Nopiming Provincial Park is famous for being one of the best preserved places in Manitoba. I went and stayed in the Park for three days in June 2020 for the first time.
Nopiming is an Anichinabe word meaning Entry to the Wilderness . Does Nopiming live up to its name? Yes and no. It is quite paradoxical: there is almost no urbanization in this park of 1,429 km2 but bears and other protected wild animals rub shoulders with the workers who operate the mines in the area. My phone had LTE in several places but the road is only gravel. Nopiming is a park of contrasts, between industry and nature.
Your guide to Nopiming Provincial Park
Where is Nopiming Park?
Nopiming Park is a 2.5 hour drive from Winnipeg.
What to do in Nopiming Park?
See the Tulabi Falls
The main point of interest in Nopiming Park, the Tulabi Falls, attracts a number of visitors. They are not the largest waterfalls in Manitoba but they are still beautiful, especially as you walk around them to see the peaceful lake behind. A small path allows you to descend the different levels along the rocks.
In Tulabi Lake, above the waterfalls, cliff jumping is a popular sport but not for me, it’s a bit too adventurous!
Nopiming Park is not the best park for hiking. If you are serious about hiking, you’ll find more trails in the Whiteshell Park.
However, there are four official hikes in Nopiming and they all are cool:
- Tulabi Falls , which follows the trail that leads to backcountry camping sites,
- Black Lake , which would be a difficult hike of about 8 km among rocks,
- Fire of 83 , easy 1.5 km walk,
- Walk on Ancient Mountains , a 1.8 km trail over, as the name suggests, ancient mountains.
I only did the last hike, due to the heat (over thirty degrees). And it was neat anyway! Nopiming is located in the area of the Canadian Shield so, without too many geological details, let’s just remember that pink granite is ubiquitous.
The trail goes up a little bit (just a little, it’s still Manitoba) and allows you to observe the rebirth of nature after a huge forest fire in 1983. The disappearance of vegetation has left the rock bare = paradise for geologists who have discovered a mountain range from millions of years ago that was similar to the Rockies today!
The mica shines: it looks like little bits of glass embedded in the stone. The whole area has undergone enormous geological upheavals, including molten magma. The paper or online brochure allows you to better understand the history of stones and it is fascinating!
Lakes, lakes, lakes
What we did was take route 315 from Black Lake to the intersection with 314 that we took north until we reached the starting point of the Walk. on Ancient Mountains. And at almost every lake, we stopped to see!
Lakes, lakes, lakes
What we did was to take route 315 from Black Lake to the intersection with the 314 that we took north until we reached the starting point of the Walk on Ancient Mountains. And at almost every lake, we stopped to have a look!
In the photos below: Bird River / Springer Lake / Shoe Lake.
And seen from above, Bird Lake looks like this:
Pay attention to the plants
Fir trees, wild roses, campanulas, there are lots of plants in Nopiming Park.
Admire the sunset
It is easy as an activity, guaranteed without effort or almost, if not that of repelling mosquitoes.
Go kayaking or canoeing
Nopiming is clearly a water park. There is a map that lists ten possible trips, with or without camping. Some free camping areas have been set up on islands. There is a jetty every 3 km or so, and you see more fishermen than anywhere else in Manitoba.
It was precisely in Nopiming Provincial Park that I was able to kayak for the first time! The rental was included in the price of the cabin we had rented. It’s funny, it takes coordination and it hurts a little in the arms. I found it cool to start on a flat, calm lake rather than a river.
Where to sleep in Nopiming Provincial Park?
Tulabi Falls, Black Lake, Beresford Lake and Caribou Landing are the main campsites. They can be reserved on the Manitoba Parks website. If camping isn’t your thing (it’s clearly not mine), there are also cabins for rent at Nopiming Lodge and Windsock Lodge.
I stayed at the Nopiming Lodge, it was cheap, clean and comfortable.
Nopiming Park is teeming with wildlife.
- Caribou (not seen ❌) – the park is home to a pack of 50 caribou, protected;
- Moose ❌
- Wolves ❌
- Black bears (seen one from the car ✅)
Note that there is no sign indicating to be bear smart because the provincial park budget does not follow to put signs everywhere. And that’s okay, people going to Nopiming will surely already have the right behavior adapted to living with bears.
Curiosities in Nopiming
Mines and minerals
Nopiming Provincial Park is rich in precious minerals of all kinds. There was even a small gold rush in 1912, but on a smaller scale than those in California or Klondike in the Yukon: in Nopiming, gold is not in the water but in the stone so much more difficult to extract! 4 million dollars in gold were still mined until the 1930s.
The remains of the abandoned Irgon mine at Cat Lake (discovered through Geocaching) fascinated me: it was built and was ready to operate in 1953 to extract lithium but prices had dropped by then and the company was waiting for better days… Seventy years later, they have missed the boat: lithium is everywhere and their mine has never opened.
On the other hand, in 2018 the provincial government granted an operating permit to a company that would like to restart lithium extraction in this area. Paradox of having both a provincial park with laws to protect nature and companies that use said nature to make a profit.
The Coca-Cola Falls
This little attraction is not exactly in Nopiming but on the way. The Coca-Cola Falls were named so because their water would be the same color as the famous soda!
Please note that there is NO physical indication indicating the falls, not even a sign. But Google Maps has the exact location, under a small bridge before arriving in Lac-du-Bonnet from the east.
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North of Nopiming Park, the road stops. Another park begins and goes beyond the borders of Manitoba and Ontario: Pimachiowin Aki, the last Canadian site to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2018. But it won’t be this time!