Saying farewell to summer and hello to fall includes the changing landscape of southeastern Manitoba.
The temperatures fall, animals prepare for winter, the days get shorter and the leaves change colour. This colourful part of fall never seems to last long and one way to appreciate it is to get out for a drive or a walk/hike and enjoy the colours while they are here.
Jenny Dupas with Eastman Tourism suggests visiting a section of the Crow Wing Trail, which is a 193 km trail that connects multiple communities.
"If you want to do a small portion of that, you can pop into the trail at a place like St. Pierre-Jolys at the museum and do a little bit of a loop," Dupas says. "It’s a pretty special trail because it is a historic trail that the Métis used to transport goods. All those communities along the way have lots of really neat things to offer.”
Monique Chenier from Sunrise Corner Tourism shared a few spots to visit to enjoy the colours of fall in the corner of the province.
She recommends driving to the south end of Highway 12, saying it’s an easy drive from Steinbach. Head to Vassar, down to Middlebro and out to Buffalo Point.
“There are lots of tamarack trees," Chenier says. "Those oddball deciduous conifers that are an evergreen in the summer, they turn bright, bright yellow and lose their needles in the fall.”
The area also has many stands of trembling aspen that Chenier describes as neon yellow in colour.
A good place to stop on Highway 12 is at Butcher Hill (east of Piney just before the Vassar West Access turn-off).
“It's the top of the hill and there are exceptional views across the Sandilands Provincial Forest,” says Chenier.
The area is full of pine trees but it’s interspersed with trembling aspen.
“You can see for miles," she explains the scenery. "It’s a great photo op to get to the top of the hill. And there’s lots of pathways there, different logging trails and ATV trails that are great for hiking.”
If you’re wanting to get closer to the colours, Chenier recommends taking a walk in the R.M. of Stuartburn. Visit the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve and the Agassiz Trail (accessible of PR201 and Road 9) .
“The last wildflowers of the season are abundant," says Chenier. "There’s so many purple asters and lots of goldenrod which is bright yellow, so a great complimentary colour combination which makes for great photos.”
Chenier also mentions that right now Manitoba’s provincial grass is blooming. Big Bluestem is purple in colour and can grow to 8 feet tall. She also recommends a walk at Gardenton Park amongst the black ash trees which are some of the first trees to turn yellow.
Shayne Thiessen spends a great deal of time exploring the Southeast and shares his experiences on his blog. He has some suggestions on places to go for a nice fall walk/hike.
“If you want to see fall colours, you’re best off gaining a bit of elevation so you can see quite a bit of distance.” Thiessen suggests hiking the Top of the World trail that can be found at Falcon Lake. “It takes you up onto the cliffs, and you can look out and see the lake, see the trees, you can see all the colours.”
Thiessen also recommends the trails in Birds Hill Park, specifically Prairie Winds Trail. “You start by going through the forest and you come out to an area where it’s prairies and the background is absolutely stunning trees. And it’s cool because the prairie portion is all kinds of golden colours and then you have the yellow and orange trees in the background.”
If you want to enjoy the colours from the comfort of your car, here are a few excursions you could take.
- Drive through Birds Hill Park
- South of Steinbach on Highway 12 and turn east on Road 32N to PR216 and drive south to Rosa and then go north along Highway 59 up to St. Pierre.
- Drive from Richer to La Broquerie and head through Sandilands Provincial Park to Woodridge.