From the tall-grass prairie to Sandilands Provincial Forest, Sunrise Corner has no shortage of incredible outdoor spaces for an enjoyable trek on your snowshoes, especially with the outstanding snow we’ve received so far this winter. After working up an appetite on your outing, head over to either South Junction Diner at Clearview Coop or to the Vita Hotel or Eva’s Restaurant in Vita for a hot drink and a great meal. From west to east, here are four exceptional snowshoeing spots in Sunrise Corner. Enjoy!
1. Agassiz Interpretive Trail winds through aspen forest and tall grass prairie, some of the rarest ecosystem in Canada, home to many species at risk. It’s a great place to bird watch, so bring your camera and binoculars. With many rest stops and easy terrain, the Agassiz Trail is perfect to do with family or on your own. You can walk the 1.75-kilometer round or go through the aspen forest on the 3-kilometer trail. Access the trail from Road 36 East, just off Hwy 201 between Stuartburn and Vita. Park on the road if the trailhead parking lot isn’t cleared.
2. Gardenton Park is a sprawling 65-acre site featuring the community hall, outdoor stage, playground, baseball diamonds and the Ukrainian Heritage Museum which includes several heritage outbuildings like the schoolhouse, settler cabin and peach oven. For snowshoers, the park has both wide open fields and on the east side, winds along the meandering Roseau River. The park also boasts Gardenton Hill, a local landmark known for winter sledding. Located on Hwy 209 about 6 km south of Hwy 201 west of Vita, the park has parking in front of the hall.
3. Spur Woods Wildlife Management Area provides excellent habitat for breeding and migrating forest owls including large great gray owls and the tiny northern saw-whet and boreal owls. Several trails crisscross the WMA. For first time users, try the old railway spur line, accessible about a half-mile down the forestry road. It provides a nice raised trail that gives you a view of surrounding forest. Spur Woods is located on Hwy 201 about 4 km east of Menisino. Google Spur Woods Heritage Monument for exact location – you’ll see a large rock on the south side of the highway with a plaque to commemorate the site as one of the last old-growth forest stands in southeastern Manitoba. The forestry road is not plowed, so you may have to park on the side of Hwy 201.
4. Cat Hills Provincial Forest is a bit off the beaten path but snowshoers will enjoy this peaceful hilly area with large stands of red pine. Get there from Hwy 12, turning north at Hwy 310, through South Junction, following the curve about 4 km. You’ll see the Cat Hills Provincial Forest sign on the north side of the road – for parking continue a bit further to Road 78 East. There are a number of forestry roads accessible off Road 78 East that won’t be cleared but are great places to snowshoe – although you’ll probably find that snowmobiles have already gone through those trails.