Camping and Hiking at Spruce Woods Provincial Park in Manitoba, Canada

Camping in a Yurt at Spruce Woods Provincial Park

Would you expect to find a desert like landscape in Manitoba, Canada? We certainly weren’t expecting it, but that’s exactly what we found in Spruce Woods Provincial Park!

Camping and Hiking at Spruce Woods Provincial Park in Manitoba, Canada

To close out our road trip through Manitoba, we made our way to a provincial park. We had visited the largest city in Manitoba, Winnipeg, and one of the two national parks, Riding Mountain National Park, so stopping at Spruce Woods Provincial Park for one more night of camping gave us a great mix of what the province has to offer.

Camping and Hiking at Spruce Woods Provincial Park in Manitoba, Canada

Our digs for the evening was a yurt in the Kiche Manitou Campground, but we arrived well before check-in, so first, it was time for some exploring! We made our way to the exhibit building to learn about the parks wildlife, landscapes and history. The park is situated along the Assiniboine Delta, one of Manitoba’s 12 distinct natural regions. Spruce Woods Provincial Park covers an area of 269 square kilometers and provides plenty of opportunity for outdoor adventure.

Camping and Hiking at Spruce Woods Provincial Park in Manitoba, Canada

Camping and Hiking at Spruce Woods Provincial Park in Manitoba, Canada

After learning about what the park has to offer, it was time for some light hiking. We had around an hour to kill, so we made our way along the Springridge Trail to the Steels Ferry Overlook. The overlook provides fantastic views of the valley below, and there are interpretive signs that talk about the old ferry that would cross the river. Due to the varying water level, the important link across the river was unreliable and eventually a bridge was built. We had the entire place to ourselves and we spent almost the entire hour soaking up the beautiful views and exploring the surrounding nature.

Camping and Hiking at Spruce Woods Provincial Park in Manitoba, Canada

Camping and Hiking at Spruce Woods Provincial Park in Manitoba, Canada

All too soon, it was time to head back to the campground to set up camp. We always love checking out different types of accommodations, so we were excited to stay in a yurt again. Our yurt was located down a short trail from the parking lot, and there were wagons available for hauling gear. We stayed in yurt #8, and it was absolutely adorable.

Camping and Hiking at Spruce Woods Provincial Park in Manitoba, Canada

Camping and Hiking at Spruce Woods Provincial Park in Manitoba, Canada

Inside we had bunk beds, futon, dresser, table and chairs, and lights! I was surprised to find electricity in the yurt and it definitely came in handy when we realized we needed to charge our camera batteries before our last hike of the trip later that evening.

Camping and Hiking at Spruce Woods Provincial Park in Manitoba, Canada

Outside the yurt we had a picnic table, fire pit, and once again, perfect trees to hang our hammock. Our site was set back in a clearing of trees, which made it feel private and secluded.

Camping and Hiking at Spruce Woods Provincial Park in Manitoba, Canada

We were intending on just unloading our gear and then heading out on another hike, but it was quite a bit warmer than we anticipated. Instead, we spent a couple of hours relaxing in the hammock, playing cards and cooking dinner over the fire.

Camping and Hiking at Spruce Woods Provincial Park in Manitoba, Canada

Camping and Hiking at Spruce Woods Provincial Park in Manitoba, Canada

After the sun started to get closer to setting, we decided to head over to explore the most unique aspect of the park: the sand dunes! The Spirit Sands Self-Guiding Trail winds its way through both a tree lined trail and the sand dunes.

Camping and Hiking at Spruce Woods Provincial Park in Manitoba, Canada

Camping and Hiking at Spruce Woods Provincial Park in Manitoba, Canada

While this area certainly looks like a desert, it doesn’t technically meet the qualifications to be called a desert. The area receives twice the amount of rainwater than a desert does and instead of the water running off into a nearby river or lake, the sands here absorb the water. This means that plants are able to grow in and around the dunes, which is almost a little unfortunate because they are starting to take over and cover the sand dunes. What used to be over 6,500 square kilometers of open sand dunes is now only four square kilometers. But, four square kilometers is still much larger than we were expecting, and it was quite a sight to see rolling sand dunes in the middle of a region filled with forests and prairies.

Camping and Hiking at Spruce Woods Provincial Park in Manitoba, Canada

Camping and Hiking at Spruce Woods Provincial Park in Manitoba, Canada

Many of the trails throughout the park are interpretive trails, which means there are signs along the trails that give you a bit of history and information about the area you are exploring. I really enjoyed stopping to read the signs along our hike—the signs added a unique perspective to what we were seeing and provided insight that we would have otherwise missed out on.

Camping and Hiking at Spruce Woods Provincial Park in Manitoba, Canada

Camping and Hiking at Spruce Woods Provincial Park in Manitoba, Canada

As the sun was starting to set over the sand dunes, we couldn’t help but think what a fantastic week we had exploring Manitoba. From a wide range of both urban and outdoor adventures, we experienced a perfect mix of what the province has to offer, and we can’t wait to head back again soon to explore even more!

Camping and Hiking at Spruce Woods Provincial Park in Manitoba, Canada

 

This post is brought to you in partnership with Travel Manitoba. As always, all opinions are our own. 

26 Comments
  • Mik
    Posted at 16:14h, 14 September Reply

    Yurts look so fun!! Spruce Woods looks like a great time as well! Would never have guessed Manitoba had sand dunes like this.

  • Angela
    Twitter:
    Posted at 13:58h, 17 September Reply

    This looks so great!

  • Toni Broome
    Twitter:
    Posted at 19:25h, 17 September Reply

    What a gorgeous park to explore! The uphills on those sandy trails can be really hard on the legs though, just did some of the Yurigir coastal track in Australia last week and boy it made my legs burn.
    Toni Broome recently posted…Perfect relaxation at Angourie Rainforest ResortMy Profile

  • Alex
    Posted at 03:16h, 18 September Reply

    Whoa, now that’s a pimping yurt!

    It was a real treat to read through this post—your photography is excellent, and it really felt like I was exploring Spruce Woods with you. Must visit one day!

  • Robson V Cadore
    Twitter:
    Posted at 03:34h, 18 September Reply

    What a beautiful park!
    To be honest was the first time I heard about a desert(ish) landscape in Canada.
    The yurt looks very cosy, amazed by all the facilities 🙂
    Robson V Cadore recently posted…How to Plan a Trip to Komodo Island: Dragons, Diving & TrekkingMy Profile

  • Megan Jerrard
    Twitter:
    Posted at 05:58h, 18 September Reply

    Spruce Woods Provincial Park looks stunning – what an amazing place to explore. I would LOVE to stay in a yurt – I’ve noticed a few similar accommodations in Australia popping up on glamping sites – such a unique way to stay!

  • Christina
    Posted at 07:00h, 18 September Reply

    Staying in a yurt looks like the perfect way to camp without the hassle of pitching a tent! I’d love to give it a go. And Spruce Woods Provincial Park might be one of the lesser-known parks in Canada but it looks beautiful. Love the photos too guys.
    Christina recently posted…Snow in Japan | 10 Hakuba Winter Holiday HotelsMy Profile

  • Vanessa
    Twitter:
    Posted at 07:14h, 18 September Reply

    Oh my goodness that yurt is adorable. I love that it has electricity as well and, if a camper was so unfortunate to encounter rain, it would be the perfect spot to hide out with some board games while waiting for the storm to pass.

    I grew up by the ocean in Nova Scotia and I remember the sand dunes as being absolutely endless but now returning as an adult I’m sad to see they are almost entirely covered by vegetation – unfortunately, it’s just generic ol’ beach grass. Nature really will take over a beach if left unchecked

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 01:02h, 21 September Reply

      I loved that it had electricity too–such a cute spot and so convenient and easy! That’s too bad about the sand dunes by where you grew up. It’s always hard to see changes like that! I bet it was gorgeous with all the sand dunes back in the day!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…Mountain Biking at Detroit MountainMy Profile

  • Carol Perehudoff
    Twitter:
    Posted at 13:32h, 18 September Reply

    I grew up in Saskatchewan, which is right beside Manitoba and I haven’t explored the province nearly at all – except for Winnipeg and Churchill, where swimming with belugas was an unforgettable wilderness experience. I’d love to visit Spruce Woods, the idea of the spirit sands is so irresistible.

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 00:41h, 21 September Reply

      We’d love to go to Churchill next–it looks like such an amazing area! Saskatchewan would be fun to check out too–I don’t believe we’ve ever spent any time there, but I’ve heard great things! Spruce Woods was a cool spot if you ever have a chance to visit!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…Mountain Biking at Detroit MountainMy Profile

  • Carol Colborn
    Twitter:
    Posted at 18:11h, 18 September Reply

    Wow, first time for me to see the inside of a yurt. That’s a way of glamping we haven’t tried! Thanks for giving us a look at this part of Manitoba!

  • Carla Abanes
    Posted at 18:48h, 18 September Reply

    Wow! loved your photos and your shirt! This is the kind of outdoors I can live in forever! Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience.

  • Vicky and Buddy
    Twitter:
    Posted at 19:29h, 19 September Reply

    I’ve never stayed in a yurt, it looks like a cool way to camp! It’s too bad the sand dunes are disappearing, but I’m glad you were able to explore it. The scenery and your photos are amazing. 🙂

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 00:18h, 21 September Reply

      Thanks! It was a really cool experience–we loved the yurt and the sand dunes. I agree–it’s too bad they are disappearing because it’s a really cool landscape and ecosystem!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…Mountain Biking at Detroit MountainMy Profile

  • Agness of aTukTuk
    Twitter:
    Posted at 10:45h, 27 June Reply

    This park is breathtaking and very suitable for camping, Jenna!
    Agness of aTukTuk recently posted…5 Tips on Blending in with Asian Culture whilst TravelingMy Profile

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