Group Hike at Bois des Esprits in the Seine River Greenway
Bois des Esprits is a great day hike within Winnipeg’s perimeter.
More than 20 tree carvings turn the trail into a treasure hunt, enchanting and mystifying adults and children alike. The woods are filled with deer and birdsong. And there is no intimidatingly long drive or risk of getting lost!
Our 11:00am bilingual event is being offered in partnership with Sports en Français, an organization that contributes to the development of Manitoba’s Francophone community through sport and physical activity in French.
While French language skills are not required to participate, we welcome Francophones and Francophiles to join! For English speakers, it’s a great opportunity for you and your family to practice your French language skills.
Located along the Seine River in St. Vital, Bois des Esprits is big enough to feel like you’re in a forest and small enough that you can see your way out at any point. It’s also accessible by bus.
Bois-des-Esprits (“Woods Where the Spirits Dwell”) is the largest remaining riverbank forest in Winnipeg.
The 117 acre urban forest is packed with a variety of natural attractions: oaks and aspen forests, grasslands, and wetlands dotted with fuzzy cattails. Rolling hills and plenty of winding side paths enhance the experience.
Children and adventurous adults will enjoy climbing along the many fallen trees and exploring shelters made out of fallen limbs. The river becomes another well-loved pathway once it freezes over and is often dotted with home-made skating rinks.
The forest’s most popular attraction — Woody-Mhitik, the 3 meter-tall tree spirit carved out of the remains of a 75-foot elm tree in 2004 by Walter Mirosh and Robert Leclair from Les Gens de Bois Woodcarving Club — is sadly no more. It toppled over in August 2021.
Many tree spirits remain, carved out of dead trees throughout the forest. Keen eyes will also find carvings of an owl, chickadees, a dove, a heron and much more. A map of the carvings and more information about Bois des Esprits is available from Save Our Seine.
Outdoor Fun: What to Expect on Your Group Hike
Sometimes we just want to have some fun and enjoy a friendly chat with a stranger.
Our (free!) group hikes are an easy way to get outside and explore Manitoba’s beautiful provincial parks with other people.
CPAWS staff will share their love of nature on a relaxing hike along our favourite trails.
There won’t be any lectures along the way: when we stop for water and snack breaks we’ll keep the conversation casual and light.
If you’ve got questions we’ll do our best to answer them. However, we are not formally trained park interpreters. We encourage people seeking learning opportunities to check out our outdoor learning programming or try an interpretive event offered by Manitoba Parks.
How to Get There
- We’ll be meeting at the south end of Bois des Esprits in the greenspace on Shorehill Drive just past the Royalwood Bridge.
- Bois des Esprits is accessible by bus — the 59, 93 and 96 — and by bicycle.
- The easiest place to park is in the Southglen Shopping Centre at St. Anne’s Rd and Shorehill Drive (look for the No Frills).
- There are plenty of shops and restaurants along St. Anne’s Road.
- There are no public washrooms in the park.
What to Bring on Your Hike/Activity
- A park pass is required for all vehicles entering provincial parks. An annual pass (which can be used in two vehicles) is $44.50. Daily permits are $9.50.
- Bring at least two bottles of water: you can leave one in your vehicle on a short hike; you’ll want both on a long hike.
- Snacks are a great way to keep your energy up along the trail. Many trails don’t have restaurants or stores nearby so you may also want to pack a picnic lunch.
- Hand sanitizer (Most trails have outhouses, not modern toilets.)
- Any medication you may need (like antihistamines, your asthma inhaler, or an EpiPen)
- A safety whistle, pocket flashlight, and a basic first-aid kit (not required, but a good idea any time you’re in the wilderness)
Weather & Cancellation Policy
We try not to let the weather stop us from getting outside. With the right gear you can have a great time in most weather conditions.
That being said, safety must always be our top priority. We can’t be outside in a thunderstorm and may need to cancel if roads are hazardous.
Weather forecasts are notoriously unreliable. While we will do our best to monitor and make good judgment calls, there will be times when we decide to cancel and the skies clear and other days when a storm or high winds pop up unexpectedly.
We’ll send out an e-mail alert the day before an event letting registrants know if there’s a good chance we need to cancel. We will check the forecast again a few hours before the event to determine if we can try to go ahead.
About CPAWS Manitoba:
CPAWS Manitoba has been instrumental in establishing 22 new parks and protected areas in our province. That’s an area larger than Lake Winnipeg at nearly 26,000 square kilometres. Our goal is to protect half of Manitoba’s lands and waters.
About the CPAWS Manitoba Nature Club
CPAWS Manitoba’s Nature Club is designed to help Manitobans get outside, make new friends and learn about the wonders of nature.
We’ve developed a wide range of programming and activities to help Manitobans of all ages and abilities enjoy the health and wellness benefits of nature.
CPAWS Manitoba takes the safety of all program participants seriously.
All CPAWS Manitoba staff members have cleared a criminal record and vulnerable sector background check with the Winnipeg Police Department.
All CPAWS Manitoba staff members voluntarily disclose that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. We adhere to all public health recommendations and guidelines.
CPAWS policy requires that at least one person leading programming that may involve children must be certified in first aid. This applies to staff or to volunteers.
This program is possible thanks to the generous support of The Winnipeg Foundation.