Located within Nopiming Provincial Park lies a secret waterfall few people have heard of. The falls run a horizontal distance of almost 80 meters (262 feet) and drop a total of 10 meters (30 feet) in elevation. Officially the falls have been named Thirty Foot Falls, after their vertical elevation change.
Getting to the falls is not straightforward. The journey there involves a long drive to Nopiming Provincial Park, hiking along an old logging road, and finally bushwhacking through the untamed wilderness.
Once you get to Nopiming, and are at the turn-off on Provincial Road 315, it’s an 18-kilometre journey to Thirty Foot Falls. The first 5 kilometres is a good quality road which is used to access the local cabins. This can be driven down. Eventually, you reach a point where there is a bit of a clearing, with a sign that says “no trucks.” Not far after this, a ditch has been dug across the road, preventing everyone other than foot traffic and quads from entering. From this point, it’s another 13 kilometres to the falls, a journey that would need to be taken by quad, foot, or mountain bike. Most of the journey from this point is along an old logging road, which makes for easy hiking.
I hiked from the ditch to the falls. Round trip, the distance was about 26 kilometres. It was an all-day affair, and I barely made it back to the vehicle before dark. Bringing along a mountain bike would have made the journey a lot less time-consuming.
While most of the logging road was in good condition, there were a few spots that went through lower areas where the road turned to mud. There was also one area where the only thing protecting the road from flooding was an old beaver dam, which was about 500 meters in length!
The trail passed through some beautiful areas. There were some interesting swampland, forested hills, ponds and beaver lodges. I was fortunate enough to even see a wolverine on the shoreline of one of the ponds. Sadly it disappeared before I could get a picture.
About 2 kilometres from the falls a small quad trail splits off from the road. I took this trail to get closer to the falls. The further down it you go, the smaller and smaller it gets.
After several hundred meters of hiking down the quad trail, I ended up leaving the trail and heading east through the forest. There was no trail here, but I used the GPS on my phone, along with preloaded satellite maps, to navigate through the forest. The satellite imagery let me follow along the Canadian Shield rock, so I could avoid as much bushwhacking as possible. The views here were pretty incredible, especially because I knew not many people have ever walked through this area before.
After approximately half an hour of hiking through the woods, I could hear the sound of a waterfall in the distance. I was excited to have finally found it! As expected the amount of flow the falls had at this time of the year (end of October) was not very high. Even with the limited amount of water, the falls were beautiful. Due to their length of 90 meters, it was almost impossible to get the entire falls in one photo.
Like most Manitoba waterfalls, there is not a lot of water flow during the Autumn months. In fact, I was lucky that there was any at this time of year, considering it was almost November. I hope to go back again in spring to see what the falls look like when the water level is much higher. Just like Mcgillivray Falls, I expect there to be a drastic difference between water levels in spring and fall.
On the way out, the sun began to set. Fortunately, finding my way back wasn’t an issue because the logging road was easy to follow.
Below are a few maps of my adventure. The first one is the entire trip from Road 315 to the falls. The second one is where the road stops, and only quads, bikes and foot traffic can enter. The third is where I split off from the road and followed the quad trail. On that map, the spot where the trail takes a sharp right is where I left the quad trail and started heading through the bush.
Keep in mind that if you are tempted to attempt this journey, it’s an incredibly long distance, and it’s easy to get lost in the woods without proper equipment.