Canada’s Manitoba is home to Riding Mountain National Park. The park is situated atop the Manitoba Escarpment in Treaty 2 Territory. The woodland parkland, which occupies a protected area of 2,969 km2, contrasts noticeably with the nearby grassland farming. Because it safeguards three distinct habitats that coexist their grasslands, upland boreal, and eastern deciduous forests—it was given national park status. Highway 10, which runs through the park, is the most convenient route. The only commercial area inside the park’s boundaries is Wasagaming, where the south entrance is located.
1) 10 Fun Things to Do in Riding Mountain National Park!
Following are several exciting things you can consider while travelling.
1.1) Know About the Red Chairs
A few years ago, Parks Canada unveiled a brand-new initiative in which they placed several red wooden chairs throughout the nation’s national parks and historical sites so that tourists could relax and take in the breathtaking views. Watch out for the red chairs that the Red Chairs Experience Program has strategically placed across the park.
According to them, the purpose is to introduce Canadians and visitors to nature, therefore, what better way to decompress after a tiring day of sightseeing than to recline in one of these? Ten sets of pairs have been planted all across Riding Mountain National Park.
1.2) Do Canoeing
The ultimate Canadian activity is paddling a canoe on a lake. If you use the canoe at Kinosao Lake, please treat it gently and remove it from the water as soon as you finish. They may have packed up the boat; they frequently leave it on the lake for visitors to use for free. If we all handle it respectfully, Parks Canada will continue to provide one each year.
1.3) Explore the Northern Lights
When it comes to the Northern Lights, the majority of people think of Norway, Iceland, or the Yukon. However, I’m here to tell you that you can also see the Northern Lights while you’re in this location. It’s true that the Aurora Borealis can occasionally be seen thus far south. Riding Mountain National Park offers some incredibly bright skies, which are ideal for astrophotography and, if you’re lucky, witnessing the Northern Lights. This is due to the area’s isolation and lack of light pollution. Even though seeing them isn’t certain, when you go, be sure to check the weather and get up early to try and catch this breathtaking sight in Riding Mountain National Park.
1.4) Visit Several Hiking Places:
1.4.1) The Kinosao Lake Hike
There are several amazing tiny lakes in and around Riding Mountain National Park, but Kinosao Lake is one of the loveliest and easiest to get to. You may find parking near the trailhead by driving out to Highway 19. It is only 1.3 kilometres on a beautiful small track from there to the lake’s shore.
Although the trail is flat, it is beautiful. It is just over 7km long and encircles the whole lake. There is a long pier where you can go canoeing, or if you still need to finish hiking, you can begin the entire trail. Don’t just hang out at Clear Lake if you’re planning to spend time at Riding Mountain National Park.
The entire time, the forest is magnificent. You can be in a vast plain one second and then in the pitch black of an old-growth forest the next. You’ll be astounded by how lovely and remote it is when you eventually make it to the lake’s edge.
1.4.2) The Ominik Marsh Hike
It would be best to visit the Ominik Marsh because it’s still a great place to explore and is among the top things to do in Clear Lake. With a roundtrip distance of only 1.9 km, the Ominik Marsh Trail is a simple hike for youngsters. The boardwalk provides a wonderful sight of the marsh and the creatures that dwell there and loops through the marsh. Be on the lookout for leeches, insects, frogs, and many other creatures.
Observing all the insects at Ominik Marsh is probably one of your top options for family-friendly activities in Riding Mountain National Park. The marsh is close to a great boardwalk and route to take you deep inside.
Visit the visitors center in town and pick up a critter kit if you are travelling with children and want to give them something entertaining and educational to do for a few hours. A few nets, a magnifying lens, trays, and an identification book are included in the kit so that the kids can search the marsh for insects and learn more about them.
1.4.3) The Bald Hike
The Bald Hill track, near the East Side Escarpment, contains several extremely steep parts that lead to a sizable rocky outcrop. The 9km journey to Bald Hill is one of the toughest hikes in Riding Mountain National Park, but the reward is well worth the effort.
Finding Bald Hill’s pinnacle is the objective, but as it isn’t designated, that in and of itself can be more challenging than anticipated. The views from Bald Hill are supposed to be the best in the entire park, so get a map from the visitor’s center to ensure you get them.
1.4.4) Trail Of The North Escarpment
The North Escarpment Trail should be the best place if you want to go hiking for the day or travel with horses. Your tour will be remembered thanks to stunning sunsets, breathtaking panoramas, and abundant wildlife. From here, you can continue on other trails like Packhorse and Bald Hill to make your journey more challenging.
1.4.5) Burls and Bittersweet Trail Hike
This short, 2.2-kilometre easy trail in Riding Mountain National Park leads you deep into the hardwood forest and is the ideal way to experience the park’s famed tranquillity. The trail leading to the base of the Manitoba Escarpment was well-maintained and featured a few small bridges over creeks. Even though it was only a short hike, the Burls, and Bittersweet route is still pretty entertaining, so you should include it on your list of Riding Mountain National Park’s free activities.
1.4.6) Reeve’s Ravine and Gorge Creek
When viewed from this mountain riding trail on the Manitoba Escarpment, the plains have never appeared more mesmerizing. Before starting the ascent again, you should stop pedalling and take it all in. Moose can be observed happily grazing while ignoring the focus that has been placed on them. While mountain bikers ride down Reeve’s Ravine, hikers are welcome to experience the same breathtaking vistas along this trail. There are also a few extras, like a gorge with historical roots created by centuries of erosion. Not to mention the diverse vegetation, which includes green ash and aspen/hazel woods.
1.5) Clear Lake
1.5.1) Watch The Sunset:
Watch the sunset while sitting on one of the docks that border Clear Lake. There are rumours that the Northern Lights can be seen in the skies above Clear Lake at night.
If you appreciate finding a decent site to watch the sunset, and fortunately, there are plenty of spots in and around Riding Mountain National Park to do precisely that. There were dozens of people strolling about admiring the scenery or sitting on park chairs, and the area had a very positive vibe.
One of the most popular photo locations in Riding Mountain National Park is here. A long pier that protrudes into the lake is located on the eastern shore of Clear Lake, next to the Wishing Well. Because of how motionless the lake is, the water nicely mirrored the colours when the sky lit up. One of the best things is to come down and stroll along the shore while enjoying the stunning views; moreover, this location is for more than just photographers.
1.5.2) Clear Lake Beach:
The gem of Riding Mountain National Park is Clear Lake. It is adjacent to the main beach and provides access to various enjoyable activities, such as boating, kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, and sunbathing. You may have even more fun by renting a motorboat, kayak, paddleboard, or pedal boat from the Clear Lake Marina and spending the afternoon having water!
1.5.3) Wishing Well On Clear Lake:
The Wishing Well, a popular location among locals, is located outside Clear Lake’s east side. This historical location, constructed in the 1930s, has a lovely little garden, charming bridges, plenty of seating areas, and a well where you can throw your coins and make wishes. It’s a terrific idea to take pictures at the Wishing Well. Here, sunset offers some of the best photographic opportunities.
You can unwind and enjoy views of Clear Lake from two classic Parks Canada red chairs situated in a charming garden close to the Clear Lake Golf Course and the lake’s eastern coast. The garden itself is quite beautiful. Locating a location finer for a picnic than the Wishing Well will be challenging.
1.5.4) Boat Cruise On Clear Lake:
A boat cruise is one of the most tranquil ways to see Clear Lake, and there are several different ones you may do. The one-hour interpretive tours that depart late afternoon or just before dusk are the most well-liked. However, if you’re looking for something a little more intimate, consider taking a dinner boat on Clear Lake. These go on for a while, and the food is fantastic. Bookings need to be made much prior.
One method to learn about Clear Lake and the historical and cultural background of the park is through an interpretive cruise. The hour-long cruise can be booked online or at the Clear Lake Marina store nearby.
1.6) Relish Observing Wildlife
As you wander about the park, be aware of the wildlife. The creatures that roam this park are cougars, white-tailed deer, snowshoe hares, porcupines, coyotes, moose, timber wolves, beavers, and lynxes. Some birds living in Clear Lake include common loons and Canadian geese. Visitors to this park have recorded 233 different bird species in total. The park’s forest is home to 60 other species of mammals, including black bears. One of North America’s largest black bear populations can be found in the park.
Along with this, you’ll also likely witness different bird species as you walk along pathways in the boreal forests. Do not feed wildlife, heed Parks Canada’s cautions, and maintained a safe distance. A herd of roughly forty bison lives in the Lake Audy Bison Enclosure. In 1931, 20 bison were initially reintroduced from Alberta. A small quantity of rainbow and brook trout can be found in Deep Lake and Lake Katherine, and Clear Lake contains walleye, white fish, and perch.
1.7) Relish Observing Flora
In addition to its wildflowers, Riding Mountain National Park is renowned for its diverse array of rare plants, most of which are unique to Canada’s prairie regions. The park has 669 different plant species. Aspen poplar, Manitoba maple, balsam poplar, white birch, paper birch, white spruce, jack pine, black spruce, tamarack, balsam fir, American elm, and bur oak are some of the prevalent plants found in the area.
1.8) Fishing at the Lakes
The park is home to numerous freshwater lakes with fish like walleye, perch, northern pike, and whitefish. With your fishing license in hand, you can confidently head to Deep Lake, Edwards Lake, or Scott Creek and bring home an impressive haul of Northern Pike or Walleye. It’s important to note that there are few options for shore fishing in the park. To head out onto the water, you will need a watercraft such as a boat, canoe, or kayak if you intend to go fishing.
The following are some of the popular fishing locations in Riding Mountain National Park:
1.8.1) Lake Katherine
The Lake Katherine Winter Trail is a stunning loop around the lake. This is a perfect choice for newcomers or guests searching for a shorter option. Explore this 3.5-km circular trail in Manitoba close to Division No. 17. It takes 53 minutes on average to accomplish what is typically considered an easy journey. There will be a few other people along this trail, which is perfect for hiking and cross-country skiing. Users can combine this trail with the Compound Winter Trail for a more extended trip. Drive past the yellow gate, proceed directly to the lake, and turn left to reach the trailhead. It has the name Loons Island.
1.8.2) Lake Audy
The Bison Enclosure, where visitors can get a close-up view of the herd, is undoubtedly the highlight of Lake Audy’s stellar reputation as a place to see animals. Until they were hunted to extinction, bison used to graze on the plains of Manitoba. Ten bison from Elk Island National Park were brought back to the park in Lake Audy Plain in 1940. For the best chance of catching a glimpse of them feeding, turn to the Bison Enclosure immediately after entering.
You can drive inside the enclosure to observe North America’s largest land mammal, a herd of about 40 bison that have been reintroduced to the area. Even though the land is gated to protect them, as soon as you pass over the cattle grid, it feels entirely natural.
When they are most active, sunrise and sunset are the most significant times to visit. Although you can drive around the enclosure, the herd moves around, and the roads don’t cover the entire area, so it’s best to go early in your trip if you need to return.
1.8.3) Moon Lake
The location is Moon Lake, where a leisurely 9.2-kilometre walk will take you to a beautiful picnic area. Remember to take your binoculars and look for bald eagles and osprey with them.
1.9) The Historic East Gate
The East Gate registration complex is the final physical entrance to Riding Mountain National Park. The East Gate Complex on Highway 19 was constructed in the 1930s using logs and stone walls. It will take a few minutes to see it as you look for exciting things to do in Riding Mountain National Park. It was named a National Historic Site of Canada in 1992.
The historic East Gate is located at the easternmost point of Riding Mountain National Park and is well worth stopping on your journey into or out of the region. Of the original national park gates built in the 1930s, it is the only registration facility in Canada.
2) Riding Mountain National Park FAQ:
2.1) Can You Access Riding Mountain National Park Without a Permit?
To access Riding Mountain National Park in a car, you must have permission, which is available at the park’s entrances. The East Entrance’s ancient and agrarian architectural style earned it a nomination as a National Historic Site of Canada in 1992. Canadian architect Shamus Marshall created the gate.
2.2) What Weather Can You Expect at Riding Mountain National Park?
Several poplar trees are in view on the Loon Island walk-in Riding Mountain National Park. Like other parts of southern Manitoba, the Riding Mountain region has a temperate climate. It has a continental climate, according to Köppen. Ecosystems from grasslands, highland boreal, and eastern deciduous forests are all included.
There are various things you can do when you visit Riding Mountain national park. However, in this article, we have mentioned things you can consider. Some of the exciting things you can do are explore red chairs, canoe, the Historic East Gate, Fishing at various lakes, relishing flora and fauna, and clear lake. Additionally, there are so many trails you can go Kinosao Lake trails, Bald Hike, Ominik Marsh Hike etc. Make your visit worth it!