For riders needing to escape the hustle and bustle of city life in southern Manitoba, there’s an immense trail system worth retreating to in the bush. The Whistle Pig Rail Trail extends from East Selkirk, near Winnipeg, and proceeds northeast all the way to Powerview-Pine Falls, covering a distance of 75 kilometres.
The rail trail starts in an urban centre with a full-service dining facility and staging area right beside the rail line and proceeds through fantastic varied scenery of agricultural land, boreal forest, wetlands and upland meadows. The communities at each end of the trail have a variety of services from gas, food and lodging to powersports equipment repairs and services. Along the way, riders pass by the large South Beach Casino and Hotel complex a short distance off the rail trail where they can stay and play. The trail also passes along the shoreline of a large Lake Winnipeg backwater bay.
The Whistle Pig Rail Trail crosses agricultural land, boreal forest, wetlands and upland meadows. — Photo courtesy Hartley Pokrant
As if that isn’t enough, the village of Stead resides at the halfway point between Selkirk and Powerview. From Stead, riders can take a one-kilometre trail to connect to the Belair Forest, offering another 125 kilometres of designated ATV trails and over 500 kilometres of additional forest trails to explore.
The Whistle Pig Rail Trail is a new development that was made possible because of a partnership between the Belair ATV Club and neighbouring municipalities.
“The rail line is split in two jurisdictions,” said Hartley Pokrant, president of the Belair ATV Club. “The northern half is owned by the Rural Municipality of Alexander, through which we had an agreement to manage it as a multi-use ATV trail for the last three years. The south half is owned by the Rural Municipality of St. Clements, through whom we just got a similar agreement which now provides us with connectivity all the way from East Selkirk.”
With plenty of opportunities to see a variety of birds and wildlife, wetland and forested landscapes, railway trestle bridges, grasslands and wetlands, the Whistle Pig Rail Trail is a haven Manitobans can appreciate and enjoy.
The Whistle Pig Rail Trail connects East Selkirk to Powerview-Pine Falls. — Image courtesy Hartley Pokrant
Best trail ever: Whistle Pig Rail Trail
Length: 75 kilometres, with access to another 125 kilometres of designated ATV trails
Where to stop and play along the way: Lake Winnipeg backwater bay
Where to have lunch: South Beach Casino and Hotel
Staging area: There are staging areas in East Selkirk, Stead and Powerview-Pine Falls. There are many more access points along gravel roads through several developed areas that the trail passes through.