Winter & Spring
Experience Winter in its Purest Form
Breathe in the crisp, cold air. Feel snow crunch beneath your boots. Listen to the quiet. Hear snowflakes fall on your jacket. Squint at mountains and trees sparkling under a blanket of snow and a bright blue sky. It feels as though you have the whole place to yourself. This is winter in Wells Gray and Clearwater, one of our best-kept secrets.
We know winter. We should – we have six months of it! In a land created by cold and ice, we have plenty of ways to work up a sweat. Embrace the chill – riding trails fuelled by sled dogs or snow machine horsepower. Carve fresh tracks over new fallen snow. Ski tour the backcountry from hut to hut, to hut. Cosy up by a fire. Watch moose migrate through distant meadows. Savour the solitude of Wells Gray in the off-season between November and April. Experience winter in its purest form.
SkiingSlalom, kick turn, side step, or telemark ski your way through snow covered valleys. Downhill or Nordic, front-range, or backcountry – where you ski is up to you. What you’ll experience? Pure Wells Gray: crisp alpine air, dazzling trails under a bright winter sun, where the only sound you’ll hear is the swish of your skis – just like you imagined.
SnowmobilingStrap on a helmet and trade dog power for horsepower on a wilderness snowmobile safari. Follow your guide through winding trails. Discover the beauty of winter in the Park. Feel the power of your machine when you catch a little air. Make like a true Canadian and explore our wide-open wilderness on a guided snowmobile sledding tour.
Winter Wildlife WatchingOur boundless wilderness means there’s no shortage of wildlife, even in winter. Snowshoeing, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing all put you within reach of trophy size moose, coyotes, wolves and deer roaming free between snow-covered forests and vast range lands all winter long. Watch in silent wonder; fill up your memory card. Realize that this wilderness adventure is reserved for those who seek a truly Canadian experience.
Winter WaterfallsMost visitors experience Helmcken Falls in the summer when the Clearwater River tumbles over a 141 metre canyon, creating the fourth largest waterfall in Canada. But come in the winter and you’ll marvel at what you find. What was once a raging torrent of water has frozen still in time and place. Ice crystals hang in mid-air. A frozen cone of water climbs 50 metres up the canyon, and glimmers in the bright winter sun.
Clearwater RecreationHit the ice at the North Thompson Sportsplex. Learn to skate and stick handle. Cheer on your favourite team. Snuggle under the heat lamps and take in all the action on the ice. Hockey, figure skating, and the most Canadian sport of all - curling – take centre ice at the North Thompson Sportsplex.
When to Go
- Winter and Spring run between November and the end of April
- Winter recreation is best between the end of December and the end of March
- Helmcken Falls ice cone is formed by January and melts again in March
Need to Know
- Stay warm & dry! Warm, waterproof clothing is essential for all winter activities
- Goggles and helmets are recommended for most activities, as is sun block
- Ski rentals are available at the Clearwater Ski Hill
- Intermediate-to-advance ability is required for hut-to-hut skiing
- Local outfitters also offer learn-to-backcountry-ski clinics
- Cabin rentals are available for advanced backcountry skiers for touring on their own
- The outfitters at Wells Gray Guest Ranch offer half-day guided sled dog and snowmobile excursions between December and March.
- The road to Helmcken Falls is plowed and sanded in winter. Four-wheel drive is recommended, or you can ski or snowshoe to the Falls on the Clearwater Valley Road Trail