|countless lakes and streams in the more
temperate regions and areas of forest the size of some countries.
A great deal of Manitoba's best is set aside for parkland. Over 29,000
square kilometres in all, with endless variations and possibilities
for backcountry experiences are endless.
Try backpacking the famous Mantario Trail from Whiteshell
Provincial Park, where you can hike from 3 to 6 days on the longest
backpacking trail in western Canada, before you hit the Rockies.
The trail is 60 km of rugged Precambrian rock and forest. Whiteshell
is a 2800 square kilometres wilderness park, with great backpacking
and plenty of hiking , cross-country ski and mountain biking trails
along with lots of canoe routes.
Further west, you can mountain bike on some 100
kilometers of trail in Riding Mountain National Park, where you'll
find everything from a challenging day ride to an over night trip
on one of the longer routes like the multi-use North Escarpment
Trail. This trail, and many others in the park have wilderness camping
for the mountain biker who doesn't mind doing the packhorse thing.
is 436 meters above the surrounding prairie and is an oasis for
backcountry enthusiasts, but contrary to popular belief, it's not
the highest point in Manitoba. That distinction belongs to the 831
meter high Baldy Mountain in Duck Mountain Provincial Park. This
beautiful park, has 73 lakes with excellent canoeing opportunities.
What can you say about canoeing in Manitoba, when
it's known as the land of 100,000 lakes, and is the birthplace of
Bill Mason, the father of wilderness canoeing in North America.
His first canoeing experiences were on Grand Beach on Lake Winnipeg
and the happiest time of his childhood was when his father rented
a canoe for a week. This is a remarkable province for the canoeing
enthusiast, whether it's the wild white water you're after or the
7 to 10 day routes of solitude you seek.
It's amazing to think that all waters in Manitoba
flow into Hudson Bay, as if the whole province was tipped to the
north. If you're heading to the north, don't miss Wapusk National
Park (the word Wapusk meaning "white bear" in Cree) to
perhaps see the great polar bears. The park has one of the world's
largest known polar bear denning areas. To get a safe look at these
incredible mammals, (highest on the food chain) it might be best
to take one of the guiding companies, who have the facilities to
take you close enough for a photo opportunity, without finding out
what 2nd on the food chain means.
In the winter
there are a number of great cross-country ski areas, not the least
of which are Riding Mountain and the many provincial parks. You
can find great track set and backcountry trails in Beaudry, Hecla,
Turtle Mountain and Whiteshell provincial parks. Winter campers
should head for Moon Lake, Lake Katherine, or Whirlpool Lake in
With all this, Manitoba gives us a different idea
of what a prairie province has to offer. It's a fine blend of Canada's
best qualities; wide open spaces, fresh air, pristine wilderness
and adventures waiting for an eager spirit.