Discovering Manitoba

Wekusko Falls: Diamond in the Rough

The river begins to ripple and froth over a bed of rocks, guarding a secret of colossal proportions

Even as a child, I knew there was something far beyond magnificent just ten kilometers from my back door. Growing up in the heart of Manitoba’s north, in the small mining community of Snow Lake, I was surrounded by breath- taking scenery comprising pristine lakes and vast virgin boreal forests. But nothing was as captivating or exquisite, as the backdrop provided by Wekusko Falls.

The Grass River, with its headwaters at Cranberry Portage, begins its journey cutting through the Precambrian Shield in Northern Manitoba to the mouth of Wekusko Lake. By the time the river reaches Highway 392, just ten kilometers south of Snow Lake, it has been flowing, racing and plunging for 190 kilometers. Here the river begins to ripple and froth over a bed of rocks, guarding a secret of colossal proportions. If you never leave the highway, you will deprive yourself of one of Manitoba’s most riveting northern experiences.

Just a skip and heartbeat off the highway, you can begin to hear the subtle roar of Wekusko Falls singing her northern rock concert, a symphony only Mother Nature could compose. The siren sound grows more compelling as you are drawn along a footpath towards a suspension bridge. It is there that you catch the first spectacular sight of the first set of falls as they cascade unrelentingly down twelve meters over million-year-old rugged rocks. The perpetual spray from the falls shrouds the air, often creating mini-rainbows, while washing the breeze clean with a sweet northern perfume.

By the time you walk the footpath to the second set of falls, a sense of history and peace settles around you. The boreal forests around the rugged shoreline and the constant roar of the falls and the mist of the churning water, draws you into an unforgettable and glorious sensory experience. Though the second set of falls is not as elevated as the first, it also offers a suspension bridge and the scene is just as enticing. Wekusko Falls pours into the mouth of Wekusko Lake, commonly known to the locals as “Herb Lake”. “Wekusko is the Cree word for “herb” or “sweet” and once you have experienced the glorious falls and gorgeous lake, you will understand the reason the Cree have named it Wekusko.

- By Michelle Grimmelt | Photo by Marc Jackson

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