Riding Mountain National Park is located in the southwestern corner of Manitoba, Canada. The park covers an area of 1,146 square miles (2,969 sq km).
Much of the neighboring area is represented by prairie grasslands and farmlands. Things change quite dramatically as you approach the protected area of the park. The national park is comprised of three different habitats.
The three habitats of Riding Mountain National Park include eastern deciduous forests, grasslands, and upland boreal. The area is designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve adding to the significance of the protected area.
The elevation of the park shoots up 1,499 feet (457 m) as you shift from the neighboring farmland. Riding Mountain is the tallest spot in the park.
There are several lakes within the national park as well as streams and rivers. Leveraging the waterways are some of the best ways to engage the area with boating, canoeing, kayaking, and fishing.
The forests are comprised of alder, bur oak, fir, pine, poplar, spruce, and tamarack. The poplar is one of the predominant species that create a habit that is rich with wildlife. There are 233 species of birds that nest or migrate through the park, of course, Canada geese and common loons are some of the favored sightings.
The park is renowned for its black bears featuring one of the largest populations across the entire North American continent. Other popular species include beaver, bison, cougar, coyote, elk, lynx, moose, timber wolf, and white-tailed deer.
Riding Mountain Highlights
- Black bear
The wildlife is one of the highlights of the park with sightings being quite favorable. The lush grasslands combined with the cover of the neighboring forests make this an ecosystem rich with animals.
The black bear is a medium-sized bear and one of the most populous species across the globe. The range and prevalence of the black bear are broader than its larger cousin the grizzly or brown bear.
Riding Mountain has one of the largest populations of black bears compared to any national park in Canada or the larger North America. Although no guarantees, this creates greater odds of having a black bear sighting during your exploration of the park.
Trails of Riding Mountain National Park
Riding Mountain National Park has over 250 miles (400 km) of hiking trails traversing across and meandering about the wilderness of the national park. There is a variety of short hikes to longer backpacking adventures.
Kinosao Lake Trail: This is an easy 4.5-mile (7.24 km) loop trail that meanders through the forest and out to a lookout over the lake. Birdwatching and wildflowers are popular facets of this outing.
Bead Lakes Trail: This is another easy rated loop trail that circles around 2.4 miles (3.86 km) with scenic views out of the lakes as well as chances to see wildlife and wildflowers. You will have views of three of the four Bead Lakes.
Arrowhead Trail: This short moderate loop trail looks like something out of Robin Hood. The 2.0-mile (3.21 km) trail ascends 318 feet (96.92 m) while meandering through the thick forest. This trail is all about being in the woods.
George Creek Trail: This moderate rated trail is out 7.2 miles (11.59 km) with an elevation gain of 1,200 feet (365.76 m). Part of the trail is boardwalk as it ascends upward while traversing through the dense forest. Seeing wildlife, wildflowers, and birdwatching are all possible highlights of this adventure.
Riding Mountain Highlights
- Black bear
- All Trails, Best Trails in Riding Mountain National Park, https://www.alltrails.com/parks/canada/manitoba/riding-mountain-national-park, retrieved July 2020.
- Britannica, Riding Mountain National Park, https://www.britannica.com/place/Riding-Mountain-National-Park, retrieved June 2020.
- Canadian Encyclopedia, Riding Mountain National Park, https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/riding-mountain-national-park, retrieved July 2020.
- Manitoba, Riding Mountain National Park, https://www.travelmanitoba.com/listings/riding-mountain-national-park-of-canada/6721/, retrieved July 2020.
- National Geographic, National Parks of North America, Canada-United States-Mexico, National Geographic Society, 1995.
- Parks Canada, Riding Mountain National Park, https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/mb/riding, retrieved July 2020.
- UNESCO, Riding Mountain National Park, https://en.unesco.org/biosphere/eu-na/riding-mountain, retrieved July 2020.