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