If your dream winter getaway features crisp, white snow sparkling under blue skies, the crunch of skis navigating fresh power through evergreen-lined trails or an afternoon tempting the trout to bite from an ice-cold lake, chances are you’re thinking of the Cariboo.
This is where winter is meant to be enjoyed – outdoors. And when it’s time to warm up inside, we’ve got you covered there too. Come explore!
By foot, ski or sled, there’s a lot of land begging to be explored this winter in the Cariboo.
Just south of 100 Mile House, the 99 Mile Recreation Area is a winter recreation hotspot for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. In town, cross-country ski or snowshoe at 100 Mile Nordics Ski Club’s groomed trails or let the little ones (or big ones) work up a hot chocolate thirst with their toboggans at Centennial Park.
For downhill enthusiasts, Mt. Timothy Recreation Resort is just 30 minutes from Lac La Hache – between 100 Mile House and Williams Lake – and offers a season of a from mid-December to late March.
For those who prefer motorized adventures, Mt. Timothy is also a staging area for those exploring Gold Rush Trail by sled, not to mention a comfy place to warm-up afterwards in their licensed restaurant.
Other prime destinations take sledders out to the Wells area, where snowmobiling trails can take you up the Cariboo Mountains to soak in some panoramic views.
It’s important to ensure that whenever you’re venturing into the backcountry, you’re following appropriate avalanche safety – learn more from Avalanche Canada.
When the ice is well-frozen, lace up the skates for pond hockey on Williams Lake, where locals clear large skating areas. You can even take a cross-country jaunt across the frozen lake, or head to the family-friendly groomed ski trails at Bull Mountain, where you’ll even find a few dog-friendly loops!
To appreciate winter views on foot, explore Scout Island Nature Centre, in the heart of Williams Lake, or head north for a stroll along Quesnel’s year-round Riverfront Trail, where you can view the ice formations on the Quesnel and Fraser rivers. And you know downtown is filled with winter warm-up options … or a cold one at Barkerville Brewing.
From Quesnel, enjoy the picturesque drive out to the Wells and Barkerville area, where you can take advantage of the deep snow and build an igloo or snow sculpture, or simply stroll these historic communities dressed in their winter whites. Wells welcomes visitors year-round, and while Barkerville’s attractions are closed for the winter, the streets and trails welcome visitors.
In this land of lakes, fishing is definitely a four-season affair, and for anglers, ice fishing is a must-try experience.
Those visiting without gear can stop at the Quesnel Visitor Centre, to borrow a rod, tackle and auger, and try their hand at one (or more!) of the four ice fishing lakes within 20 kilometres of the city centre – Dragon Lake, Ten Mile Lake, Bouchie Lake and Milburn Lake. The gear is free to borrow, but a refundable deposit is required.
And always use extreme caution before stepping onto the ice – locals and visitors alike are advised to follow these Canadian Red Cross Ice Safety guidelines.
Sometimes you just want to spend a winter day inside, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get busy!
The Quesnel and District Arts and Recreation Centre offers a six-lane, 25-metre swimming pool and leisure pool with diving board, slide, rope swing, hot tub and adult and family saunas, or head to West Fraser Arena or Arena 2 for a skate.
When you want to rest those weary legs in Williams Lake, head indoors to the steam room, sauna and hot pool at Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex, also home to two pools, complete with waterslide, water jets and climbing wall.
In 100 Mile House, beat the chill outside with a spin around the ice at Canlan Sports’ South Cariboo Rec Centre.
While adventures in snow and ice take centrestage during a Cariboo winter, the region’s urban centres offer numerous opportunities to explore the arts, local heritage and history, not to mention the unique food and beverage opportunities brewing here.
And when it’s time to rest your head and dream of tomorrow, you’ll be spoiled for choice: rustic cabin, mountain-side chalet and urban getaway with everything at your doorstep – all are at home in the Cariboo!
Start planning your winter getaway today at explorecariboo.com