Best List, Essentials Listings

Parks and Trails Past the Perimeter

Within short driving distance from the city centre, Manitoba's prairie landscape offers natural abundance. These parks make perfect day trips for nature lovers, hikers, cross-country ski enthusiasts and anyone who needs a breather from the hustle of the city.

Birds Hill Provincial Park

Located a half hour from downtown Winnipeg, this prairie park offers a beach, campground, ranch and recreational activities. It’s also home to the world-renowned Winnipeg Folk Festival every July. Hiking trails wind through oak and aspen forests where you’ll encounter native wildflowers, deer, waterfowl and songbirds. Self-guided trails are marked by signs, while guided trails follow a brochure available from the park office. Groomed cross-country ski trails wind for 30 km throughout. The Pineridge Bicycle Trail runs 7.2 km around the park.

Hours: Gates are open 7 am-11 pm.
Admission: Daily admission $5 annual pass $40.
Location: East of Winnipeg on Lagimodière Blvd (Hwy 59), 204-654-6730

Spruce Woods Provincial Heritage Park

Along with camping and swimming facilities, this provincial park is home to Spirit Sands, a hiking trail unlike any other in Manitoba. The trail leads hikers through 5 sq km of desert sand dunes towering 30 metres above the prairie grasslands. The trail travels through cool wooded areas and down into The Devil’s Punch Bowl, a unique group of ponds formed by underground streams. The self-guided trail can be hiked at varying lengths or seen by horse-drawn carriage. Home to Manitoba’s only lizard, the northern prairie skink, as well as the hognose snake and two species of cacti. The park has a number of ideal trails for mountain biking and cross-country skiing.

Location: 200 metres south of the Assiniboine River on PTH 5, 0.8 km east on Park Rd and 1.1 km south of the Day Use Rd. Info: 1‑204‑834‑3223 or 1‑204‑827‑8850

Whiteshell Petroforms

Drive an hour and a half from the centre of Winnipeg and you’ll find yourself on the site of a historic mystery. No one knows exactly who laid out the petroforms, ancient rock formations that depict turtles, snakes, humans and geometric shapes, in what is now the Whiteshell Provincial Park. Located along the edge of the Candian Sheild, the park’s beautiful tablerock is a canvas for these intriguing forms. Historians believe them to be prehistoric, perhaps a ritual activity of Algonkian speaking groups. The forms are also said to be an earthly reminder of instructions given by the spirits to the Anishinaabe people. Please do not disturb the stones.

Location: Located 6 km south of Nutimik Lake on PR 307, or 38 km north of PTH 44 in Whiteshell Provincial Park.

Whiteshell Provincial Park

This expansive park is part of the Canadian Shield and covers 2,719 km of forest and lakes, of which there are 130. The area is excellent for hiking, canoeing, biking and camping, with facilities and starting points at Falcon, West Hawk and Caddy Lake. Winter recreational activities abound: ice fishing, snowmobiling, and cross country skiing and showshoeing trails are located throughout the park. Downhill skiing at Falcon Lake.

Location: Entrances are on Hwy 1 from the east or west, Hwy 44 from the south, or from the north along Hwy 11 at Seven Sisters on PR 307