Last fall, I was able to convince my family to go for a family hike at the Brokenhead Wetland Interpretive Trail. With spring upon us, I thought it would be a great time to share about this unique Manitoba destination. One of the silver linings of the pandemic has been that it’s easier to convince my school-age kids to humour me with outdoor excursions. And - they have learned that I’ll be in a far better mood for it, so it’s worth it for everyone.
This trail was created in 2015 by Debwendon Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of this ecological reserve. It is a wonderful addition to the “East Beaches” experience and totally worth the drive from Winnipeg. In addition to being an excellent destination for the public to explore, the trail is unique in that it allows Indigenous Elders to pass on traditional knowledge of the wetlands to their children and grandchildren, in a safe environment.
Although we drive by the trailhead all the time on the way to Victoria Beach, we’ve only stopped twice, as no dogs are allowed on the trail (we almost always have our doggie Lucy with us). I’ve absolutely loved it both times.
This trail passes through a very unique ecosystem called a “moraine”. It is created from mineral rich waters seeping down from Gull Lake of Lake Winnipeg and allows unusual plants to grow. Highlights include rare native orchids and carnivorous (yes, so cool!) plants. There is wonderful interpretive signage talking about Indigenous teachings and the plant life.
The trail is ideal for all ages and especially young families as the entire thing is completely accessible with a boardwalk or gravel trail. This means any stroller or wagon could handle it, as long as there is no snow. There are cedar forest sections as well as more open sections in the fen, which helps move young kids forward to discover more. It’s an “out and back” route so if you sense tired legs coming on, you can turn back before the end. There are also lots of benches for snacks and breaks.
If you try this trail, please tag @fittogetherwpg and share your outdoor enthusiasm with us!
Tips for Brokenhead Interpretive Trail
- Trail is out and back, and only 2.7 km.
- This trail is 100% accessible and stroller/wagon friendly in spring, summer and fall when there is no snow. The trail is a flat board walk. In winter, snow and ice may build up on the boardwalks.
- The trail is officially open May - October 31. Off season, you may park outside the gates and still use the trail at your own risk. They do not recommend parking on the highway for safety reasons.
- Modern washrooms are not available but there is an outhouse available May - October. Bring your own TP just in case. Wavers Gas Station is a few minutes away near the South Beach Casino if you need a pit stop.
- Snacks, always bring snacks.
- No dogs are allowed in any season.
- Learn more about the history of the trail here: https://www.debwendon.org/wordpress/history-of-the-trail/