Along the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border, a range of hills known as the Manitoba Escarpment runs primarily north-south. They were created by glacial erosion at the end of the last ice age and formed the western shore of prehistoric Lake Agassiz. The range is separated into four distinct sets of hills. To the north are the Pasquaia Hills and Porcupine Hills, and to the south is Riding Mountain. Situated between Porcupine Hills and Riding Mountain is Duck Mountain.
Duck Mountain has the largest hills in Manitoba. It is here where you can find the highest point in Manitoba, Baldy Mountain. Baldy Mountain is 832 meters above sea level. Getting to the top of Baldy Mountain is incredibly easy. No hiking is required. You can drive all the way there by following Provincial Road 366 from Grandview to the Baldy Mountain turn-off. Once you arrive you are greeted by a sign that reads “Highest Elevation in Manitoba”. Drive past the sign and keep going up the hill. Eventually, you will reach a parking area with an old cabin, observation tower and a short hiking trail on one side, and a broadcasting tower on the other.
If you Climb to the top of the tower, which is about 50 feet high, you will have a good view of the surrounding landscape. By looking south-west you can see the elevation slowly drop at the edge of the escarpment and the aspen, poplar, spruce, and fir forest can be seen stretching out to the edge of the horizon.
The cabin near the observation tower was used as a home to those who worked as fire spotters during spring, summer and fall. This cabin was actually not the first cabin to be built here, but the third. The first cabin no longer exists.
The second cabin built on Baldy Mountain can be found 300 meters south of the lookout tower. You can also find an old stable nearby. This cabin and stable were both built in 1925. The cabin was built further away from the lookout tower so that water sources could be more easily accessed. There is a small pond and creek one kilometre south of here. The pond contains an old beaver lodge.
The hiking trail at the top of Baldy Mountain goes from the lookout tower to the cabin and stables, then to the pond, and then finally loops back around back to the lookout tower. The trail length is just under 3 kilometres and is a relatively easy hike, but there are some elevation changes. The trail is mainly grass. At the time of my visit to this site, there were two spots that were wet and required balancing on logs to cross.
Do Saskatchewan next. Wait, do they even have a high point?
Saskatchewan’s highest point is literally in the middle of a farmer’s field.
Great article Shayne. Wish they would do more to preserve those old cabins.