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Kwasitchewan Falls 2010-08

August 23, 2010

Kwasitchewan Falls Hike - Falls Close Up

The basics

The Kwasitchewan Falls Trail is a 22km hike with campsites for overnighting near Thompson, Manitoba, Canada.

The highlight of this hike is Kwasitchewan Falls, which happen to be Manitoba highest falls.

The hike is a lollipop around a peninsula, which also gives you the option of canoeing or kayaking.

Government issued details here.

The Experience

My travel buddies, XE and Otis (dog), and I decided to hike this trail overnight, as a “something to do on the weekend” hike, rather than, a “let’s see Manitoba’s highest falls, I bet they are spectacular” hike. XE and Otis had never attempted an overnight hike, but I have done a few.

We arrived at the trailhead around noon, finding a few Americans who were going in a ways on a day hike. Otherwise we found the trail mostly deserted (excepting wasps, mosquitoes, and signs of bear) despite the fact that it was a pleasant summer weekend.

Trail conditions varied. Most of the trail was lightly forested with gentle elevation changes. Occasionally the trail was rocky and involved scrambling over rocks. One section of the lollipop had a lot of deadfall (dead trees fallen across the trail, which always begs the question… over, under, or around?) The trail was marked with orange flagging tape, and was fairly well trodden (though kilometre markers would have been nice). Drinking water was fairly easy to find, I used a water purifying pump.

Kwasitchewan Falls Mosaic

We went around the lollipop clockwise, which meant the campsites were a little more than half way. The falls were a little ways past the campsites. There were approximately four campsites with fire pits. The government web site advises camping in designated camp sites, but does not clearly mark which camp sites are designated. We arrived around 5:30pm, held out for the third obvious camp site, and were rewarded with benches and a small table made out of driftwood and rock slabs.

Kwasitchewan Falls Hike - Our Awesome Campsite

We arrived at Kwasitchewan Falls early on the morning of the second day. They are fairly impressive, but there was no clear view of the falls from the trail. I would suggest if your goal is to get the most spectacular picture of the falls you could possibly get, canoeing (portaging across to Phillips Lake and camping on the island) would be your best bet.

Kwasitchewan Falls Hike

All in all we completed the hike in just over 24 hours. I think it is a nice first overnight hike.

Stray Observations:

Bearanoia level: High – be sure to hang your food in trees at night, preferably using an airtight bag to seal in food odors. I found the tree branches inhospitable to food bags, this was my best attempt.
I thought I heard a bear in our campsite at night, but my imagination tends to get the best of me.

Mosquito annoyance level: Extreme!!! (normal for Manitoba)

One section of the trail intersected a “cut line”, a straight line cut through the woods, used by mining exploration companies for orientation. It was flagged similarly to the main trail and was a bit disorienting.

Tetra packs of wine are (in my opinion) the smartest bet for booze on overnight hiking trips. They generally come in 500mL or 1L packs, the packaging is light, and folds down when empty.

***The full Flickr photoset****

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 23, 2010 10:05 pm

    Good stuff.

    I find it hard to fathom after all the effort, a good view of the falls is not granted. Can you scramble for a better view? I would find the obstructed-view payoff frustrating otherwise.

  2. August 23, 2010 10:34 pm

    It looked like you could get down a little lower for a better view, but my travel buddies were a bit nervous. The falls themselves are not exactly spectacular, I wouldn’t do the hike just to see some spectacular falls.


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