Manitoba has been making a lot of noise lately, and it’s not just the echoes of “Braaaps!” coming from its snowmobile trails. Manitoba has claimed SnoRiders’ SledTown ShowDown championships for two years in a row, thanks to Lac du Bonnet and Flin Flon. And it’s not like those are the only two destinations worth getting excited about. Manitoba has an exceptional amount of sled-worthy trails, but for the sake of time, we’ve condensed the best of the best to 10 locations.
Here’s a list of the top 10 best places to go snowmobiling in Manitoba:
Lac du Bonnet has over 325 kilometers of one-way trails and 600 kilometers of two-way trails that are groomed weekly. Amenities are plentiful in and around the area. Lac du Bonnet and surrounding towns have easy access to the local gas bars, restaurants and lodging because most of them are located right on the trails. With its variety of terrain and family-friendly routes, Lac du Bonnet attracts snowmobilers across Canada—over 10,000 snowmobiles take to the trails each season. Sledders congregate in Lac du Bonnet for its many kilometres of trail networks available and the exceptional terrain in this tranquil area. No wonder it was voted SnoRiders' 2021 SledTown ShowDown champion!
Flin Flon is more than a cool name and backstory, although Flin Flon—aka Josiah Flintabbatey Flonatin—certainly has that going in its favour. In order to attract tourists (sledders or otherwise), a community needs to be accessible. When it comes to snowmobile trails, Flin Flon has an excellent infrastructure in place. Sledders are allowed to drive snowmobiles on certain community streets, so trail access is possible throughout the city. If you are staying at any of the local accommodations, you can access the trails.
Flin Flon straddles the Saskatchewan/Manitoba border and the Flin Flon Border Explorers Snowmobile Club maintains a trail system that winds its way through Flin Flon and Cranberry Portage in Manitoba, as well as Creighton and the Denare Beach region of Saskatchewan. These four communities have designated routes along roadways that allow snowmobilers to get around conveniently. It’s a vacationer’s paradise that provides ample recreational opportunities via 220 kilometres of groomed snowmobile trails.
Flin Flon is beloved by all, as proven when the city was voted SnoRiders’ 2020 SledTown ShowDown champions.
With an abundance of lakes, the area around The Pas, Manitoba, is a sledder’s playground. Both visitors and locals alike enjoy the bush trails, wide open areas and scenic lake and river views. Staging is out of The Pas, which links into 350 kilometres of groomed trail. There are also seven well-maintained warm-up cabins scattered along the trails. A snowmobiler can easily link into the networks of surrounding clubs, providing unlimited riding.
Swan Valley will forever be known as the inaugural SledTown ShowDown champions. Back in 2015, Swan Valley took home SnoRiders’ first-ever SledTown ShowDown trophy. That prestigious honour has gone a long way to enticing prairie sledders to the area, and for good reason. With a population of about 4,000, Swan River is by no stretch a booming metropolis but it acts as a service centre for all of the rural communities that exist throughout the Swan Valley. It also serves as one big staging area for snowmobilers.
As a club, the Swan Valley Snowmobile Association (SVSA) takes a great deal of pride in the 375 kilometres of trails that it grooms around Swan River in western Manitoba. Trails are marked every tenth of a kilometre and cover flat lands, rolling hills and bush trails. The entire network is simple to navigate and fun to explore.
If you’re cruising through the 204 (Whiteshell area code), take a trip ’round the 773. Whiteshell, Manitoba, has an extensive array of paths to ride, including Trail 773 (known by the locals as the Beauchemin Loop). The loop is approximately 85 kilometres; it takes you across numerous lakes, into some backcountry, and up and over the Canadian Shield.
You can cook up some food at the Beauchemin Lake warm-up shelter, or you could hold off and keep going along 773 until you end up at the Whiteshell Snowmobile Club’s warm-up shelter at Swamp Lake. If you get back on track on Trail 66, you’ll get a great view of Jessica Lake. Across from Jessica Lake you’ll do some bush riding down to Red Rock Lake, which includes another warm-up shelter. From there it’s a leisurely ride to Brereton Lake Resort.
In other words, Whiteshell Provincial Park has plenty of options to choose from. Take your pick.
Snowmobilers wanting a quick retreat from city life and a cellphone detox have to check out Powerview-Pine Falls this winter. Manitoba’s top SledTown for 2018 offers a warm welcome and easy access to over 156 kilometres of remote, forest riding. The Maskwa Snowmobile Club see to it that their trails are frequently groomed and well-marked.
Powerview-Pine Falls is a hub for riders in the eastern region, and it serves as the gateway to at least six other clubs’ trail systems. Right from their hotel, snowmobilers in Powerview-Pine Falls can follow velvety smooth trails deep into Manitoba’s remote woodlands.
Powerview/Pine Falls offers bush riding, river riding and beautiful scenic areas. Venturing this deep into the woods, riders can encounter a variety of wildlife, including moose, deer, foxes, coyotes, wolves, lynx and bobcat.
From ice racing to trail riding, Beausejour has it all for snowmobiling and boasts a rich snowmobiling history. First, there’s the Canadian Power Toboggan Championships. Started in 1962, these ice oval races attracts hundreds of snowmobilers from Canada and the U.S. Then there are the trails. Beausejour is home to over 230 kilometres of snowmobile trails, all groomed by the Brokenhead Trail Blazers Power Toboggan Club. The town of Beausejour is also snowmobile-friendly, with a bylaw that permits snowmobiling on designated routes. With so much to offer snowmobilers, it’s no wonder Beausejour was voted the Top SledTown in Manitoba for 2017.
The snowmobiling trails around Thompson, Manitoba, are divine and expertly groomed regularly by the Thompson Trailbreakers Snowmobile Club. The pleasant terrain here makes for a sledder's playground when the cold season hits, so plan your next snowmobiling vacation around this fun-loving community.
When it comes to the best place to sled in Gimli, Rosenberg and the Grand Beach area are popular because of their scenic beauty with a variety of well-maintained trails. Another favourite ride is St. Laurent, a bush ride and best described as a dragon’s trail—sharp turns and curves keep you on your toes.
If you yearn for adventure, intrigue and fun, head to the home of the Viking. Even Gandalf the Grey couldn’t stay away from Gimli on a bright winter’s day.
Duck Mountain Provincial Park’s trails are well-groomed and provide easy riding with plenty of signage. Stop at the shelter to wrap up your trip or just for a quick warm-up before you explore the 70 kilometres of trail networks that meander through the park. Explore the Madge Lake area of the park for top accommodations, snowmobile-friendly businesses and fantastic trails to test your riding ability.
If you want to take a longer journey, you can ride out to Ketchamonia Shelter. It can be found by following the park trails to the far north end. The terrain along the way is scenic, groomed and appealing to intermediate riders.