Hecla-Grindstone Provincial Park is composed of three scenic islands and a gorgeous stretch of coast along mighty Lake Winnipeg. The park's main attraction is the largest of its three islands, Hecla Island (it was named, after Icelandic settlers to the area, after a prominent Icelandic volcano). Hecla serves as a giant playground for sportsmen, anglers, hikers, sailors and naturalists alike. No matter your pleasure, it'll be hard to find yourself idle here.
Near the park's sprawling, 280-site campground, visitors will find tennis courts, beach volleyball courts, swim beaches, a marina and even a world-class golf course! Hiking trails and boardwalks also criss-cross the island, offering access to expansive marshes and remote stretches of shoreline. A handful of piers and numerous miles of coast provide excellent spots for fishing; or, you could always take a boat out onto beautiful Lake Winnipeg. Even if you're not angling, tree-covered shores and dramatic cliffs make a paddle trip an attractive option.
Those interested in learning about the region's recent history can head to the historic Hecla village, which features several restored buildings from the early 1900s, as well as exhibits on the area's cultural and economic history.
If all else fails, simply string up a hammock and enjoy the cool summer breezes that blow off the lake.
Hecla's Gull Bay Campground is open from mid-May through mid-September. Reservations are accepted for all sites every year, beginning April 3rd.
Hecla-Grindstone sits about two hours north of Winnipeg, Manitoba. If coming from near Winnipeg, you'll most likely take MB-8 N, which crosses a causeway onto Hecla Island and terminates right at the park's campground. Coming from west of the park, you may take MB-68 E, which itself hooks into MB-8 N. MB-8 is a flat, paved provincial highway, and should pose no driving challenge, even to those traveling with very large rigs.
The tightly packed nature of some sites means that maneuvering to park may be difficult for very large rigs, but with some patience, you should be fine. Hecla Island is quite large, and while a great deal of facilities are within walking distance of the campsite, many other popular spots (the historic village, the hiking trails through the island's southern marshlands) will necessitate a drive. Luckily, there is ample parking at just about every trail, day use area and other point of interest on the island.
The provincial park's sprawling campsite is located at Hecla Island's northern tip. To the southeast is beautiful Gull Bay, while sparkling waters and tree-clad coastlines are visible in all other directions. Sites are tightly packed in some places, but if you're ever feeling like you need more elbow room, there's an entire island to explore!
In all, 280 sites, spread out along six loops (called "bays") are available. Almost all can accommodate RVs and trailers. Most spots are back-in, though there are some pull-through sites for very large rigs (the park has plenty of spots available to RVs and trailers over 40 ft. - if you have concerns about your vehicle, you can call ahead before making your reservation). Electric hookups are available at about 90 sites, while a handful have both electric and water hookups.
The campground has several primitive and modern restrooms, three playgrounds, many potable waters spigots, two shower areas, and a sanitary dump station. Within walking distance are multiple trails, two swim beaches, tennis courts, a volleyball court and more.
Reservations can be made over the phone or over the park's website. The reservation window opens April 3rd, while the campground itself is open from mid-May through mid- September.
Historic Hecla Village is a wonderful place to visit for kids and history buffs alike. Get a feel for what life on the island used to be like as you explore some of the century-old buildings that have been restored. There are also some great mini-museums and exhibits, with subjects ranging from tool-making to historical fishing on Lake Winnipeg. Park staff host regular interpretive tours during the summer, and there's also a short, self-guided trail that weaves its way through the whole village.
Hecla-Grindstone's recreation area boasts several excellent sports facilities. Under a clear summer sky, and with a marvelous view of the lake in three directions, play a round of tennis one of the park's excellent courts. Or, head over and work up an appetite while playing a game of volleyball right on the Gull Harbor's lovely shore.
If golf is your game, you'll not want to miss out on playing a round (or two, or three) at Gull Harbor's stunningly course. Take in views of sandy beaches, rolling green hills and Lake Winnipeg's sparkling waters while traversing the grounds.
Head out onto one of North America's largest lakes! Winnipeg's grand size means that it can experience some serious winds, making for excellent sailing. Paddlers can visit the dramatic North Point Cliff, while anglers can search for prime fishing spots on the lake's sparking waters. Even though the area is quite popular, the sheer scope of the lake means that anyone can find a quiet place for themselves, should they want to.
Hecla-Grindstone sports a lovely marina and three boat launches. Two of the launches are located on Hecla Island, while one is located on the mainland, right near causeway to the island.
Hecla-Grindstone presents prospective anglers with an almost overwhelming number of excellent fishing options. Along with dozens of miles of scenic beaches, there are fishing piers at Gull Harbor, at the historic Hecla Village and at the western end of the causeway to the island. Heading out by boat, anglers can explore Black Island, Deer Island or Grindstone Point as they make their casts. Silver bass, pike, perch and pickerel are among the most sought after species. Once you're back on land, you can cook your catch right over a beach-side campfire. What could be better?
Many miles of scenic beaches are open for exploration at Hecla Grindstone. Hecla Island, in particular, sports mellow, sandy shores that are great for both a casual stroll or a long beach hike. If you're looking to cool off, there are two designated swim beaches - Sunset Beach and Gull Harbor Beach - both an easy walk from the campground. And if you're looking to take Fido for a run in the sand, there's a dog beach too! At Hecla's southern end, a series of hiking trails and boardwalks allow visitors to explore the island's rich marshlands. Interpretive signs provide great information on the native flora and fauna.
Plenty of provincial parks offer excellent wildlife viewing, but few sport the infastructure that Hecla-Grindstone does. On Hecla Island's southern end, visitors will find a wildlife viewing tower (equipped with spotting scopes) and several viewing blinds. Take in sweeping vistas of the island and its surrounds as you look for bald eagles, Caspian terns, pelicans, and a whole host of other shorebirds and waterfowl. You may even be lucky enough to spot one of the island's resident moose!