About 248km (154 miles) northwest of Winnipeg, Riding Mountain National Park (tel. 204/848-7275; www.pc.gc.ca) is set in the highlands atop a giant wooded escarpment sheltering more than 260 species of birds, plus moose, wolf, coyote, lynx, beaver, black bear, and a bison herd at Lake Audy.
The park has more than 400km (249 miles) of hiking trails. Twenty are short, easily accessible, and easy to moderate in difficulty; another 20 are long backcountry trails. Call the number above for more info. You can ride many trails on mountain bike and horseback, and can rent both bikes and horses in Wasagaming.
You can rent canoes and other watercraft, or take a lake cruise, from the Marina at Clear Lake (tel. 204/848-1770). As for fishing, northern pike is the main game fish, and specimens up to 14kg (31 lb.) have been taken from Clear Lake. Rainbow and brook trout populate Lake Katherine and Deep Lake. The park also has one of the province's best golf courses (tel. 204/848-4653; www.clearlakegolfcourse.com); greens fees are C$50. In winter, there's ice fishing and cross-country skiing (call the park for permits and information).
The visitor center is open daily in summer 9:30am to 8pm, and in spring and fall daily 9:30am to 5pm. For information, contact the park . To get to the park from Brandon, head north about 95km (59 miles) along Highway 10. Entry is C$7.80 adults, C$6.55 seniors, C$3.90 children, and C$20 families.
Where to Stay
In Wasagaming, you can stay at five park campgrounds, or in motel and cabin accommodations for anywhere from about C$75 to C$200 for a double. Wasagaming also has six tennis courts, lawn-bowling greens, a children's playground, and a log-cabin movie theater in the Wasagaming Visitor Centre beside Clear Lake. There are also picnic areas with stoves and a band shell down by the lake for Sunday-afternoon concerts. At the lake itself, you can rent boats and swim at the main beach.
Wasagaming Campground, within walking distance of town services, has more than 500 sites, most of which are unserviced. Facilities include showers and toilets, kitchen shelters, and a sewage-disposal station nearby. Rates range from C$28 to C$39 for full service. Advance reservations (tel. 877/737-3783 or 450/505-8302; www.pccamping.ca) are strongly recommended, especially on summer weekends.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.