Go East(man) young man

The Eastman Trail is 80 kilometres of winding, twisting, sandy-based bliss


Dawson Trail is an historic setting and a great place to quad.

Dawson Trail is an historic setting and a great place to quad. — Photo courtesy Dave Lee

Stepping into the boots of Manitoba’s early settlers would be quite the trip. Since time travel is still a ways off, alternative arrangements have been designed. The Eastman Trail, near Richer, Manitoba, is the gateway to the olden times.

The Eastman Trail starts on part of the old Dawson Trail, which is a historical trail dating back to the beginning of the pioneer days. Dawson Trail was part of the main route that brought settlers into Manitoba. The historical trail system has been referred to as a corduroy road because it used to be made up of laid down logs.

“When a rider travels on this trail, they’re travelling through history,” said Dave Lee, president of the Eastman ATV Association.

A little bit of everything

Heading south of the Dawson Trail takes ATVers into Sandilands Provincial Forest, which contains an 80-kilometre sandy-based trail that winds and twists through the forest. Riders can experience all kinds of terrain from pine forests to shrubbery to gravel-based trails through wetlands, giving explorers an opportunity to travel through water.

Don’t be afraid of getting a little mucky along the Eastman Trail.

Don’t be afraid of getting a little mucky along the Eastman Trail. — Photo courtesy Dave Lee

“Our trail offers a lot of diversity for riders,” said Lee.

Rest stop

The halfway point is a good place to stop for lunch. There’s a lookout point at this location where you can look northward over the shores of Lake Agassiz.

“Back in the days of the ice age, Manitoba was completely submerged in water,” Lee said. “You can see the terrain and visualize that you were on the shore of an ancient lake bed. That's a nice spot. You’re right in the heart of the forest. You don't see much but treetops. If you catch it at the right time of the day, which is in the evening, you get all kinds of nice colour on the sunset, especially in the fall when the leaves start to turn. It's a nice, peaceful place to visit with historical value.”

Staging and camping

Dawson Trail’s staging area is located on Dawson Road. It's easily accessible from Highway 1 just past the Brokenhead River.

Riders line up for good times riding the Eastman Trail system.

Convoy! Riders line up for good times riding the Eastman Trail system. — Photo courtesy Dave Lee

“You can camp and ride from most campsites to the trailhead,” Lee said. “There's always someone able to give you a hand to find camping or lodging. You can camp in Richer and ride through our trail system. We’re right on the main traffic flow to the Falcon Lake and West Hawk areas. We’re super easy to find.”

Enjoy the trip through time on the Eastman Trail and wherever your tires take you next.

There’s always room for pizza

Richer has a few little restaurants that ATVers love to visit. If you're heading to the Eastman Trail on your ATV, Lee highly recommends stopping at Geppetto’s for dinner.

“They have excellent food,” he said. “They do pizza in a clay oven. That’s the one you gotta get. If you're not into that, there’s also great hamburgers and french fries. They also have a miniature golf course, which the tourists tend to stop at on the way to the lake.” 

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