Clear Lake Country describes the communities in and around Riding Mountain National Park, located 265 km northwest of Winnipeg in the rolling river valleys of the Parkland region. Riding Mountain is Manitoba’s only national park that welcomes guests, which it has done for generations of local families while remaining largely off-the-radar for international travellers.
Locals simply call the area Clear Lake because of the deep, crystal waters at the park’s heart. Along the south shore is Wasagaming, a charming resort town with streets lined with independent shops, restaurants, hotels and vacation rentals. Beyond the energy of Clear Lake, Riding Mountain has a serene backcountry of boreal and deciduous forest, grassland meadows and marshy wetlands.
Hundreds of kilometers of trails for hiking, biking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing crisscross the park - many along the dramatic elevation of the Manitoba Escarpment. Clear Lake Country is also home to Manitoba’s most iconic wildlife - black bears, elk, moose, lynx and bison - that can be viewed in any season.
Campgrounds: Wasagaming campground, Sportsman’s RV Park, Moon Lake
If There’s Time
Park Theatre: watch a movie at this historic, one-of-a-kind log cabin theatre
Clear Lake Golf Course: play a round at this Stanley Thompson-designed golf course
PART 1 - Get active outdoors
Your first stop should be Parks Canada’s Visitor Information Centre in Wasagaming to get your bearings and learn about the 370 km of trails that attract hikers and bikers of varying abilities. Options range from the leisurely Lakeshore Trail leading from the Clear Lake’s main beach to secretive Deep Bay; the kid friendly Ominnik Marsh for birding and critter viewing; or the challenging and picturesque Bald Hill and Reeve’s Ravine in the eastern backcountry.
Friends of Riding Mountain Learning Centre has fat bike rentals and Clear Lake Gas and Beavertail Rentals provide novelty bike rentals for cruising around the townsite. If you prefer water-based activity, Clear Lake Marina offers kayak, peddle boat and paddleboard rentals. Pontoon boat rentals are also available for DIY fishing adventures. If swimming and sunbathing is your way of staying active, beaches and docks galore surround Clear Lake, Lake Katherine, Lake Audy and Moon Lake.
Swimming, hiking and biking - summer is the perfect time for your next outdoor adventure at Riding Mountain National Park. Find out why this area is a hit with outdoor enthusiasts.
Elkhorn Resort includes a full-service mineral pool and spa, a nine-hole golf course, riding stables, year-round recreational activities, complete banquet and conference service and luxurious guest rooms and chalets.
Wasagaming Townsite (PHS)
Wasagaming Townsite, on the south shore of Clear Lake, provides a variety of recreational activities including a fine 18-hole golf course, surfaced tennis courts, lawn bowling and canoeing. Motels, resorts, shops, restaurants, a cinema, campsites, a boat...
Clear Lake Golf Course
Clear Lake Golf Course is an 18 hole facility situated in Riding Mountain National Park at the east end of Clear Lake. The course remains one of the most unique and beautiful courses in the Province. The course is within 10 minutes of the commercial...
PART 2 - Unique Accommodations
Camping is a big reason vacationers head to Clear Lake Country in the summer. The Wasagaming campground is large, and not only offers a variety of RV and tenting sites, but also unique camping accommodations such as yurts, Micro-Cubes and the popular oTENTiks that you can rent. These spacious, a-frame structures sleep up to six people and are equipped with furnishings, a wood stove and bbq. For non campers, Elkhorn Resort and Conference Centre is a top option for families with kids needing to burn off energy. The waterpark features a waterslide, obstacle course and outdoor hot tub. In the heart of Wasagaming, quaint weekly vacation cabins abound such as Thunderbird Bungalows and Cottages at Clear Lake.
Explore by Horseback
There is no Riding Mountain after all. Rather, the name of the park and biosphere is a nod to riding horseback, which is how peoples of the region historically explored the rugged highlands for furs and game. Today, visitors can still explore on the back of a horse by booking riding experiences with a few ranches. Trailhead Ranch in Onanole offers family-friendly rides by horse or wagon. ERA Horse Centre, on the grounds of Elkhorn Resort, offers 1.5 or 3-hour trail rides for more experienced riders. 9 Finger Ranch near Rossburn, southwest of the park, offers full day rides and overnight packages.
PART 3 - Eat, shop, repeat
If your idea of adventure is just shopping and dining, visitors can easily fill a weekend in Clear Lake Country doing just that. Dine your way around to all the iconic spots: Barnaby’s Grille for plentiful plates of ribs, Whitehouse Bakery for fresh cinnamon buns in a variety of flavors, T.R. McKoys for hearty pasta dishes and Lake House for ice cream. Wasagaming is also lined with quaint souvenir shops such as Deep Bay Clothing and Chocolate Fox for trendy fashion, Friends Learning Centre for nature-themed kids toys, and Mainly Manitoba for handmade goods from local artisans. In Onanole, just south of the park, stop in at Poor Michael’s Emporium for global gifts and used books.
A hidden gem and national historic site, the East Gate Registration Complex is the last remaining 1930s-style national park gate in Canada. The log and stone structure greets visitors when they enter via the lesser-travelled highway 19 on the eastern edge of the park. An elegant truss bridge spans twin turret-like cupolas and is a shining example of Canadian Rustic Design architecture.