AAA Editor Notes
Spruce Woods Provincial Park is 25 km (16 mi.) s. on Hwy. 5. The 26,950-hectare (66,593-acre) park, a mosaic of geographic features, includes deciduous forests, creeping sand dunes, white spruce-covered sand hills and mixed grass prairie. The park is bisected by the Assiniboine River as it winds its way east.
The desertlike area known as Spirit Sands was formed by an ancient river delta which left behind a 5-kilometre (3-mi.) tract of open sand dunes that tower 30 metres (98 ft.) above the surrounding prairie. The eerie blue-green pond color of Devil's Punch Bowl, near the Spirit Sands, can be observed from several viewpoints; the bowl-shaped depression was caused by the currents of an underground stream.
A 7-kilometre (4.3-mi.) roundtrip self-guiding trail leads through the dunes to the Punch Bowl, and a 4-kilometre (2.5-mi.) trail meanders through the sands. The trails are found in the Spirit Sands trail system located just north of the Assiniboine River off Hwy. 5. Interpretive signs along the trails provide insight into the cultural and natural surroundings.
Spruce Woods is home to the western plains hognose snake; the northern prairie skink, Manitoba's only lizard; wapiti (elk); white-tailed deer; coyotes; and pin cushion and prickly pear cacti.
Interpretive programs about park resources and natural and cultural history are offered. The Park Centre building contains displays introducing the area's significant natural and cultural resources. Family events, campfire and amphitheater programs and guided hikes are offered weekends all year.
Comfortable walking shoes, a hat and drinking water are recommended.
Pets on leash are allowed. Recreational activities are permitted. Camping is permitted. Picnicking is permitted. Food is available. Time: Allow 2 hours minimum.