Parks and Protected Spaces
Backcountry Camping Experiences in Manitoba Provincial Parks.
Backcountry camping offers a way to enjoy unique areas in provincial parks that visitors may otherwise never get a chance to experience. Manitoba Parks has three types of backcountry camping opportunities available (walk-in, water route and wilderness). These experiences range from relatively easy overnight adventures to multi-day (or week) treks.
The key to a successful backcountry experience is planning. Most backcountry campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis, with a few select locations in Nopiming Provincial Park available through the park reservation service. First-come, first-served backcountry travellers may have to share sites on busier routes.
Backcountry campsites have minimal amenities and trails may be rustic. Below you can find information, links and answers to the most frequently answered questions. Click on the heading of each type for a list of locations and amenities around the province.
Walk-in Backcountry Camping, Water Route Backcountry Camping and Wilderness Camping
Walk-in Backcountry Camping – These are designated campsites accessed by hiking from a parking lot or trailhead. Opportunities range from .5 km to 60 km multi-day treks. All equipment must be carried in and out by campers. There are also a select number of backcountry cabins that are walk-in accessible.
Water Route Camping – These are designated campsites which are available by canoe or boat. Campsites may be a short one-hour paddle or only accessible by undertaking multi-day trips. All equipment must be packed in and out by campers. Portages exist on some routes.
Wilderness Camping Areas – A designated area within a park or a designated park where camping is allowed at any suitable location.
- What is provided at a backcountry campsite? These campsites provide the barest of essentials for those who desire simplicity and being surrounded by nature to complete their outdoor experience. Designated campsites are identified by a site marker and have a fire pit, in some locations a pit privy and a picnic table may also be present on the site. Campers are expected to be self-sufficient; water needs to be boiled or filtered and all garbage should be packed out.
- Can backcountry sites be reserved? Most backcountry sites are first-come, first-served. However, there are some exceptions in Nopiming Provincial Park and Western Manitoba. Check the chart above under both the walk-in and water route categories. Some parks may require you to check-in prior to heading out on your adventures. Please be aware that there is no exclusive rights to backcountry sites, backcountry traveller are expected to share sites with other groups when required.
- Should I be worried about bears and other wildlife? Follow this link to Be Bear Smart.
- Can I camp anywhere? You must camp at a designated site for walk-in and water route backcountry camping. A select number of parks offer open wilderness camping areas but this style of camping requires extra preparation and is not intended for beginner campers.
- Are sites maintained? Remember that you are sharing the experience with others during and after your trip. Keeping our water routes and backcountry clean is everyone’s responsibility. Always carry out everything you carry in - there are no regular patrols for maintenance and garbage collection. Practise Leave No Trace principles in order to protect our wilderness and to ensure that everyone can continue to enjoy it in the future. Please keep these seven principles in mind when planning a backcountry trip:
- Plan Ahead and Prepare
- Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
- Dispose of Waste Properly
- Leave What You Find
- Minimize Campfire Impacts
- Respect Wildlife.
- Be Considerate of Other Visitors
- How long can I camp at a site? First-come, first-served backcountry campers may occupy a site for up to three days. For campsites that can be reserved, campers can reserve a site for up to 7 days.
- Are there group size restrictions? At Shoe Lake in Nopiming Provincial Park, a group use site allows larger groups to camp and experience the backcountry together. In all other locations. Groups of 10 or more must apply for a special events permit prior to their trip.
- How do I start planning? Take a look at the information and links provided by the amenities charts available by clicking on the type of camping. We also recommend that you consult a recommended gear list when packing for your trip. Remember to always let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return. Cell service is minimal in almost all remote areas of provincial parks– carrying a GPS transmitter or satellite phone is recommended.
- Can I have a fire? Open fires are prohibited, designated sites are equipped with fire pits and we recommend using a camp stove in wilderness camping areas. Report Wildfires 1-800-782-0076