Whether you’re looking to explore the beautiful nature of British Columbia on the Bowron Lakes, learn about the history of BC at Barkerville, or discover the incredible arts & culture of the region, Wells is an incredible Summer destination.
Brimming with the dynamic talent of over 100 artists and performers, Arts Wells has developed the reputation of BC’s largest and best new indie arts festival. Arts Wells takes place on the August long weekend each year.
Art/Harp Schools – Island Mountain Arts – School of the Arts offers courses such as:
Songwriting & Story Telling
Writing history bases narratives,
The Life of a Book
Get the Most out of your Digital Camera
Children and Youth Programs
… and much more!
The largest historic Site in British Columbia. Thousands of visitors from all over the world travel to, the heart of the Great Cariboo Gold Rush to take in this unique heritage attraction. Founded in 1862, Barkerville was “The Gold Capital of British Columbia”. Here Billy Barker dug a Gold Mine Shaft and discovered the mother lode, William Dietz who had the Williams Creek named after him and Ned Stout, Mme Fanny Bendixon, John Bowron, Betty Wendle, Cariboo Cameron, and other famous names are part of Barkerville’s History.
During the summer months the town comes alive with guided tours of the town, Chinatown and the cemetery. There are mining demonstrations, street interpreters, stage coach rides, restaurants, gift shops, photo gallery, bakery, live theatre – the Theatre Royal of Barkerville, gold panning at Eldorado Gold, numerous demonstrations and over 125 restored or reconstructed buildings with displays to view.
Canoeing and kayaking are popular activities in Wells. The Jack O’ Clubs Lake, which is walking distance from Wells, is an excellent spot for an afternoon of canoeing. The world-renowned Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit encompasses a 116 km chain of lakes, waterways and connecting portages. This wilderness canoe trip takes from 6 to 10 days to complete, depending on your time frame and skill level. For those looking for a shorter trip, the west side of the circuit can be paddled in 2 to 4 days. Canoeing or kayaking on the Bowron Lake is also a great way to spend the day.
Cottonwood House Historic Site is located 26 kilometers east of Quesnel. It is a preserved road house on the Gold Rush Trail to Barkerville Historic Town. Check out the Cottonwood House Summer Theatre Production.
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Every July 1st, Barkerville celebrates Canada’s traditional birthday the way they did in 1870! This event is fun for all the family including, Children’s Races, Tug-O-War, a Funny Face Contest, Greasy Pole Climb and much more.
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With numerous lakes and rivers in the area the Wells, Barkerville, Bowron Lakes region has endless opportunities for fishers. Jack O’ Clubs Lake, walking distance from Wells, is a lovely spot to put in the canoe and do some evening fishing. Bowron Lake, which can also be enjoyed as a wonderful family day trip, is an excellent spot for fishing and wildlife viewing, especially in the slough at the south end.
If you are looking specifically for fishing the region offers a wealth of hidden spots. Many of the small lakes and rivers are only accessible by hiking, however there are some easily accessible by vehicle. Make sure you pick up a fishing license and a copy of the current regulations before you go. Make sure to take in the Labour Day Fishing Derby at the Jack O’ Clubs Lake in September.
Fish caught in our area are primarily Kokanee and Trout.
With unique heritage buildings framed against the background of snowy mountains, our historic town of Wells is an art lover’s delight. Whether you are looking to spend a day browsing through galleries or a week taking lessons from one of the many artisans who make the community their home base, Wells offers an artistic experience like no other.
The Wells – Barkerville – Bowron Lake area has a network of old mining trails, historic ditch lines and mining and forestry roads that make incredible recreation trails today. For shorter hikes try Cornish Mountain, the Cariboo Wagon Road to Richfield or the Kibbee Portage Trail. For a full day of alpine meadows and scenic vistas try Two Sisters Mountain, the Yellowhawk or Jubilee Trails up Mt. Murray, or one of several loop routes possible in the Mt. Agnes/Groundhog Lake area.
The Cornish Mountain Non-motorized Recreation Area is immediately adjacent to Wells and encompasses about 25 kilometers of walking, mountain biking and cross-country ski trails. You can take a short 4 kilometer walk through a fascinating wetland to One Mile Lake, or walk the longer 7 kilometer Coronado Loop. There are many trails that lead to alpine meadows with spectacular views. Some can be hiked in a day; others require three or four.
The spectacular alpine meadow of the Mt. Agnes, Groundhog Lake and Bald Mountain areas can be explored by several loop trails that retrace early mining trails. Both day and overnight trips will offer lots of wildflowers and great views (16 to 25 km). The last remaining intact section of the Cariboo Waggon Road (20 km), built to bring supplies from New Westminster to the gold fields in 1865 can be hiked, mountain biked, or skied. The Yellowhawk and Jubilee trails provide a great loop for a day hike through alpine meadows (10 km). Two Sisters Mountain (10 km return) provides the best view in the Cariboo. On a clear day you can see Mt. Robson over 80 miles away.
For hikers who are looking for an extended camping/hiking trip the following trails are an excellent choice:
The 1861 Goldrush Pack Trail provides a three day hike (40 km) along the original miners’ route from Barkerville to Keithley Creek. This is now part of Canada’s National Hiking Trail.
The Goat River Trail links the Cariboo with the Rocky Mountain Trench near McBride. This four to five day rugged backpack travels some of the most spectacular interior rain forest from the northeast corner of Bowron Lake Park to Highway 16. This trail is also part of the National Hiking Trail
Other popular sights to take in include Ghost Lake, Ghost Falls, Cariboo Falls.
This traditional Chinese celebration, honoring Barkerville’s Chinese heritage, begins at dusk with a lantern parade through Barkerville. Bring your own lantern or make one at our lantern-making workshop.
The 17 kilometer Cornish Mountain Loop is a popular training loop for bikers and skiers, with sustained uphills and exhilarating down hill runs.
Several longer mountain bike loops include the Sugar Creek Loop, the Atan-Chisel Lake Loop and Devil’s Eyebrow.