Who knows what adventures are waiting to be found along the trails of the Parkland? You can walk, hike, ride, cycle, or even ski your way along these routes. You’re sure to be inspired by some of the vast panoramas that only a trek across the prairies can provide.
A 25, 40 or 75 kilometres tour, starting and ending in Olha, focusing on the history of Ukrainian settlement in the region and featuring several settlement-related sites in close proximity. Most of the route follows maintained gravel roads with low traffic volumes. The area's location between Asessippi Provincial Park and Riding Mountain National Park make it an ideal new day trip destination for cyclists already frequenting these parks. For more information visit www.valleylands.ca or call 204-859-2779. There is also Tour 8, Where Past is Present, in the Day Tours section of this guide.
Another stretch of the Trans Canada Trail, the Crocus Trail will lead you through the historic grain elevators at Inglis, past the Asessippi Ski Area and Winter Park, up to Roblin and the Goose Lakes, and finally through Duck Mountain Provincial Forest and to the Saskatchewan border at Madge Lake. This trail offers many scenic vistas through forests, valleys, and along cultivated areas. A Trans Canada Trail pavilion is located at the junction of PTH5 and PTH83 in Roblin. Call for more information and for an update on the few portions of the trail not yet signed.
The Parkland is a cyclist’s dream come true. Hundreds of kilometres of trails of varying difficulty and length provide just the right level of challenge for cyclists of all abilities. Extensive trail networks exist in the parks, particularly in Riding Mountain, which features more than 400 km (250 miles) of hiking, biking and horseback trails, and where bike rentals are available at the Tempo gas station in Wasagaming. Trail maps are available from the Visitor Centre.
A scenic highway route of approximately 100 km (63 miles) around Lake of the Prairies takes cyclists through four beautiful valleys, taking in numerous sites of interest along the way. From Roblin, travel 15 km west (across the lake) to PR482, which will take you south along the lake for approximately 40 km (25 miles) before turning east for 8 km (5 miles). Then travel north on PTH83 back to Roblin. Several campgrounds around the lake allow cyclists to break the tour up into two or more days.
This portion of the Trans Canada Trail, consisting of an abandoned CN branch line, is being converted for public use. The trail begins in Neepawa and continues to Russell, passing through the communities of Sandy Lake, Elphinstone, Oakburn, Rossburn, and other communities along PTH45. Completed areas are ideal for hiking, walking, horseback riding and cycling, and cross-country skiing. Most of the 176 km (110 miles) are groomed for snowmobiling in winter. In 2008 the trail was refurbished from Erickson to Sandy Lake providing a smoother surface for cycling. Signage now identifies RST as part of the TCT. For more information, go to www.mrta.mb.ca
Symonds "Rails to Trails" Kiosk in the village of Sandy Lake features maps and pictorial histories of the Rossburn Subdivision of the Canadian National Railroad (CNR) and the village.
In the late 19th century the government of the still-young province of Manitoba found itself in a bit of a quandary: immigrants were flooding into the Parkland area, and some were leaving again, dissatisfied with the lack of good roads and railway connections. Until 1903, the closest railway terminus to Dauphin was to be found nearly 100 km to the southwest in Russell. Construction of the Dauphin-Russell Colonization Road, or the Russell Trail as it would come to be known, began in 1891 as a means of providing the access from the Dauphin area, which already boasted a population of some 1200 settlers, to goods, markets and more immigrants via the railway in Russell.