Grass River Provincial Park

Iskwasum campground sign
Home for a lot of the summer – our return to spot.

May 25th– Grass River Provincial Park is just south of Cranberry Portage, Manitoba and east on Highway 39.  We had noticed several campgrounds on the map so arriving early in the day we decided to check them all out planning to stay at one overnight. None of these campgrounds have power, sewer hook-ups or water connections. All have clean washrooms, and solar gravity-fed showers and sewer dumps. Non-potable water is available.

We traveled east into the park reaching Gyles Campground on Simonhouse Lake, a very large lake. Gyles has over 50 campsites and is very popular because of the beach area for swimming and is very family friendly. Further up the road we came to Iskwasum campground situated on the wide part of the Grass River, again around 50 sites with the same services as mentioned. Here there is no power, no cell coverage so not popular with the connected crowd. If your cell is grown to your hand this is not the place for you. The beauty of these campgrounds are there are no reservations so if you find a nice spot it’s yours for as long as you pay the tab, not having to leave Thursday because someone booked it for Friday and Saturday on line. Iskwasum is popular with fishermen during the month of June; we are told that is the only time the campground is full.

Travelling further east we reached Reed Lake Campground, similar to the others and popular for the swimming area, more family friendly as it is situated on Reed Lake, a very large lake.

Reed Lake
Reed Lake, “Home of the Big Northern”.
Reed Lake Grass River Provincial Park
Reed Lake is large and can get very rough.

Our choice was Iskwasum campground.  Pulling up to register we found a sign saying cash or cheque only. Wow cheques! With no power even to the office; yep cash works best, your phone app is no good here. This has got to be the place for us. We loved the campground, very quiet, surrounded by pine and very large rocks. Campsites are private, washrooms are clean, has the solar shower and beautiful river access, what more could you ask for. We are staying here for a while, as it turns out this is now one of our go to spots anytime but June.

Iskwasum solar shower
On those warmer days, enjoy the solar shower.

Perhaps we will get our blow-up kayak/canoe inflated and check out the river. The river connects Iskwasum Lake up stream and to the east down river Loucks Lake. The Grass River is part of the historic fur trader route and one can canoe over 400 miles on the historic route. Lots of history in the area we were looking forward to learning more about.

Grass River canoe route sign
Grass River is part of the historic fur trade route.

That day it was rainy and overcast so we decided to hike in approximately 3.5 kms to Karst Spring and Falls. You can tell we are on the edge of the Precambrian Shield as evidenced by the very large rocks, some the size of our cabin and larger. The hike was worth it.  The fast moving stream appeared to come from under a large rock to the falls and into the river. We noticed a lot of fish in the stream, bear buffet I thought, and then it hit me we may be on the menu as well. Good thing we had bear bells with us. The trail was a loop from the campground and returning with access also to Highway 39 we found out. On the way back I noticed, with amusement, a sign on the ground saying Highway 39, continuing on we did come to the highway a long way from the campground. When we realized it was the wrong trail, turning to start back we noticed a large sign, BEWARE OF BEARS. No problem, the bear spray was in the camper but we had our bear bells!

Karst spring trail
Lots of large rocks to hike over.
Karst Spring trail
The Karst Spring and Falls trail.
Karst trail in Iskwasum campground
Beautiful undergrowth and marshy areas along the Karst trail.
Stream to Grass River
Stream on its way to the Grass River.
Karst spring trail
Karst Spring
Bear buffet.
Karst Spring trail
The fast moving falls seen from the Karst Spring trail.
Falls leading into Grass River
The fast moving falls entering the Grass River.

That night we turned on the furnace in the camper as it hit freezing, our “Igloo” was very warm and cozy. The Northern Lite is four-season rated with heated tanks.

Iskwasum campsite
Home safe in the “Igloo”.

Until tomorrow…good night and hope to see you “Down the Road”

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