want to unwind and refuel at one of Wells' cozy restaurants or cafes. Indulge in some hearty Canadian cuisine, sip on a warm drink by the fire, and swap stories with the friendly locals. You'll quickly see why Wells is known for its welcoming and laid-back atmosphere.

When you go

Getting there: Wells lies at the end of the Barkerville Highway, just an hour east of Quesnel in northern BC. 

Events: the second annual Wells Winter Wonders Carnival is coming up, March 2, 2024. Mark your calendar now!

For more info: check in with the District of Wells tourism for info to help plan your visit

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