Explore: Portage la Prairie’s Island Park

Portage la Prairie is a quick and easy, perfect day trip from Winnipeg! In this post we’ll highlight Island Park as a destination point.

Located approximately 70 km East of Winnipeg on Highway 1, Island Park in Portage la Prairie is a very easy destination to get to. Simply head West on Trans-Canada Hwy 1, take the MB-240 exit into Portage la Prairie and continue on that until you see the bridge to get over on to the island (Royal Rd).

map to plp

Why Island Park is a day trip in itself:

In addition to the above listed amenities, there is also a disc golf course, tennis courts, Stride Place (2 arenas, walking track, the aquatic centre, fitness centre, etc), fairgrounds and camping area, ponds and lots of areas to walk, run and explore.

Perks:

  • close enough for a quick trip from Winnipeg! Go for a few hours, a full day, or make a weekend of it!
  • Lots of great spaces to have a picnic lunch
  • Good variety of restaurants close by
  • Paved walking trails

 

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McGillivray Falls (Self-Guiding Trail)

*Trail currently closed due to flooding damage*

One of Whiteshell Provincial Park’s first trails. With two beautiful scenic hikes, one short (2.8 km) and one long (4.6 km). These paths will lead you through a small drainage system connected to McGillivray Lake, consisting of small water falls and rapids.

A Medium distance from the city, it takes about 1 hour and 50 minutes from the heart of downtown Winnipeg.  You can access the trail off Provincial Trunk Highway # 44, right across from Caddy lake!

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Map from Winnipeg, MB

McGillivray Falls has a designated parking that will keep your car safe and off the highway. The trail is nicely sized, and very used so the paths are typically clear of tall grass or debris.  The falls and rapids are located at the beginning of the trail, leading upwards to McGillivray Lake.  As you start the trail you will notice the constant change of scenery and views, from lookouts overseeing the lake to being able to see the top of the vast forests of the Whiteshell.

There are 3 resting spots, stocked with fire pits and picnic tables; two located at the beginning, and one at the middle of the trail. One of the picnic tables located in the middle of the longest trail, sits on flat rock bed surrounded by trees to the north and the lake to the south. This one is my personal favorite as it has an amazing view of McGillivray lake. 

whiteshellm_map
Trail Guide

Another major perk of this location is that it has very low traffic, you are typically able to walk the trail yourself without anyone else around. This trail is both walking and bike friendly, as long as you are an experienced mountain biker. 

The drive may seem a tad bit long, however it is nothing short of breathtaking. Non-stop lakes and rivers line the winding and twisting roads of the Whiteshell, a drive that is sure to keep your attention. 

Recommended places to stop (if you’re coming off Highway 44)

  • Lilly pad pond: A shallow body of water, lining the south side of Highway 44. During the spring and summer seasons this pond 
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    Lilly Pad Pond

    becomes covered in beautiful lily pads and lily flowers. A prime spot to find various species of frog!

  • Caddy lake: Medium sized lake, located across from McGillivray Falls. With various day time actives, and businesses. Including Canoe and Kayak Rentals, a campground, gas bar, and grocery store.
  • Spicy Radish Café: Locally owned family restaurant in Whitemouth, MB. With a large variety of food, this is (personally) one of the best rural restaurants in eastern Manitoba. Friendly staff, reasonable prices, and fully licensed bar!

Recommended places to stop (if you’re coming off Highway 1)

  • Falcon Lake: A summer time hot spot. Fully equipped with a campground, cabin rental, beach, restaurants and stores.
  • Sandilands Forest Discovery Center: Located just off Hwy 1. Sandilands has Beautiful hiking trails, a suspension bridge built over the neighboring river, and educational facilities.
  • Lilac Resort and Water park: RV park, campground and water park with multiple pools and water slides. Perfect place for a pit stop or overnight stay on a hot summer day.

 

Bring along a water bottle, good shoes, and some snacks. And enjoy one of the best hiking/scenic spots in eastern Manitoba! 

 

Official Address: 

Provincial Trunk Hwy 44

Falcon Beach, MB

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Hikers on this trail for the first time, should be aware that there are several, fairly steep inclines along the way and that rock surfaces are slippery when wet. Depending on the season, recent rainfall and beaver activity, you may encounter wet conditions that require short detours.  – Gov of Manitoba.

 

 

Written by: Nicole Presley