Located in eastern Manitoba in the Canadian Shield region lies a slice of heaven on earth. Whiteshell Provincial Park boasts untouched nature, dotted with remote lakes, brushed with boreal forest and marked by bare granite ridges. The historic Winnipeg and Whiteshell Rivers running through 2800 square kilometers of protected wilderness ensures a truly authentic experience of nature at its finest.
The area in which the Park is located was once home to the Ojibway and Anishinaabe people. Homage is even paid to their history as the Park is named after the cowrie shells that were used by the Anishinaabe in various ceremonies. Not only was this home for them, but for many, these lands were where the natives would harvest rice, hunt, fish and trade. Experts are confident this was the case for thousands of years as archaeologists have found evidence of stone tool making and prehistoric quartz mining as well.
Due to the historical and environmental importance of the Park, it is only natural that it would be so protected. Internationally, the park is classified by the IUCN as a Class II protected area and it is also given the same importance locally through the Heritage Act of Manitoba. Whether you hike, canoe, cross country ski or snowmobile through the Park, nature lovers will truly appreciate the Park not only for its beauty but for the magnitude of effort taken to preserve the natural setting and ensure the abundance of wildlife in the area.
Whiteshell Provincial Park is located along the eastern side of Southern Manitoba, 100 km to the east of Winnipeg. You can use the Trans-Canada Highway if coming from the East into Manitoba. This is the only road coming into Manitoba from the east as the difficult terrain of the Canadian Shield and efforts to protect the park areas, have not allowed for any further significant development of infrastructure.
If coming from Winnipeg, you can take either Trans-Canada Highway 1 or Highway 44. Trans-Canada Highway 1 will lead to the south side of the Park, from where you will have quick access to Falcon Lake and West Hawk Lake.
Highway 44, on the other hand, will lead to western side of the Park, where you can also gain access through Provincial Road 307 at Seven Sisters Falls or Provincial Road 309, which connects Provincial Road 307 at White Lake with Lone Island Lake and Big Whiteshell Lake.
Depending on which pristine untouched lake you want to see first, you can plan out your routes.
This campground has an impressive 234 sites with 30 amp electric, water and sewer hook up facilities. Not only are there showers, restrooms, and playgrounds available on the premises, but visitors also have access to the 18 hole golf course and fishing as well. Additional activities such as lawn bowling, tennis, miniature golf, and horse riding, are also available.
RVs have access to 155 sites on this campground. There are 30 amp electric and water hookups available as well. Restrooms, showers, and laundry facilities, are all available on the premises, along with playgrounds. In addition to several hiking trails, the campground also provides an 18 hole golf course and activities such as swimming, fishing, boating, and even has a baseball diamond on site.
Whiteshell Provincial Park has three campgrounds that accommodate RVs: West Hawk Lake campground has 123 sites with full hook up options, which include 30 & 50 amp electric, water and sewerage. Restrooms, showers and playgrounds are all located on the premises as well. The campground also offers access to several hiking trails of the Park.
With some of the most spectacular hiking trails in the province, this is a must-see experience. Due to the protected status of the Park, beaver dams are a common sight along with all the rich wildlife. The trails cater to all experience levels, ranging from short 1.5 km routes to the more daunting 60 km Mantario Trail. Currently, work is even underway which will make the Park a part of the Trans-Canada Trail.
West Hawk Lake is not only the deepest lake in the province, but it is also special because the crater that now forms the lake was formed by a meteorite. Considering the exceptional history of its formation, the lake is a popular destination for scuba diving and ice diving enthusiasts.
The Park is blessed with 200 lakes and more than a dozen species of fish including walleye, northern pike, perch, small mouth bass, and lake trout. A true fisherman will never be bored among the different fish and beautiful setting of the Park.
Best of all, swimming through the Winnipeg River is the impressive lake sturgeon. Reaching lengths of up to 3 meters long, these wondrous creatures are truly a sight to behold. But not for long, as their endangered species status means that they must be released upon catching.
Not only is water skiing a fun activity, but it has also become a popular competitive sport today. Adrenaline chasers can find like-minded individuals at the Freeriders Club, White Lake Ski Club, and the Betula Lake Skibees.
If you want to still enjoy the lake, but at a somewhat composed and dignified pace, then Falcon Lake and West Hawk Lake are your ideal destinations. Both lakes have sailing clubs where you can hire boats and enjoy the calmness and serenity of the lake waters.
It may not be for everyone, but the Park still proudly boasts a premier golf course on its very grounds. Enjoy a full 18-hole game at the Falcon Lake Golf Course. If you’re camping at the Falcon Lakeshore or Falcon Beach campgrounds, then you’ll have direct access to the course. Swinging that golf ball into the Canadian wilderness is truly an experience which not many places can offer.
Riding horses in such picturesque scenery will make you feel like you’re on the big screen. Those interested in experiencing nature from the back of a majestic animal can find the Riding Stables at Falcon Lake and will have direct access from the Falcon Lakeshore or Falcon Beach campgrounds.