The season is changing and with it comes the pull of nature to be out and to explore! What better way than hiking through grass prairies, forests, undulating river valleys, rolling hills, or even wetlands. Be it just a walk in the woods to a stroll on the beach to a backpacking trip, Manitoba’s hiking trails offer it all. Listed here are some must do hiking trails in Manitoba!
1. Spirit Sands & The Devil’s Punchbowl
Spruce Woods Provincial Park, located two hours west of Winnipeg, is a favourite family spot and tourist attraction thanks mainly to the unique sand dunes in the region. These dunes were formed when sand from melting glaciers drained into Lake Agassiz creating the Assiniboine Delta. The sands of the delta were exposed when continued melting of the glacier drained Lake Agassiz. The trailhead starts near the Seton Bridge. Following the trail will take you through wind-patterned sand, with the dunes reaching as high as 30-meters and rich in cacti, to a bowl-shaped 45-meter depression with blue-green water.
Interpretive signs, drinking water and washrooms are available along the trail.
Distance: 4 – 11 km (2 to 4.5 hours) Trail Map
2. Pisew Falls to Kwasitchewan Falls Trail
Two roaring waterfalls- Manitoba’s highest and second highest – are what draws hikers to the Pisew Falls – Kwasitchewan Falls Trail. The trail-head of this 22-km long hike starts at the 42.7 ft (13 m) tall drop in the Grass River, the Pisew Falls. Observation platforms, a short broad walk away, gives the best view of the falls. Cross the suspension bridge over the Grass River to start your hike. This backcountry trail traces a late 1700s fur trade route of the aboriginal people called the Upper Track Trail and culminates at Manitoba’s highest waterfall, the Kwasitchewan Falls. This trail which follows the Grass River is recommended for experienced hikers or hikers prepared to tackle a rugged terrain. Campsites are available for those who wish to camp overnight.
Distance: 22 km (6 to 8 hours) Trail Map
3. Disappearing Lakes Interpretive Trail
Scenic views of prairie oasis, aspen forests and shallow lakes make for a delightful day trail at Turtle Mountain Provincial Park’s Disappearing Lakes Interpretive Trail. Ideal for beginner hikers, this trail is well-marked with interpretive signposts describing the life of these lakes and its eventual disappearance. These lakes are hollows in the land in which water collected thousands of years ago. The water in these lakes is replenished by snow, rain and spring thaws. Beavers play an important part in maintaining these lakes.
Distance: 1.5 km (1 hour) Details
4. Pinawa Trail
The Pinawa Trail is a section of the Trans Canada Trail stretching from the Pinawa Dam to the Seven Sisters Generating Station. A total of roughly 27 km, this trail passes through grasslands, boreal forest, granite ridges. Sections of this trail include the Pinawa Channel Heritage Walk, Ironwood Trail and the Alice Chambers Trail. Go for a short relaxed walk along the Ironwood trees or hike the entire 28 km length through the Heritage Channel Walk, crossing the 650 ft Pinawa Suspension Bridge spanning across the Pinawa Channel on the Alice Chambers Trail to the Seven Sisters Falls.
Distance: 26.83 km. Details
4. Hecla Island Trails
5. Mantario Trail
Mantario is the longest Canadian Shield trail in Western Canada meandering through the Canadian Shield. A major part of the trail runs south to north along the Manitoba-Ontario border in Whiteshell Provincial Park. This 63 km long trail is very demanding and takes experienced backpackers three to five days. However, hikers are well-rewarded by the trail’s rugged beauty.
For a shorter day hike, start from the south trailhead on Provincial Road 312 near Caddy Lake, crossing forested valleys and the Whiteshell River across a footbridge and railway tracks reaching the Caribou Lake west campsite.
Distance 7.2 km (3 hours). Details
6. Falcon Creek Trail
The Falcon Creek Trail at the Whiteshell Provincial Park tells its own story. This is a great family hike. The kids can do the activities mentioned in the trail pamphlet. Do not forget to carry a pencil/pen along with trail mix and water bottle. The walk and the suggested activities take 1.5 hours that center around discussing the origin of these rocks and the natural and biological processes that shaped them. Details
Distance: 2 km (1.5 hours). Details
7. Gorge Creek Trail
Riding Mountain National Park offers more than 400 km of trails from one-day self-guided hikes to multi-day backcountry hikes. Among them, the Gorge Creek Trails has the distinction of being one of the more difficult of the trails. However, this trail rewards with panoramic views of the gorge and the plains. Meandering through Aspen forests, elms, white birch, the Gorge Creek trail climbs 1000-feet to the gorge.
Distance: 6.4 km one-way (3 hours). Details
8. Ancient Valley Interpretive Trail
Distance: 3 km (1.5 hours). Details
9. Cedar Bog Trail
Home of the Winnipeg Folk Festival, Birds Hill Provincial Park is a favourite among visitors because the park offers a range of recreational activities and sporting events from horseback riding to cycling races, polo tournaments to birding. There are several trails in the park to enjoy horseback riding.
The Cedar Bog Trail is a 3.5 km loop that winds through grasslands, aspen/oak forest and before descending to reach white cedar bog. Here, the air is very cool as the rich aromatic cedars form a dense canopy over the forest floor.
Distance: 3.5 km (1.5 hours). Details
10. Grey Owl Trail
The first naturalist hired by Canada’s national parks system, Grey Owl, lived in Riding Mountain National Park for 6 months in 1931. This trapper turned conservationist lived in a cabin near the Beaver Lake with his pet beavers. The path to this well-conserved log cabin is a trail weaving through aspen, balsam, poplar, Jack pine and white spruce forests. You may even spot an occasional coyote or the white-tailed deer along the trail.
Distance: 8.7 km – 17.4 km (5 hours). Details
11. Beaudry Park Trails
Located 20 minutes west of Winnipeg, the Beaudry Park is home to large cottonwood, basswood and maple trees. There are several trails in the park that can be enjoyed. The Wild Grape Trail and the Elm trail wind along the south side of the Assiniboine River banks. The Wild Grape Trail passes through lush green ferns with the grapevines climbing to 12 meters high and tangled amongst the tall trees. The slightly longer Elm Trail cuts through old elm trees. Wildlife like white-tailed deer, fox, owl, racoons, muskrat is plentiful.
Distance: 2 – 5 km. Trail map