If you are a lover of peace and quiet, there's no doubt that you also know that the shoulder season is where it's at. This is especially true for Riding Mountain National Park, where by mid September, much of the summertime crowds have dissipated. Left behind is a beautiful display of fall colours, roaring campfires, and a quiet and quaint townsite. If this appeals to you, here are 5 achievements to help you unlock the ultimate fall getaway.
1. oTENTik: cozy camper achieved
Campers beware: once you try an oTENTik, you may never want to return to your old fashioned ways. This cozy structure requires no assembly and can sleep up to 6 with two large queens and a double on the upper bunk. In the fall months, oTENTiks are a safe bet when the weather can range from hot and sunny to chilly and cool. The oTENTik comes complete with a space heater and a stove, but at this time of the year the heater will be all you need to get a warm night's rest. It also has conventional and USB plugs, which means if you like to take photos throughout the day, there's no need to bring an external phone battery pack on this weekend glamping getaway.
2. Foraging hike: natural knowledge achieved
Check in with Parks Canada to see if there are any scheduled interpretive tours through the park during your stay. For example, their Foraging Forest Food tour takes you down the Brûlé Trail with a Parks Canada guide on a quest to find edible and medicinal plants. While actual foraging does not happen on the tour, you do have the opportunity to try a variety of plants such as rose berries, hazelnuts and mint. For budding naturalists, this tour leaves you in awe with how much you may have been overlooking in the forest.
3. Comfort foods: replenishment achieved
One of the best things about camping in Riding Mountain National Park is you need not cook all your own meals. With the Wasagaming townsite close by, there are several dining options that stay open later into the season. Lakehouse is one of those options, actually staying open year-round, providing a glowing patio with roaring fire pits and heated lamps. If you can get there before it closes for the season, Whitehouse Bakery is a must-stop for their famous cinnamon buns (we can confirm: these buns are NOT overrated in the least). And if you're like me and still like occasionally cooking the old-fashioned way, the oTENTik comes equipped with a BBQ and fire pit.
4. Bison: wildlife ranger achieved
When it comes to cute wildlife, bison may not be the first to come to mind. But North America's largest land mammal does have a certain charm, which you can get to know on a visit to the Lake Audy Bison Enclosure. Sunset and sunrise are the best times to take the drive, and don't be surprised if these adorable beasts surround your car. The rules here are simple: share the road, stay inside your vehicle and take plenty of photos.
5. Fall foliage: scenic explorer achieved
And now, the best for last. Fall in Riding Mountain National Park brings forth some of the best foliage in the province near the end of September. Take an hour or two to picnic at Deep Bay and admire the sparkling, crystal clear water against the backdrop of red, orange and yellow hues. Wander down the floating boardwalks of the Ominik Marsh Trail and keep an eye out for beavers as the reeds sway in the wind, again while being surrounding by the vivid colours of the season. If you ask me, there's no better time to take a trip to this beloved National Park.
Travel Manitoba was hosted by Parks Canada, who did not review or approve the content of this story. #tmbpartner