Children panning for gold in Barkerville Historic Town

(BC Heritage/Leif Grandell photo)



Wells is a mountain town located in the foothills of the Cariboo Mountains in BC's interior. The village is reached by Highway 26, 70km/40mi east of Quesnel.

The elevation in Wells and nearby Barkerville Historic Town is approximately 1,200m/4,000ft, while the famous chain of lakes in Bowron Lake Provincial Park, 45-minutes' drive northeast of Wells, is in a sheltered valley and more than 300m/1,000ft lower. The lake chain weaves through a range of snowy peaks and offers mountain views from every angle.

Downtown Wells

The highway divides the town of Wells into two main sections. The north side was the area originally built as a mining town for the Cariboo Gold Quartz Mine in the 1930s. Find galleries, the Sunset Theatre, the general store, museum and other functional buildings here. The south side is home to the town's accommodations, restaurants and the only service station in Wells. The picturesque Willow River flows through town and crosses under the highway between the two sections.

The highway divides to the east, and leads to Barkerville Historic Town (east) or to the old Gold Rush Trail from Likely (south).

Weather and Climate

Nestled in high mountain valleys, Wells and Barkerville tend to have cool and somewhat rainy weather in summer with daytime temperatures ranging from 15°C/60°F to 25°C/78°F. During the summer months, warm, light coats, rain gear and mosquito repellent are an important part of this mountain experience.

In winter, snowy conditions prevail with daytime temperatures ranging from a mild 0°C/32°F to a bone chilling -40°C/-40°F. Indeed, it is not unusual for the annual snowfalls in Wells and Barkerville to reach 6m/20ft, with snow banks hanging around until May. Come prepared with appropriate clothing, gear and tires/chains for the car. Expect heavy snowfall.