Discovering the Cariboo, 72 Hours in Quesnel


As we drove into the region of Quesnel I had no idea what to expect. It was my first time here, but I had I heard that it was rich in both winter outdoor activities and history. Quesnel is a small city of roughly 10,000 people (with 13,000 in the surrounding areas) and is part of the Cariboo District of British Columbia. Located nearly evenly between the cities of Prince George and Williams Lake, Quesnel acts as a central outdoor playground of the North Cariboo, offering unlimited recreational opportunities for families, adventurers and people looking to enjoy an expanse of pristine wilderness.

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I spent the days exploring the region, meeting new people and trying new winter activities.

Dive into incredible outdoor recreation while visiting the city of Quesnel

A haven for winter sports: Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, fat biking and trail running

Quesnel XC
Photo: Dax Justin

All Photos: Dax Justin @daxjustin

You know what makes me extremely happy? Waking up, strapping on snowshoes, and exploring vast landscapes. This is how I first got to know Quesnel. Upon arriving at Ten Mile Lake Provincial Park I was awestruck by the rolling hills and fairy-tale winter views. The sun was rising as we were snowshoeing the trails of Quesnel.

It stopped me in my tracks.

Watch Hallis Lake Quesnel Nordic #SkiNorthBC on YouTube.

We then headed to Hallis Lake to visit and cross-country ski with the Cariboo Ski Touring Club. Formed in 1975, the CSTC was created to facilitate and further all aspects of cross-country skiing in the Quesnel area. Meeting members of the club I was struck by their passion for cross-country skiing. Since its inception, the club has undertaken several initiatives to enhance the cross-country skiing experience. It was one of the first clubs in British Columbia to designate a dog-friendly trail! After your cross-country ski, be sure to step into the lodge and enjoy a warm hot chocolate.

Relax here: Barkerville Brewing Co.

Wind down from a day of winter activities at the Barkerville Brewing Co. Located in the centre of City of Quesnel, the local brewery true après spirit. Apart from an amazing array of local brews, we spent the evening sharing bites and reminiscing about our snow-filled day.

Barkerville Brewing Co. sets itself from many other breweries because it pays homage to the historic region’s mining past, telling stories through its award-winning beers. With names like 18 Karat Gold and White Gold, well you get the picture.

Explore History 

Barkerville hotel

Quesnel is located at the start of the Barkerville Highway, or Highway 26 as you might find it on the map.  Rich in mining history, Quesnel and the famed Hwy 26 pays many tributes to those who founded this region, including characters like Billy Barker. As you'll read from Doc Pow's story on Barkerville Barker in 1862 stuck gold in the region, so much gold, it was named one of the riches scores in gold rush history!  You'll find Barker's name in a few places and your time here can include a stay in the Billy Barker hotel.  It's a unique spot to hang your hat, as it is built like a river boat, which back in the day was used to haul all kinds of goods and services up and down BC's longest river, the Fraser that weaves is way through this region and right down into Vancouver.

Barkerville's golden past

Barkerville is known as British Columbia's Gold Rush Town and Park - and rightfully so! Barkerville is the main town of the Cariboo Gold Rush and is preserved as a historic town. The reason why this place is so significant is because it's the reason the B.C. is a part of Canada and not the USA from all the gold that was found here.

Wells a place with rich history, passionate people

We arrived in Wells, only to be greeted by Dave Jorgenson of Whitegold Adventures in his restaurant, The Bear’s' Paw. The food was delicious and I could have listened to Dave’s stories all night. In the restaurant, Dave has photos and memorabilia from the earliest days of skiing and how the area was shaped by a passion for snow. We spent the next morning breaking bread with new friends from The Bread Peddler who specialize in organic, wood-fired sourdough bread. I'd drive from Alberta to Wells, just for this bread.

I came away from this place feeling I had learned so much about alpine culture and history but also the region’s mining past.

Troll Resort full of surprises

From the instant, we arrived at Troll Resort we were greeted with open arms. It was a place I never expected to visit but it surprised me more than any other place, like meeting Hildur and Len Sinclair, who are a treasure trove of stories. Read more about Troll Resort here.

If you go

Dive into incredible outdoor recreation while visiting the city of Quesnel

Learn more about what BC has in store for you this winter, search #ExploreBC

Call Tourism Quesnel at 250-992-8716

Quesnel is found at the start of the Barkerville Highway, which includes Troll Ski Resort, the District of Wells and Barkerville  - all within the Cariboo Regional District found at

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