Winter activities

Riding Mountain National Park

Riding Mountain National Park is open year-round and winter is an excellent time to explore the park without the crowds. Explore 3000 square kilometers of snow-covered wilderness. Cruise down a cross-country ski trail, float across the snow on a pair of snowshoes, relax by the campfire with friends and family, or listen to the call of the wolves in the distance. The winter park awaits and warmly welcomes you!

Snowmobiling in Riding Mountain National Park is restricted to the surface of Clear Lake for the purpose of ice-fishing only and along the park boundary where trails are maintained in partnership with Snoman.

Cross country skiing

Don't let the chill of winter keep you cooped up indoors. Cross-country skiing is a great way to experience Riding Mountain National Park! Riding Mountain offers up a great mix of cross-country ski trails with something for everyone. Relax with the whole family and take in the vistas on a casual ski around one of our easy campground trails or get your heart pumping on the Compound Ski Trail. Winter trail guide 

 
Snowshoeing

Create your own trail anywhere, anytime, and explore special nooks in the park. There are also designated multi-use trails from which to choose. Please show courtesy to skiers by not snowshoeing on groomed cross-country ski tracks. Trail Conditions 

 
Wildlife Viewing and Photography

Winter is a great time of year to view wildlife. For your own safety, please keep your distance and do not feed any wild animals, large or small. Elk, white-tailed deer and red fox are some of the large mammals you may see. Watch for lynx, snowshoe hare or weasel. You may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a wolf.

Being a nature detective and following wildlife tracks in the snow can be just as exciting as seeing the animals themselves. The winter snow records the comings and goings of animals. Follow the tracks and snow holes of a vole. See if you can find the place it popped out of the snow and ran across the surface again.

Over 60 species of birds make Riding Mountain National Park their winter home. It's easier to identify birds in winter when there are no leaves on the trees. Watch for Black-capped Chickadees and evening grosbeak.

Wildlife watching opportunities:

  • Check the roadsides for elk, deer, wolf and fox tracks.
  • Scan the frozen lakes for wolves
  • Squirrels scamper up and down tree trunks during warm afternoons in late winter and snack on their winter caches of seeds

More information

 
Scenic Driving

Winter is a great time for sightseeing! Spend a few hours enjoying the scenery and wildlife on Highway 10 or Highway 19. This is a great way to view and photograph wildlife that is often easy to spot after the trees have lost their leaves. If you don't see any wildlife, you're still likely to see the tracks they have left in the snow.

 
Picnicking

Why does food seem to taste better after spending some time outside? Pack a picnic and blankets then find your favourite spot in the park to sip tea from your thermos. Keep your camera handy! While you munch on a sandwich, squirrels, foxes and deer might wander by for a closer look. Help ensure animals stay wild. Take a photo for a memory and take all of your leftover food home again. Animals need to eat a natural diet and rely on their hunting and foraging skills long after you've gone home.

Need somewhere to warm up? Light a fire and make a bite to eat at the warming shelter in Wasagaming, behind the Visitor Centre. Wood is supplied. Heated washrooms with running water are available at the Visitor Centre Parking Lot 24 hours a day, year-round.

Why not get out of town and enjoy the quiet and solitude of the backcountry? Take your lunch to Moon Lake. The parking lot is ploughed and outdoor pit privies are maintained.

 
Skating

Take advantage of Wasagaming’s outdoor skating rink! Located at the west end of Heritage Lane, the outdoor skating rink is open around the clock, seven days a week for public use. It's open between mid-December and mid-March (weather dependent). A warm up area and washroom are available.

 
Winter Camping

Embrace Winter as your new Summer by experiencing fun, cozy, and romantic camping adventures in RMNP. Whether you prefer the challenge of Winter tent camping or snuggling up by a woodstove in one of our Winter oTENTiks, we have exactly what you seek.

Winter oTENTiks

Wasagaming Campground offers 6 oTENTiks that are available year-round. These oTENTiks are equipped with electric light and heating, as well as a woodstove for a truly cozy experience. Step out your door and access a network of cross-country ski and snowshoe trails, or head down to nearby Wasagaming for winter rentals, ice skating and delicious hot chocolate. Parks Canada Reservations.

Amenities include: 

  • Heated washroom with warm water showers
  • Heated Kitchen Shelter with electricity
  • Close access to winter trail systems
  • Close access to Wasagaming
  • Firewood provided

Moon Lake has 3 oTENTiks available year-round. Located 30 minutes North of Wasagaming, Moon Lake is a beautiful spot to immerse yourself in nature. Moon Lake oTENTiks provide a more rustic experience – Your oTENTik comes equipped with a woodstove and lanterns to meet your heating and lighting needs. Parks Canada Reservations.

Frontcountry Camping

Wasagaming campground offers a selection of unserviced campsites year-round for your winter camping pleasure. Campers are welcome to make use of the heated four-season kitchen shelter that is located steps away for the campsites. Parks Canada Reservations.

Amenities include:

  • Heated washroom with warm water showers
  • Heated Kitchen Shelter with electricity
  • Close access to winter trail systems
  • Close access to Wasagaming
  • Firewood provided

Moon Lake campground may be accessed year-round for unserviced camping. Winter camping amenities include a pit privy toilet and access to firewood. Register your campsite upon arrival at the Moon Lake campground self-register station.

Backcountry Camping

For those looking for a wilder camping experience, all Riding Mountain backcountry campsites remain open year-round. Backcountry campsites are unserviced, and require the camper to walk, ski or snowshoe in from the assigned trailhead parking area. You must reserve your campsite online prior to your arrival.

More information about Camping

 
Ice Fishing

If you need to scratch that fishing itch, ice fishing season on Clear Lake is open until March 31, 2024. Ice shacks are permitted. Snowmobiling in Riding Mountain National Park is restricted to the surface of Clear Lake for the purpose of ice-fishing only and along the park boundary where trails are maintained in partnership with Snoman. www.snoman.mb.ca

You are responsible for your own safety, so use caution and common sense, and have a safe and enjoyable outing.

  • Always tell someone where you will be fishing and when you plan to return
  • Wear appropriate winter clothes in layers to stay warm
  • Take safety equipment such as flares, throw rope, ice picks, life jackets and cell phone
  • Be extra careful in checking the ice depth during early winter and early spring. Ice is also thinner in areas where there is a current
  • You must have a valid Riding Mountain National Park fishing permit. You can buy one at :

More information

 
Kite Skiing/Boarding

Kiteskiers and kiteboarders have discovered the park in recent years. Clear Lake is wide open and often gets a fierce west wind. Bring your gear and head out for an exhilarating day!

 
Weather and Road Conditions

It's even more important to be aware of the weather forecast in winter, as temperatures can be extremely cold. Check weather conditions. Before you drive to the park, check the highway conditions at: Manitoba Highway Conditions.

Cameras Hwy 10 - Moon Lake

All major roads in the park are plowed.

 
Winter Safety

You are responsible for your own safety, so use caution and enjoy your outing.

  • Water currents can cause thin ice at creek and river crossings. Ice thickness can vary on the lakes.
  • Watch for deadfall. Use caution on boardwalks and stairs.
  • Trails are not patrolled. Please ensure you are self-reliant.
  • Do not rely on your cell/satellite phone to get you out of trouble. Reception outside Wasagaming townsite is not reliable. 
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.

More information

 
Safety and Wildlife

Please do not feed, disturb or otherwise harass wildlife, big or small. Wildlife have a greater chance of survival and are healthier when they feed on natural food. Pack out all food scraps from your backcountry lunch. Keep your distance from wildlife. Stay at least three bus lengths (30 meters/100 ft) away from deer, elk, moose and bison for your safety and theirs.

If you are planning to take your dog out on the trail, you must keep it on a leash at all times.

More information

 
Safety and Trip Preparation
  1. Obtain trail brochures and maps on-line or at the Visitor Centre and ask Parks Canada staff for advice.
  2. Check the weather and road conditions.
  3. Tell someone where you plan to travel and when you expect to return.
  4. Always plan for the unexpected by taking a first aid kit, extra warm clothing, and enough food and water to spend 48 hours in the wilderness.
  5. Take a map and a compass and know how to use them. A GPS is a great tool but can be unreliable in thick forest and during poor weather.
  6. Make sure your vehicle has enough gas as there are no gas stations in the park in winter.
  7. Always pack emergency equipment in your vehicle including a flashlight, extra blankets, gas-line anti-freeze and jumper cables.
  8. Travel with others when possible.
 
Winter Services

Accommodations and Dining

Accommodations ranging from hotel lodging to rental cabins and suites, and dining are available: https://discoverclearlake.com/

Gas Station

During the winter months, the nearest gas station is Fas Gas, located in Onanole.