Is Riding Mountain National Park Worth Visiting?

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A man standing at the end of a dock at a lake in Riding Mountain National Park

Canada is home to 37 national parks and 10 national park reserves. Many of them are within a day’s drive of the border and welcome American visitors every year.

Riding Mountain National Park is known for its stunning lakes, excellent camping, breathtaking views, and abundant wildlife in Wasagaming, Manitoba.

Let’s take a look at why you should add this Canadian national park to your summer getaway list!

Where Is Riding Mountain National Park?

Riding Mountain National Park is located in southern Manitoba between Highway 5 and Highway 16 in Wasagaming. 

It’s about three hours northwest of Winnipeg and about two hours and 20 minutes north of the North Dakota border. The town of Wasagaming sees about 300,000 visitors annually.

What Does Riding Mountain National Park Protect?

Riding Mountain National Park protects a diverse landscape, from grasslands to forests to lakes and abundant wildlife. The aquatic and forested habitats provide homes for wolves, moose, elk, black bears, bison, and numerous fish and bird species.

The forests, prairies, and lakes of Riding Mountain are early indigenous people’s hunting and fishing grounds. The Cree occupied the highlands, while the Assiniboines followed the bison in the prairies. 

Today the park conserves the cultural heritage of these people with sites and preserves ancient artifacts.

View of Riding Mountain National Park

Are There Hiking Trails in Riding Mountain National Park?

There are more than 229 miles of hiking trails in Riding Mountain National Park. They’re open for hiking and biking during the spring, summer, and fall and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter.

Near Wasagaming and Clear Lake, you can find 19 hiking trails ranging from easy to moderate. Along Riding Mountain Parkway, you have eight hiking trails, three of which are rated as difficult.

The West Side and Lake Audy area has 13 trails ranging from moderate to difficult. And the East Escarpment area has 20 trails.

Can You Camp in Riding Mountain National Park?

Whether looking for glamping opportunities or bringing your RV, you get more than 400 campsites in Riding Mountain National Park. 

Wasagaming Campground is conveniently located a few minutes from Clear Lake’s main beach and pier, restaurants, the visitor center, walking and biking trails, canoe, kayak, and bike rentals, horseback riding, shopping, and more. It’s open from mid-May to mid-October.

You get all types of amenities at Wasagaming Campground. Guests can reserve an unserviced, a pull-through electric, a back-in electric and water, or a full hook-up pull-through site. 

All campsites have a fire pit and picnic table. Visitors can also access bathhouses, kitchen shelters, and a dump station.

Visitors can also camp near Deep Lake, Moon Lake, Whirlpool Lake, and Lake Audy. Those locations are unserviced, first-come, first-served, and open from mid-May to mid-October. The Whirlpool Lake Campground is only available to tent campers.

Backcountry camping, with the appropriate permits, is also allowed in Riding Mountain National Park. You must make reservations for backcountry camping at Parks Canada Reservations.

What Glamping Opportunities Are in Riding Mountain National Park?

Riding Mountain National Park also has accommodations for travelers arriving without an RV or tent.

Visitors can book an oTENTik equipped with a table and four chairs, beds to sleep six, a heat and light source, a deck, a fire pit, and a picnic table. This cross between a tent and an A-frame cabin sits on a raised floor. You can also get pet-friendly and pet-free oTENTiks. 

Or you can reserve yurts. Most have bedding to sleep four or five people, a heat source (wood stove, propane, or electric), and rustic furniture, including a table and chairs.

Finally, MicrOcubes are another type of overnight accommodation in Riding Mountain National Park. These small cubes are approximately 107 square feet of interior space designed to sleep two people. It has one double bed, a table and two chairs, and lighting but no heat source.

Keep in Mind: Upgrade your camping game during your visit to Riding Mountain with a Glamping Tent!

View of a campsite set up by a lake in Riding Mountain National Park

Besides camping, guests enjoy other outdoor recreational activities at Riding Mountain National Park. Anglers looking to catch northern pike or paddlers wanting to explore Clear Lake can enjoy this Canadian national park.


More than 1,900 lakes and 650 streams offer plenty of fishing opportunities. 

Fly fishing for brook trout, fishing for walleye on Clear Lake, and venturing farther into the park to fish for northern pike are just a few of the opportunities anglers have at Riding Mountain National Park. 

However, you do have daily limits to pike, walleye, perch, and whitefish.

Scenic Driving

You don’t have to hike, bike, or paddle to enjoy the beauty of Riding Mountain National Park. If you can’t do those physical activities or don’t have the time during your visit, take a scenic drive along Highway 10, Highway 19, or Lake Audy Road.

The Lake Audy area is home to the national park’s bison herd. Always be aware of wildlife, whether in your vehicle or on foot. Never feed wildlife or approach the animals. 

During your drive, you’ll see the beauty of the park’s prairies, lakes, and forests. Pack a picnic so you can stop and enjoy lunch at one of the shelter locations.

Keep in Mind: If you’re driving along the Icefields Parkway, you won’t want to miss these stops from Banff to Jasper National park!


Whether you own a canoe or kayak, you’ll appreciate the change of scenery as you tour Riding Mountain National Park from the water. 

You must follow the mandatory watercraft inspections when entering Clear Lake, South Lake, Deep Lake, Lake Audy, Moon Lake, Whirlpool Lake, Lake Katherine, and all streams and rivers.

The lakes are usually the better option for canoeing. Remember that even though the air is warm during summer, the water can still be very cold. Always wear a life jacket and paddle with a partner.

A canoe at a dock in Riding Mountain National Park


Whether you fish, drive, paddle, bike, or hike, take a picnic lunch with you. Picnic areas have barbecue pits, and most have access to drinking water.

You’ll find places to enjoy lunch at Wasagaming, Aspen, Birches, Bob Hill, Clear Spring Bog, Dead Ox Creek, Frith Beach, Glen Beag, Grayling Lake, Lake Audy Dam, Lake Audy, Moon Lake, and Spruces.

Enjoy the Beauty and Outdoor Recreation of Riding Mountain National Park This Camping Season

Riding Mountain National Park is beautiful in the winter and offers opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing opportunities. 

But most visitors head to Manitoba during the warmer months, where they can enjoy comfortable weather and take advantage of the camping and glamping accommodations.

There’s so much to do for all ages and all abilities. If you’re looking for a hidden gem in Canada to explore this summer, consider visiting Manitoba!

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