Spruce Woods Provincial Park; known for its top cross-country skiing in the Winter months, is home to eleven trails totaling nearly 70km of touring for the novice, moderate and intermediate skiers (try the Yellow Quill, Seton or Épinette Creek Trail). The park is also home to nine groomed, one-way snowmobiling trails ranging from 7 km to 30 km in length for a total of 125 km and an outdoor skating oval, rink and toboggan hill (unsupervised) to enjoy with the whole family. Hikers will find a nice selection of trails ranging in difficulty levels, including Marsh’s Lake and Parsons Hill; groomed solely for hiking or snowshoeing.
Even in the colder months, Turtle Mountain Provincial Park has plenty of activities for visitors to enjoy! Skiiers can enjoy miles and miles of exploration on the groomed cross-country skiing trails, with the exception of John Lake Trail, Shoofly Trail, and a part of Dunseith Trail. Snowmobiling, skating, hiking and ice fishing are other popular winter activities to enjoy in the park; with Adam, Bower, Max and William Lake being the four largest lakes and best fishing spots at Turtle Mountain. Grab your toboggan and head to Adam Lake, where you will also find a great hill that makes for some fun sledding! An exciting addition for 2022 is the @Turtle Mountain Adventure Huts – which you can find at Adam Lake and serve as the perfect minimalist 4 season huts to serve as your basecamp for all your Turtle Mountain Adventures!
North of Neepawa and West of Birnie lies Big Valley; an example of glacial meltwater spillway of the last ice age. The valley is a popular recreational area for hiking and tobogganing, as you can slide down the winding valley road for minutes at a time for maximum fun! The area is known for its natural beauty; surrounded by birch trees, a winding spring-fed creek and shale slides. The nearby Rosedale Farm Trail (5 miles West of Eden on the Rosedale Farm) is an all-season trail that passes through a variety of vegetation and topography and offers stunning views to the East of the Riding Mountain Escarpment. Interpretive signage helps to explain the history and features of the farm. Also in close proximity is the Rossburn Subdivision Trail, which makes for a great snowbmobiling route in the Winter. The trail runs 172km long, from Neepawa to Russel and follows the abandoned Rossburn Subdivision railway bed.
*Do not attempt to drive into the valley in the snow or wet conditions. It is recommended that you park your vehicle at the top of the valley and walk down from there.
Described as an island of wilderness surrounded by a sea of farmland, Riding Mountain National Park boasts 3,000 square miles of wilderness to be explored! Glide down the Parks Canada skating trails and outdoor skating rink adorned with twinkly lights, snowshoe along groomed trails & frozen landscapes that might be inaccessible at any other time of year or enjoy the serenity of the boreal forest in Riding Mountain National Park by cross-county ski. Bring your fat tire bike or rent one from Friends of Riding Mountain for a fun workout with top-notch views. Hiking trails are perfect for experienced snowshoers as they can offer both visual and aerobic challenges not found on flat terrain; this is fitness country or slow travel terrain…the choice is yours! Many wonderful accommodations are available in the area – so if you have the time, we definitely recommend making this an overnight trip as there is so much to explore…
Brandon Hills Wildlife Management Area – Brandon, MB
Located just twenty minutes Southeast of Brandon, The Brandon Hills have long been a haven for outdoor recreation and wildlife. With gentle rolling hills and aspen-oak parkland this beautifully forested area offers the perfect setting for nature lovers and photographers. The trail system is comprised of a variety of pathways ranging in distance from 2 km to 7.5 km. A map at the starting point outlines each loop. The Brandon Hills were originally formed by glaciers that left behind a long ridge spanning several kilometers east and west. They are often nicknamed, the “Blue Hills of Brandon” because of their distinct colour seen from a distance in the summer time. A variety of birds can be found in these hills including grouse, finches, gamebirds and the occasional great horned owl. Red squirrels, white tailed deer and coyotes also roam the area. The groomed cross-country trails are a skiers’ paradise; offering a quiet and picturesque white wonderland. Feeling like more Winter fun in the area? Rally up the troops and head to the newly opened tubing hill, located on the outskirts of the other end of the city; Tubin’ at Grand Valley Park! Still looking for more to do or planning on staying a day or two in city? Be sure to bring your skates and make a stop at the Manitoba Hydro Power Smart Waterfall of Lights, located at 2020 McGregor avenue – a network of skating trails surrounded by a stunning display of lights. Nighttime is best to enjoy this one 😉
Groomed after every snowfall by the Neepawa & Area Ski Club, Neepawa-Langford Winter Park’s trails offer something for everyone! There are 10K for classic skiing (with 5K double tracked) and 2.5K for skate skiing. There is also a warming cabin along the trail, toboggan hill, and 7K of snowshoeing trails. The trails are well sheltered, passing through the woods on flat or gently rolling terrain. You will also find a tobogganing hill for the kids (and inner kid in you) for plenty of opportunity for Winter fun!
Lang’s Crossing trail and the Souris River Bend trail are located at Souris River Bend Wildlife Management Area and feature riparian woodlands and mixed-grass prairie. This is where we can see the famous ‘Souris Elbow of Capture’ or the Souris River Bend where the Souris river suddenly changes its southeast direction to northeast. Lang’s Crossing is a well-known ford (crossing site) used by early settlers to cross the daunting Souris River. The Lang’s trail is popular among horseback riders, while hikers tackle the Souris River Bend trail. There is a staging area at the bottom of the valley near the bridge and a sign explaining the trails. The area also provides excellent birding opportunities, and provides an important habitat for grassland birds and numerous other species.
photos: courtesy of alltrails.com
A scenic site for cross-country skiing in Western Manitoba; Hellman’s Cross Country Ski Trails can be found three kilometres east of Virden (3 kms east of the cement plant on Hwy #1, south on Rd 150 W, then 5 kms to parking lot on the left). The groomed trails span approximately five kilometres, winding through valleys and over hills. The network of trails run through the property and range in their level of difficulty, from beginner, to challenging ones. The access to both trails is found on the far side of the parking lot. The Hellman Ski Trails are free of charge.
With so many great options for Winter fun at our disposal (and so many more!) – what are you waiting for?! Get out there and explore the beauty we have here in our own back yards! Trust us, you won’t be disappointed 🙂
* All snowmobile trails throughout the Westman Region are part of Snoman Inc. and require a valid SnoPass to Travel on them.
* Provincial & National Parks require a valid park pass
* Be sure to practice Winter & Ice Safety and take extra precautions, as weather has been unseasonably warm this year
* Throughout the Province, please continue to practice safe physical distancing and adhere to all Recommended Guidelines.