A Traveler’s Guide to Birds Hill Provincial Park in Winnipeg

A Traveler’s Guide to Birds Hill Provincial Park in Winnipeg

Imagine the leisurely drive through the picturesque countryside, the rhythmic hum of your favorite tunes setting the mood as you leave the city behind — that’s the prelude to a day of serenity awaiting you at Birds Hill Provincial Park. 

It’s not just a park; it’s a canvas painted with lush greens, sparkling lakes, and a sense of calm that instantly puts you at ease.

If you’re yearning for a solo retreat, planning a romantic escapade, or craving a wholesome family day out, Birds Hill has something for everyone. 

Let’s explore together, and perhaps we’ll find that this natural oasis is the ideal remedy for the soul yearning to break free from the routine and embrace the tranquility that only nature can provide.

About Birds Hill Provincial Park

About Birds Hill Provincial Park

Website: https://gov.mb.ca/sd/parks/park-maps-and-locations/central/birds.html 

Address: Oakbank, MB R0E 0K0, Canada

Contact number: 204 654 6730

Operating hours: Monday to Sunday: 7 am to 11 pm 

Nestled 24 kilometers north of Winnipeg along Highway 59, Birds Hill Provincial Park unfolds as a serene, 35-square-kilometer haven. 

Its landscape is a testament to the ancient glaciers that once sculpted its hills and ridges, now adorned with oak and aspen forests, native prairie wildflowers, and a glistening lake.

Throughout the year, this park hosts a spectrum of recreational activities and sporting events, creating a vibrant tapestry of experiences. 

From trail riding to interpretive programs, and horse shows to cycling races, Birds Hill invites outdoor enthusiasts to engage with its diverse offerings. 

Notably, July sees the park transform into a vibrant venue for the Winnipeg Folk Festival, a celebrated event in the realm of North American folk music.

Nurtured in the Boreal Plains ecozone, the park showcases its rolling hills and a rich tapestry of flora, including the graceful presence of orchids. Wildlife, ranging from deer to moose and boasting over 200 bird species, further enriches the park’s biodiversity.

Best Time to Travel Birds Hill Provincial Park

The best time to visit Birds Hill Provincial Park is during the summer months, from June to August. The weather is warm and sunny, with average temperatures in the mid-20s Celsius (°C). 

This is the ideal time for hiking, biking, swimming, and other outdoor activities.

What to Do at Birds Hill Provincial Park

Birds Hill Provincial Park offers a picturesque escape into nature, boasting a diverse range of activities that cater to outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. 

Whether you’re seeking a tranquil retreat or an action-packed adventure, this provincial park has something for everyone. 

Here’s a guide to some of the delightful activities you can indulge in during your visit to this natural haven.

1. Hiking

Hiking

You can experience the natural beauty of Birds Hill Provincial Park through a variety of scenic trails, perfect for both cycling and hiking enthusiasts. 

Ranging from a leisurely 1 km to a more challenging 16 km, these trails offer a diverse outdoor experience for visitors.

If you’re in the mood for a longer expedition, consider the 9.4-kilometer Trans Canada Trail, which provides an extended journey through the park’s landscapes. 

Pro Tip:

As you explore, ensure you come prepared with the essentials: comfortable walking shoes, a hat to shield you from the sun, sunscreen to protect your skin, and plenty of drinking water to stay refreshed throughout your outdoor adventure.

2. Bird Watching 

Bird Watching

The park holds immense appeal for birdwatching enthusiasts, boasting sightings of over 200 bird species. Among the diverse avian residents, one can spot the elegant Horned Lark, the lively Indigo Bunting, and the subtly hued Clay-colored Sparrow. 

As autumn descends, the park becomes a haven for numerous fall birds, with Juncos and warblers adding to the tapestry of colors and melodies. 

It’s a captivating experience, where each visit unfolds a unique chapter in the avian narrative of this natural sanctuary.

Pro Tip:

To enhance your birdwatching experience, consider visiting the park during the early morning or late afternoon, when birds are most active. 

Equipping yourself with a pair of binoculars and a field guide can be invaluable, aiding you in identifying the diverse bird species you may encounter. 

As you explore, maintain a patient and quiet demeanor, as birds are easily disturbed. This approach not only respects their natural behavior but also increases the likelihood of observing their fascinating habits in a tranquil setting.

3. Wildlife Viewing 

Wildlife Viewing

Bird’s Hill Park boasts a rich array of plant communities, creating diverse habitats for mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. 

As you explore, keep an eye out for the vibrant wildlife that calls this area home, from frogs and toads to garter snakes and hawks. The lively presence of red squirrels adds a touch of charm to the park’s natural tapestry.

Notably, white-tailed deer, though elusive, find sanctuary within the park’s expanse. If you’re fortunate, you might catch a glimpse of these graceful creatures, especially during the tranquil moments of dawn and dusk. 

Pro Tip:

For a deeper understanding of the habitat supporting these animals, consider following the Prairie Winds Self-Guiding Trail, where you’ll find valuable insights into the intricate web of life thriving in this picturesque setting.

4. Camping 

Camping

The campgrounds are conveniently situated along the scenic South Drive, offering a delightful setting for camping enthusiasts. With a variety of camping options, the park caters to different preferences.

Visitors can choose from a total of 257 unserviced sites, providing a more rustic camping experience in harmony with nature. 

For those seeking a bit more comfort, there are 174 electrically serviced sites available, including five thoughtfully designed disabled-accessible sites.

Additionally, the park offers 45 fully serviced sites, providing campers with the convenience of water, electricity, and sewer hookups. 

For those who generously volunteer as Campground Hosts, there are two designated, fully serviced sites to enhance their camping experience.

Pro Tip:

Selecting the perfect campsite is a breeze at Birds Hill Campground, where a range of options awaits you.

You can take your pick from basic sites with no hookups, electrical sites featuring electrical hookups, or indulge in the convenience of full-service sites equipped with electricity, water, and sewer hookups. 

The choice is yours for a seamless camping experience.

Sights to See in Birds Hill Provincial Park

This expansive park, covering over 33 square kilometers, is not only a haven for wildlife but also a treasure trove of scenic beauty and recreational opportunities. 

As you explore the diverse landscapes, from lush forests to sprawling meadows, you’ll encounter a plethora of sights that showcase the park’s rich biodiversity and offer visitors an immersive experience in the heart of nature. 

Let’s delve into the captivating sights that make Birds Hill Provincial Park a must-visit destination for those seeking solace in the great outdoors.

1. Pope’s Hill 

Pope’s Hill

Address: Unnamed Road, West Pine Ridge, MB, Canada 

Pope’s Hill holds special significance in Birds Hill Provincial Park, named in honor of Pope John Paul II’s visit in 1984. During his time there, he orchestrated a memorable multicultural celebration of faith at this picturesque location. 

Today, the hill remains a cherished site, drawing visitors for various activities.

In winter, Pope’s Hill transforms into a favorite spot for tobogganing, offering a thrilling experience amidst the snow-covered landscape. 

Beyond its seasonal allure, the hill boasts a tranquil atmosphere and a breathtaking view of the sunset, making it a year-round destination.

For those seeking a leisurely stroll amidst nature, the trail leading to Pope’s Hill is a 1.0-kilometer loop, lightly trafficked, and suitable for all skill levels. 

As you traverse the path, you’ll be treated to enchanting prairie views that unfold throughout the trail. The journey is adorned with charming wooden bridges, adding a touch of rustic beauty to the surroundings.

2. Birds Hill Provincial Park Group Use Area 2 

Birds Hill Provincial Park Group Use Area 2

Address: West Pine Ridge, MB R0E 1J0, Canada

Website: https://prspub.gov.mb.ca/ 

Group Use Area 2 offers a serene escape for those seeking a natural retreat. 

This particular section, situated near Sapton Road, stands out as an unserviced area that caters to groups, but it’s not an open space; reservations are a prerequisite for utilization.

Woven into the landscape are notable horse trails, adding an extra layer of charm and recreational opportunities. The Bridle Path and Carriage Way, two well-marked routes, meander through the vicinity, providing scenic views and a touch of rustic ambiance.

For those with an equestrian inclination, it’s essential to note that riding is restricted to designated areas, specifically alongside road shoulders. 

This measure ensures the harmonious coexistence of recreational activities and preserves the natural beauty of the surroundings.

3. Cedar Bog Self-Guiding Trail 

Cedar Bog Self-Guiding Trail

Address: Birds Hill Rd, West Pine Ridge, MB R0E 1J0, Canada

Operating hours: Open 24 hours 

The Cedar Bog Self-Guiding Trail invites nature enthusiasts on a captivating 2.3-mile journey. This loop trail gracefully meanders through diverse terrain, offering a blend of grasslands, clusters of aspen and oak trees, and a striking stand of eastern white cedar.

Embarking from a relatively elevated starting point, the trail introduces hikers to the subtle charm of an aspen forest. 

The path gracefully descends, revealing a gradual drop of approximately 25 meters, leading adventurers to a distinctively cool and damp cedar bog. 

This unique ecosystem adds an enchanting dimension to the trail, creating a serene environment that stands in stark contrast to the surrounding landscape.

Catering to all skill levels, the Cedar Bog Trail provides an easy-going and enjoyable experience for both seasoned hikers and those new to the trails. 

Its popularity extends beyond hiking, drawing in birding enthusiasts who find solace in the variety of avian life that graces the area. The trail also welcomes runners, creating a dynamic space where nature and physical activity intertwine seamlessly.

4. Kudlowich Homestead 

Kudlowich Homestead

Address: West Pine Ridge, MB R0E 1J3, Canada  

Contact number: 204 654 6739

The Kudlowich Homestead, erected in 1936 by Frank and Rose Kudlowich, is a historical site in Birds Hill Provincial Park. Constructed with walls of logs and diagonally lathed shrub branches supporting plaster, the homestead exudes rustic charm.

As the last remaining Pine Ridge home in the park, the Kudlowich Homestead is a vital interpretive feature, preserving the legacy of the former Pine Ridge community within the rich history of Birds Hill Provincial Park.

5. Chickadee Trailhead 

Chickadee Trailhead

Address: West Pine Ridge, MB R0E 1J3, Canada

The Chickadee Trailhead offers a gateway to outdoor enthusiasts seeking a serene escape. This trailhead is renowned for its versatility, attracting hikers, bird watchers, and cross-country skiers alike.

At the heart of this natural haven is the Chickadee Trail, a well-defined 2.5-mile loop that meanders through the picturesque landscape. 

With its clear markings and diligent maintenance, the trail ensures a pleasant journey for individuals of all skill levels. On average, it takes about 52 minutes to complete, making it a manageable yet rewarding adventure.

A hallmark of the Chickadee Trail is its accessibility year-round. From the frosty beauty of January to the vibrant hues of October, each season offers a unique and captivating experience. 

The area comes alive with the melodious chirping of birds, making it a birding hotspot. The trail is also a favorite spot for cross-country skiing enthusiasts during the winter months.

As you explore, you’re likely to share the path with fellow nature enthusiasts, creating a sense of community in this outdoor oasis. It’s not just a trail; it’s a shared experience that adds to the charm of the Chickadee Trailhead.

For those accompanied by furry friends, dogs are more than welcome but must be kept on a leash. 

Where to Stay Near Birds Hill Provincial Park

As you plan your visit to this picturesque destination, finding the perfect accommodation is essential to completing your experience. 

Fortunately, there are several charming hotels and lodges in close proximity to Birds Hill Provincial Park, offering not only comfort and convenience but also a seamless blend of relaxation and wilderness immersion. 

1. Super 8 by Wyndham Brandon MB 

Website: https://www.wyndhamhotels.com/super-8/brandon-manitoba/

Address: 1570 Highland Ave, Brandon, MB R7C 1A7, Canada

Contact number: 204 729 8024 

Operating hours: Check-in time: 3 pm; Check-out time: 11 am 

Nestled conveniently adjacent to the Trans-Canada Highway, Super 8 by Wyndham Brandon, MB, presents a welcoming retreat with 79 non-smoking guest rooms and suites. 

Just minutes away from the heart of Brandon, the hotel offers a strategic location, providing easy access to shopping centers, boutiques, and diverse dining options.

As a guest, you can enjoy a host of amenities designed to enhance your stay. You wake up to a delightful start with its complimentary breakfast, setting the tone for your day. 

You can stay connected seamlessly with its free Wi-Fi and take advantage of the exclusive benefits of Wyndham Rewards.

Parking is a breeze at this hotel, with free and ample space available for both standard and large vehicles. 

Its commitment to your comfort extends to 24-hour front desk service, ensuring your needs are met around the clock. For those on the go, guest laundry facilities are at your disposal.

You can also indulge in relaxation at its heated indoor pool or break a sweat in its well-equipped gym. Plus, you can unwind on the outdoor patio, a perfect spot to enjoy the fresh air.

2. Victoria Inn Hotel & Convention Center 

Website: http://brandon.vicinn.com/ 

Address: 3550 Victoria Ave, Brandon, MB R7B 2R4, Canada

Contact number: 204 725 1532 

Operating hours: Check-in time: 3 pm; Check-out time: 11 am

Located conveniently next to the James A. Richardson International Airport and Polo Park Shopping District, the Victoria Inn Hotel & Convention Centre offers a seamless blend of comfort and convenience. 

Boasting 260 well-appointed guest rooms, the hotel provides a welcoming retreat for both business and leisure travelers.

Upon entering the hotel, guests are greeted by a vibrant atmosphere that extends to the themed indoor pool, which features exhilarating water slides. 

The Dino Beach Water Park, an enticing highlight, invites guests to indulge in aquatic fun with its array of slides. This recreational haven perfectly complements the hotel’s commitment to providing an enjoyable stay.

For those looking to stay active, the hotel offers a well-equipped gym, ensuring that fitness enthusiasts can maintain their routines while on the go. 

In addition, a free 24-hour business center caters to the needs of business travelers, facilitating productivity at any hour.

Each of the air-conditioned guest rooms exudes comfort and functionality, featuring a 37″ LCD digital TV, a coffee maker for a refreshing start to the day, a convenient work desk, and ironing facilities to keep guests looking sharp.

Chicago Joe’s Restaurant and Sports Bar, the hotel’s onsite dining establishment, is a culinary delight open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Guests can savor a variety of delectable dishes in a welcoming ambiance.

Adding to the convenience, the hotel provides a 24-hour complimentary shuttle service to and from Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport, located a mere 500 meters away. 

This thoughtful service ensures a hassle-free transition for arriving and departing guests.

The hotel’s versatile meeting rooms can accommodate up to 40 guests, providing a suitable venue for both corporate events and social gatherings.

3. Best Western Plus Brandon Inn 

Website: https://www.bestwestern.com/ 

Address: 205 Middleton Ave, Brandon, MB R7C 1A8, Canada

Contact number: 204 727 7997 

Operating hours: Check-in time: 4 pm; Check-out time: 11 am

The hotel, conveniently situated near the Trans-Canada Highway, offers 79 spacious guest rooms for a relaxing stay. Just minutes away from the heart of Brandon, you’ll find shopping centers, boutiques, and a variety of restaurants.

Best Western Plus Brandon Inn understands the importance of starting your day right. That’s why it offers a complimentary breakfast to kickstart your morning. 

They also know that your furry friends are part of the family, so they are delighted to offer pet-friendly rooms. The amenities also include free parking, ensuring a hassle-free experience for their guests.

For your convenience, the hotel provides 24-hour front desk service and guest laundry facilities. 

4. Motel 6 Brandon MB 

Website: https://www.motel6.com/en/home/motels.mb.brandon

Address: 815 Middleton Ave, Brandon, MB R7C 1A8, Canada

Contact number: 204 726 4000

Operating hours: Check-in time: 3 pm; Check-out time: 11 am

Motel 6 Brandon beckons as a budget-friendly haven for travelers. This welcoming motel not only offers affordability but also ensures a comfortable stay with its array of amenities.

Upon arrival, guests are greeted with the convenience of free Wi-Fi and ample parking, setting the stage for a stress-free experience. As you step into your room, discover a cozy retreat outfitted with essential features. 

A flat-screen TV invites relaxation, while a well-appointed seating area adds a touch of homeliness. For those attending to last-minute wardrobe details, ironing facilities are ready.

Moreover, Motel 6 Brandon goes beyond mere accommodation by providing a fitness center at guests’ disposal. If you’re an early riser seeking an energizing workout or a night owl looking to unwind, the fitness center accommodates varying schedules.

5. Canad Inns Brandon 

Website: https://www.canadinns.com/stay/brandon/ 

Address: 1125 18th St, Brandon, MB R7A 7C5, Canada

Contact number: 888 332 2623

Operating hours: Check-in time: 3 pm; Check-out time: 11 am

The Canad Inns Destination Centre offers a stay with a host of amenities. Boasting a themed indoor pool replete with exciting water slides, guests can unwind in style. 

Fitness enthusiasts will appreciate the well-equipped fitness center, while those with business needs can take advantage of the complimentary 24-hour business center.

With a total of 260 guest rooms, the hotel ensures a comfortable stay for all visitors. Throughout the property, guests can enjoy the convenience of free Wi-Fi. 

Each air-conditioned guest room is thoughtfully appointed with amenities such as a 37″ LCD digital TV, a coffee maker, a work desk, and ironing facilities.

For dining options, look no further than Chicago Joe’s Restaurant and Sports Bar, the hotel’s inviting eatery. Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it provides a satisfying culinary experience.

Convenience extends beyond the hotel premises with a 24-hour complimentary shuttle service to and from Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport, just 8 km away. This thoughtful service adds an extra layer of ease to travel plans.

Moreover, the hotel’s strategic location adjacent to the Keystone Center enhances its appeal. As the largest convention and sports venue in the region, it makes the Canad Inns Destination Centre an ideal choice for various occasions. 

Whether it’s meetings, conferences, agricultural fairs, tradeshows, or events, the hotel seamlessly caters to diverse needs. 

Tips When Visiting Birds Hills Provincial Park

To make the most of your time in this pristine setting, consider these essential tips that will enhance your enjoyment and ensure a seamless exploration of the park’s natural wonders.

1. Visit during the spring or fall seasons. 

The park is most crowded during the summer months, so if you’re looking for a more peaceful experience, visit in the spring or fall.

2. Bring your own food and drinks. 

There is only one restaurant in the park, and it can be crowded. There are also several picnic areas if you want to bring your own lunch.

3. Be prepared for the weather. 

The weather in Manitoba can change quickly, so be sure to dress in layers.

4. Pack insect repellent. 

The park is home to a variety of insects, so it’s a good idea to pack bug repellent, especially if you’re visiting during the summer months.

5. Leave no trace. 

Please be respectful of the park and leave no trace of your visit. This means packing out all of your trash and not disturbing the plants or animals.

6. Pack light. 

Given the extensive walking you’ll undertake, it’s crucial to travel light. Only pack the essentials for a more comfortable experience.

7. Be respectful of wildlife. 

There are many wild animals in the park, so it is important to be respectful of them. Do not approach or feed the animals.

8. Be aware of your surroundings. 

There are many hazards in the park, such as poison ivy, ticks, and mosquitoes. Be sure to wear proper clothing and insect repellent.

9. Have fun. 

Birds Hill Provincial Park is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy nature. Take your time to explore the park and all it has to offer.