Steep Rock, the jewel of Lake Manitoba

Steep Rock cliffs
Steep Rock cliffs

Steep Rock is a tiny hamlet on the shore of Lake Manitoba, situated 215 km northwest of Winnipeg. Its claim to fame are its unique limestone cliffs.

The place is at the very end of provincial road 239. The road takes you directly through town and it ends at the shore, where you can park your car.

As soon as you arrive, you will sense the quiet and peace of the place. The air is pure as the emerald-coloured water of the lake is pristine. Fortunately, “progress” still hasn’t ruined the ridiculous natural beauty of the area. Chances are that you will not find Steep Rock brimming with tourism activity, which adds to its charm.

A close up of the cliffs
A close up of the cliffs

There are a few easy trails that meander along the cliffs from which you can spot some birds. The cliffs are only 10 metres tall, and can be accessed from the trails. In May you might be lucky enough to catch the prairie crocus blooming right on top of the cliffs.

If just walking and relaxing doesn’t cut it for you, from July to mid-September you can rent a kayak, a canoe or a pedal boat for $7.50-$12/hour at “Steep Rock Kayak & Canoe” (the white booth right beside the dock). Peter, the owner, is proud of his business being environmentally responsible, so he won’t rent you anything with a motor.

A feature of the cliffs are the caves
A feature of the cliffs are the caves

Peter (who could be considered your unofficial guide to all things Steep Rock) also sells hamburgers, pizza pops, soup, refreshments, and ice cream off his booth. In fact, he might even be able to help you find a rental cabin if you like the Steep Rock so much that you want to spend the night.

The only other food establishment in town is within the limits of the private campground (open May to early September only), so you should consider bringing your own meal if you visit outside of those months. Buying your meal in Ashern on the way to Steep Rock is another option.

White American Pelicans, as seen from the beach
White American Pelicans, as seen from the beach

There is a small beach, but it’s also within the limits of the campground. You can access it (along with their playground and restaurant) for $2 per vehicle per day.

Tip: Steep Rock sunsets are legendary, so make sure you either stay late or spend the night there.

Disclaimer: These photos were taken in May, with the lake a week away from being completely free of ice. They may not represent the real beauty of the place.

Planning your visit

How to get there (from Winnipeg): from the Perimeter, take Hwy. 6 and drive 193 km, then turn left on Provincial Road 239 and drive 20 more km. (Click for map)

When to go: May to October, with July and August being the months with more visitors. (The lake might still be frozen in May, though.)

Points of interest: the cliffs, the trails, the caves.

Other places to visit on the same trip: Lundar (about halfway to Steep Rock from the Perimeter highway)

Weather: check it here

Will your MTS wireless device work there? Yes

Additional links:

Steep Rock Beach (campground & cabin)

A close up of the cliffs

A close up of the cliffs

A feature of the cliffs are the caves



Filed under Destinations

7 responses to “Steep Rock, the jewel of Lake Manitoba

  1. Penny Shaver

    Wow! I lived four years of my chilhood in Steep Rock, from ’69-’73. I’ve lived in BC ever since. This evening I thought I’d see if there was anything about my old hometown online. Now I want to go back more than ever!

  2. Renata

    My son and I hiked on and around the cliffs only yesterday. Although you captured the natural beauty in the photos, who would know Manitoba has such a hidden secret. I found the site to be “spectacular” even in the rain. My son enjoyed the time but we could not find the caves with passages (i.e. tunnels) that would lead us to another opening. Did we miss that and if so where are they?

  3. manitobatraveller

    @Renata: Steep Rock is one of Manitoba’s best kept secrets, along with Little Limestone Lake. I’ve now been there in every season and the place always delivers! Regarding the caves, I don’t think (yet I’m not sure) that any the caves are actual passages that lead you to another opening. Also, with the water levels being so high since last year, access to the caves is limited – to the point that when I was there last summer the caves were all under water.
    Thanks for reading and for your comment!

  4. ian

    I’m a motorbike rider, the Grey Goose Busline is enroute to your Campground. How far does 1 walk w/Bowkite,Surfboard camping gear gear and all from BUS to Campsite?. Is there grocery…

  5. zeidb

    Can you jump off the cliffs there?

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