A perfect family outing in The Pas

The Pas offers beautiful scenery, groomed trails and a safe ride for families.

by Karen Kornelsen

Robert Vipond's son Ryan with his wife Shirley on the trail between Wanless and The Pas. Locally called the
Robert Vipond's son Ryan with his wife Shirley on the trail, locally called the Loppit trail, between Wanless and The Pas. photo courtesy of Robert Vipond

For families who'd like to experience the beauty of northern Manitoba, The Pas offers a trail system that is perfect for young children and parents alike. Robert Vipond was born and raised in the area and lives at Rocky Lake, just north of The Pas.

“It’s been a labour of love and a work in progress for the past 20 to 30 years, developing the trail system here and everything that goes with it,” said Vipond. “But now we have an excellent trail system that certainly would appeal to families in particular. The trails are great—scenic and well-thought-out. There are also warm-up shelters strategically located throughout the trail system.”

This is especially important for young riders because of the cold temperatures in and around The Pas. However, on this trail system you’re never more than 45 minutes from a shelter. Vipond, whose kids are now all grown up, reminisces fondly about riding with the whole family.

“We rode extensively when the kids were young,” he said. “We had lots of great times and had a lot of fun riding together. Now my kids are not kids anymore, but I still ride every chance I get with my son Ryan. My daughter doesn’t ride as much anymore, but her husband rides and is involved with snowmobiling.”

Robert Vipond's wife Shirley sledding near The Pas.
Robert Vipond's wife Shirley sledding near The Pas. photo courtesy of Robert Vipond

The trail system around The Pas is noted to be safe for families. The trails are wide, flat and have great visibility. Vipond’s favourite trails for family riding would be from The Pas to Clearwater Lake and from The Pas to Wanless.

Clearwater Lake

This route is great short trip for families. You can start from anywhere in The Pas and it’s about 25 miles from there. There’s a nice new warm-up shelter as well.

“This is a great ride that is easily done in a few hours or in an afternoon,” said Vipond. “You’re riding mostly through boreal forest and then you can have a great cookout at the warm-up shelter there and head back. We’ve recycled old logging roads, so the trail is great.”

Group heading down the hill on the trail between Clearwater Park and Wanless.
The group heads down the hill on the trail between Clearwater Park and Wanless. photo courtesy of Robert Vipond

A lot of the trails in this area are old logging roads that haven’t been used in 20 to 30 years. They offer great riding and it means the club doesn’t have to cut down trees to groom trails.

Wanless

Another great ride is from The Pas to Wanless. According to Vipond, it’s a very scenic route and takes you about 100 miles from The Pas.

Shelter north of Wanless.
A snowmobilers' shelter north of Wanless. photo courtesy of Robert Vipond

“There are so many options for different trails and routes to take to Wanless,” he said. “Or you could take one route one week and then do it counter-clockwise the next week and it will look totally different. One of the trails takes you to the Pas Moraine (a prominent glacial feature). You’re up fairly high there and can see for about 40 miles. It’s very picturesque and the evening sunsets are just incredible.”

Depending on what route you take, there are potentially three warm-up shelters to stop at with the family. In Wanless there is fuel available and places to warm up as well. Overall, this is a great ride for families with kids.

Meet the Rider

Name: Robert Vipond
Lives in: Rocky Lake, north of The Pas, Manitoba
Originally from: The Pas
Age: 61
Sledding since: Age 15
First sled: 1969 Ski-Doo Olympic 320
Current sled: 2004 Arctic Cat Turbo Touring
Favourite riding area: Rocky Lake to Flin Flon
Why is it your favourite? "Apart from it being at my doorstep, which makes it unique, it's the best trail riding I've ever been on."

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