Spruce Woods Provincial Heritage Park is a wilderness recreation destination situated on the banks of the Assiniboine River located east of the community of Brandon, Manitoba and west of the community of Portage La Prairie, Manitoba.
The park is a main destination in the summer for activities like hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, horseback riding, camping, canoeing, kayaking, birdwatching, swimming and picnicking. During the winter months the park is popular for snowmobiling and cross country skiing.
The facilities, services and amenities in the park include all types of campgrounds and day use picnic sites, horse staging areas, amphitheater, recreation trails, boat launches, wagon tours, concession stand, interpretive museum, mini golf, restaurant, shelters, gift store, sani dump, sandy beach, fresh water taps and washrooms.
The Spruce Woods Provincial Heritage Park is a Wildlife Management Area (WMA) measuring over 262 square kilometres. Within its boundaries there are varying eco systems including sand dunes & cacti; spruce & aspen parkland; upland deciduous forests of basswood, ash, elm and maple trees; prairie grasslands; boreal and river valley forests.
The Assiniboine River is the centre of attention in the Spruce Woods Provincial Heritage Park. The river is part of a canoe route which starts in Brandon and ends in Holland. One can access the paddle route from the park. There are canoe rentals in the day use area in the campground.
The river is the source and cause of many of the natural attractions in the park. For example Kiche Manitou lake and Marshs Lake are, both, oxbow wetlands formed from the Assiniboine River.
The Spruce Woods Provincial Heritage Park is home to many natural wonders like the Spirit Sands and the Devils Punch Bowl. Spirit Sands is the largest sand dunes in Manitoba covering over 4 square kilometres. The sand dunes created from the northwesterly winds can measure up to 30 metres tall.
The Devils Punch Bowl, as well as, Springridge and Hogsback are waterway ponds which seem to come from nowhere - when in actuality they are created from underground streams and creeks.
Throughout the park are many different types of recreation trails. There are various points located throughout the park to access the trail systems and trailheads. There are six main trailheads - the Epinette Trails, Spirit Sands/Devils Punch Bowl Trails , Marshs Lake Trail (1.5 km interpretive trail), Isputinaw Trail (1.5 km interpretive trail), Springridge Trail (1.2 km interpretive trail) and the Trans Canada Trail.
The Epinette Trails are shared routes with hikers, backpackers, horseback riders and mountain bikers. In the winter there are sections of the trails which become designated snowmobile and cross country ski routes.
The trails are divided into four sections - the Spruce, Juniper, Tamarack and Newfoundland. They are the most rugged and remote trails in the park. The trails connect to wilderness campsites equipped with fire pits and fresh water taps.
The Epinette Trails range from 1.5 kilometres to 20+ kilometres one-way. The farthest point on the recreation trails is the wilderness campsite located on Jackfish Lake in the Newfoundland Ravine. One can venture deeper into the backcountry as far as the Arizona Fire Tower when jumping from trail to backcountry roads.
The Spirit Sands/Devils Punch Bowl Trails are a collection of loop trails. One grouping of smaller loop trails ventures out onto the sand dunes. The other large loop trail ventures out to the Devils Punch Bowl. The trails include interpretive signs, viewpoints, pit toilets, sightseeing benches and shelters. One can even sign up for a guided wagon ride tour.
The Trans Canada Trail (TCT) is the longest trail in the park. This section of the TCT is called the Glenboro-South Cypress Trail. It is divided into two sections. The eastern section from Cypress River to the Kiche Manitou Campground (22 kms) and the northern section from Marshs Lake to the Epinette Trailhead (10 kms).
The Spruce Woods Provincial Heritage Park provides an opportunity for overnight camping. There are serviced and unserviced campgrounds located near Kiche Manitou Lake. This campground provides the most services and quick access to the sandy beach. Other camping in the park includes wilderness campgrounds, canoe campgrounds and an equestrian campground with corrals.