Manitoba fall road trips: Perfectly Parkland

Posted September 14, 2021

See iconic prairie giants and make your way into the wilds of the Parkland on this outdoor adventure.

This fall, we're featuring an amazing collection of road trips that will help you explore every corner of Manitoba. The Perfectly Parkland road trip covers the western side of Manitoba's Parkland region through Treaty 2 and 4 territory.

Part one

Town of Russell

There's more to this small town than Arthur, the 8 foot tall bull statue (although he does make for a fun photo).

Walk beneath the arches that line the street of Russell and head to Bin 22 Coffee Company, the town's beloved coffee shop that serves all the usual suspects along with some unique signature blended drinks ("bin busters"). If you prefer to shop while sipping a warm beverage, try TinHouse Designs & Coffee Co. With a coffee in tow, browse some of the local shops like Prairie Collective Co. (antiques and home decor) and Hometown Glory (clothing and home goods).

For ice cream and burgers, Connie's Drive In is the seasonal summer spot for all your classic on-the-go food.

You can also get to know the history of the town through a self-guided walking tour. Stops include the Smellie Block, the Red House and the Old Anglican Rectory.

9 Finger Ranch

Take a detour from Russell and surround yourself with the fall foliage of the rolling hills at 9 Finger Ranch, located on the south end of Riding Mountain National Park in Rossburn. At this working cattle ranch, you can saddle up and take a ride off the beaten path on horseback for a chance to view wildlife and explore the area.

Inglis Grain Elevators National Historic Site

Drive 20 minutes north of Russell to find the Inglis Grain Elevators National Historic Site. These five prairie giants are the last remaining row of standard country grain elevators still standing. Choose from a guided or self-guided tour to explore the site and its exhibits and enjoy the prairie views while enjoying a picnic lunch.

Asessippi Village Self-Guided Trail

On your way out of Inglis, travel along highway 83 to find the old Asessippi Village. Follow the self-guided trail to find interpretative signage and remnants of an abandoned town.

Mountain Biking in Asessippi

Best known for its ski and snowboarding hill in the winter months, by summer and through to the fall, the Asessippi Ski Area & Resort caters to mountain bikers. There are five trails to choose from, ranging from beginner to advanced.

Asessippi Ski Area & Resort

Photo by Asessippi Ski Area & Resort


Hiking in Duck Mountain Provincial Park

For nature lovers, Duck Mountain Provincial Park is paradise on earth. The forested regions of this provincial park are populated with birch, spruce and other varieties that are home to birds, waterfowl and other wildlife.

Experience fall camping or stay at a nearby lodge and then spend the day hiking and taking in the colours of fall.

Like much of the Parkland region, lakes are plentiful in the Ducks. One of the park’s most impressive lakes is East Blue Lake, a spring-fed lake with lovely and unexpected turquoise water. The lake is 60 metres deep and is one of Manitoba’s clearest lakes. Although it's now past the time for swimming, the lake makes for a beautiful backdrop for a picnic or for a fall kayak.

There are many hiking trails to choose from in Duck Mountain Provincial Park. To name a few, the Copernicus Hill Hiking Trail features a viewing tower and a picnic area, while the Shining Stone Self-Guiding Trail follows along West Blue Lake and showcases the park’s many tree species.

Baldy Mountain

At 831 metres above sea level, Baldy Mountain is Manitoba’s highest peak. And on clear-sky days from the viewing tower of this peak, you’ll be treated to a spectacular view of aspen and spruce forests that stretch as far as Riding Mountain National Park. Choose to just climb the viewing tower, or hike the full trail that begins at the site.

Baldy Mountain view

Viewing tower

Part three

Swan River Valley sights

Welcome to the next leg of the Perfectly Parkland road trip!

Venturing into the past is a good place to start in this small town. The Swan Valley Historical Museum and Heritage Village provides an excellent overview of how life once was in the valley. Behind the museum’s grounds is the Rex Leach Museum Trail that is as peaceful as it is green with varieties of ferns that litter either side.

Golfers must play a round at the Swan River Golf and Country Club - not only for the fun of it, but also to tick off an important bucket list item: golfing at Manitoba's northernmost 18-hole course.

Magnetic Hill

Located in the Swan Valley, Magnet Hill is a natural phenomenon that you need to experience to believe. Head out on Provincial Road no 487 and look for the signs and a dip in the road. Once there — place your car at the bottom of the dip and put it in neutral and it will seem like your car is being dragged back uphill.

Y Not Johnny's

Dining in Swan River

There are a number of yummy dining options in Swan River: from fine dining at MADOCO to the broad yet inventive menu at Y Not Johnny's. Other options include Timberland and Ten-Hsiang Garden.

More outdoor explorations

Want to keep the fun going just a little longer? There are endless lakes, forests and parks to explore for the true outdoorsperson. The fishing here is a big draw, with species like rainbow trout, brook trout, bass, perch and pike. If you’re an avid angler, Swan Valley is a great area to spend a few additional days on this road trip. Ask any of the residents where the best fishing in the area is and Whitefish Lake is one of the first name drops.

Overnight stay in Swan River Valley and area

For overnight stays, Swan River and the surrounding area has a number of options for accommodations.

• Wellman Lake Lodge
• Super 8
• New Country Motel

Wellman Lake Lodge

Wellman Lake Lodge