If you are looking for a winter activity to get out and enjoy, the Barkerville Mail Run will not disappoint. The event takes place on the 4th weekend of January each year.
This dogsled run starts in Quesnel and finishes in Barkerville. The longstanding event was once a competitive race and a qualifying event for the Yukon Quest and Iditarod. Now it is more a fun and friendly outing that encourages participation.
Photo: Michael Bednar
The event gets started on Friday morning with mushers being sworn in as official Canada Post carriers and given their mail bags. They embark on the first stage taking place just north of Quesnel. Each stage of the Mail Run goes in a loop starting and finishing at the same location so spectators can position themselves strategically for prime viewing.
The second stage of the event takes place on Saturday at Troll Ski Resort. So an added bonus is there is an opportunity to get a few runs in at the family owned ski hill. The day finishes with a dinner and banquet that is open to everyone with the purchase of a ticket.
The event finishes on Sunday in Barkerville. This is a great day to be there and if you are only able to attend one day. If you are positioned at the Barkerville Post Office, you will see the mushers come through the historic site and deliver their mail to the post master at the finish line.
Another fun aspect of being there on the Sunday is the bonus event of the Barkerville Dash which takes place after the main event. This event is a short 3km run that finishes at the post office as well. The main difference is it invites participants on all modes of transportation from dogsled to cross country skis or even snowshoes or fat bikes.
Winter really is a great time to be in Barkerville. There are fewer people there making it great for exploring the gold rush townsite. It is also very picturesque when it the town site is blanketed in deep snow.
If you have some extra time and want to spend some more time exploring, there are lots of great trails for snowmobiling, snowshoeing or cross country skiing. Fairly new to Barkerville is aa tube run for kids to enjoy and bonfire for everyone to warm up by with a hot drink from the cafe.
There are other historic sites close by to explore by whichever method you choose. Richfield is just down the trail from Barkerville. There are others like Stanley, Van Winkle and Cottonwood House along the road from Quesnel.
Photo: Micheal Bednar
Wells makes a great base to explore from, offering accommodation and some good spots to get a meal or have a beverage. If you do want to stay the night, make sure you book ahead of time as accommodation fills up on the weekend the event is held. Either way, it is worth the trip!
If you would like to find out more about the event visit www.dogsledmailrun.ca where you can see the schedule, view maps of where the different stages take place and buy event related artwork from local artists