Skiing (Cross Country)
For the cross-country skier, the southwest’s provincial and national parks are ideal. Known for its top cross-country skiing, Spruce Woods Provincial Park is home to eleven trails totaling nearly 70km (44 miles) of touring for the novice, moderate and intermediate skiers. Turtle Mountain Provincial Park offers four novice solar powered toys trails ranging from 4km to 15km (2.5 to 9 miles) for a total of 41km (26 miles). Riding Mountain National Park provides an extensive trail system, for the novice to the advanced, with 27 trails, ranging from 1km to 32km (0.5 to 20 miles) for a total of 300km (188 miles) of trails. Park passes are required.
Many communities throughout the region have designated cross-country ski trails as well. For more information on these trails, contact the local town office.
Brandon Hills Wildlife Management Area (Brandon)
The area provides important habitat for a variety of wildlife and plant species and is available for recreational activities such as hiking, cross-country skiing, cycling and bird watching. Hunting is also allowed during regulated hunting seasons. Maps of the area are available at the Riverbank Discovery Centre. Call for more information.
Chumah Trail (Hamiota)
Leads outdoor enthusiasts west of Hamiota to enjoy the prairie grasslands and native vegetation. A viewing platform, constructed at the end of the trail branching off to the north, affords bird watching enthusiasts a quiet place to get out their binoculars. With more tree and bush cover, this trail is better situated for cross country skiing in the winter and is groomed regularly.
Gerald Malaher Wildlife Management Area (Melita)
With the help of Watchable Wildlife, this location has become a prime site for outdoor enthusiasts. Complete with maintained walking trails, visitors are able to enjoy a wide variety of wildlife, birds as well as foliage that call the area home. The location is also used for cross-county skiing in the winter.
Riding Mountain National Park (Riding Mountain National Park)
Since Riding Mountain National Park was first declared a forest reserve in 1895, people have recognized the scenic beauty of the area, the importance of habitat for wildlife, and the potential for recreation and relaxation.
Riding Mountain National Park is where eastern, western and northern Canada meet to create a unique and majestic 3,000 sq km environment of towering white spruce, hardwood forests and prairie grasslands. It is home to some of North America’s largest elk, moose and black bears. The park offers unique experiences for families, photographers, birders and wildlife enthusiasts.
Wasagaming, the parks historic town located on the shores of Clear Lake, offers a full range of visitor services and events. Wasagaming offers a great selection of accommodations, a visitor centre, boat rentals, a great beach experience, restaurants and shopping to name just a few.
Campgrounds can be found throughout the park. There are endless opportunities for recreation in Riding Mountain. A extensive trail system offers scenic routes for hiking, biking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing and birding. Over 400 km of hiking, biking and horseback trails and 260 km of cross-country ski trails are available. A small bison herd and exhibit is kept at Lake Audy, viewing is best in the morning or evening. Riding Mountain is a must for those looking for that family getaway.
Hiking/Biking & Ski Trails (Shoal Lake)
The well-groomed cross-country ski trails double as hiking trails or a challenging ride for mountain bikers. From the Birtle Riverside Park, you will find a 15 km loop with options of 2 ½, 4, 5, or 7 ½ km, all sheltered by the natural forest of the valley hillside.
Spruce Woods Provincial Park (Spruce Woods Provincial Park)
A unique desert-like environment in Manitoba where wildlife species such as western plains hognose snake and northern prairie skink can be found. Interpretive and hiking trails lead across rolling hills, mixedgrass prairie, through white spruce and deciduous forest, and to the eerie springfed ponds of the Devil’s Punchbowl.
The park features camping facilities, unsupervised beach, many kilometers of hiking, cycling, horseback riding trails, interpretive programs and special events throughout the summer. For winter enthusiasts, the park has an extensive system of crosscountry ski and snowmobile trails, as well as an outdoor skating oval, rink and toboggan hill. For more information, contact the Services Centre.
Turtle Mountain Provincial Park (Turtle Mountain Provincial Park)
A large block of deciduous forest and more than 200 lakes and wetlands straddle the international boundary in Southwest Manitoba. This is in fact the first part of Manitoba to dry after the glaciers receded. Rising 245 metres above the prairie, this rolling terrain is popular amongst avid mountain bike enthusiasts. Its abundant wildlife includes white-tailed deer, moose, waterfowl, songbirds and its namesake, western painted turtles.
The park offers a wealth of recreational activities – from skiing, skating, tobogganing and snowmobiling in the winter, to hiking, horseback riding, cycling and canoeing in the summer. For more information, contact Manitoba Conservation in Boissevain.