Spruce Woods Provincial Park is located on Provincial Highway #5 between Carberry to the north & Glenboro to the south. You can take either the Trans-Canada #1 or Provincial Highway #2 from Winnipeg and it will take you over an hour-and-a-half from the perimeter. Deciding which highway to take may be determined by which eating establishment you want to stop at, of which there are many….particularly on Highway #2….just sayin’….
There are many places for adventure throughout the park and some great camping at Kiche Manitou Campground. The Epinette Trail System which leads to the Newfoundland Trail is of particular interest to trail runners as it is the location for the Spruce Woods Ultra which takes place every May and includes distances between 10k all the way to 100 miles. From this trailhead you can also access the Trans Canada Trail, which is a limestone trail that runs along Highway #5.
Once again, this is a provincial park, so remember your pass. If you forget, you can purchase a day pass at the trailhead. Located at the trailhead is a map, warm-up shelter, and outhouse. There is no water at the trailhead.
Current Conditions – April 17, 2017
Today, myself and Spruce Woods Ultra Race Director, Dwayne Sandall headed out to check back road access to Aid Stations for the race, as well as the trail.
As suspected, after weeks of above freezing weather, and as has been reported by other runners, the trails are completely clear of snow.
If you’re looking for a long run, and to access the Newfoundland Trail, the bridge that goes over Epinette Creek a few kilometres into the route has been washed out. In the past week the water level has reduced significantly and the hope is that it will be low enough for a water crossing come race day. Personally, I feel this is kind of exciting considering some of the biggest and most prestigious ultras around the world include a water crossing (Western States, for example). The last time I ran Spruce Woods Ultra, I did the 50 k, and we had to navigate over the beaver dam to get over the creek. Yay for adventure!
Items of Note
- As is the case for most of the province, this area is known for its ticks. Be aware, check yourself.
- People have also seen bears on this trail, make sure to take your bear laser….;)
- Volunteers are still needed for Spruce Woods Ultra. If you love running, trails and being out in nature, considering signing up.
- As mentioned above, there are many eating establishments. A drive inn located in Glenboro, Tall Boys Grill in St. Claude, Ma’s in Elm Creek. Go for a really long run and eat at all three on the way home.