Trails through Manitoba

This is not an exhaustive list but a note about some of the  trails that settlers followed through western Manitoba.

Saskatchewan Ox-Cart Trail
Before the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, this trail was probably the most used trail in Western Canadian exploration and expansion. Originally an old native hunting trial, it was used extensively by the Metis during their annual buffalo hunts; in the 1840's the Hudson's Bay Company used it as a regular transport route for the famous ox-cart trains, explorers, government officials, fur traders, missionaries, North-West Mounted Police, surveyors, settlers, and even a
stage-coach company all used this trail before the construction of the railway in the early 1880's put an end to its significance.  Part of it probably still existed in the 1980s where it crossed several of the creeks in the Neepawa district, where the land has not yet been disturbed.

The Burrow's Trail
Also known as the Neepawa Road, this trail was developed by the Dominion Government (now, the Govt. of Canada) to facilitate the settlement of the Dauphin region, during the 1890's.  Between 1891 and 1903 a regular stage-coach service transported mail and passengers to various points along its length.  It was used extensively until the Canadian National
Railway was constructed through the area in 1902. The route of this trail originally followed the Arden ridge to the
"Birnie Corner," then followed the foot of the Riding Mountain to McCreary, and beyond. The "Neepawa Road" portion, between Neepawa and Birnie was constructed in 1895, after which Neepawa became the departure point for most of the traffic along the trail. Highway No. 3 between Neepawa and Eden ws constructed along the same route as the "Neepawa Road" potion, and parallels the remainder of the trail quite closely.

The Carberry Trail and "Lang's Ford" (Langford)
Although the Carberry Trail was used regularly for only a few years, it nevertheless played an important role in the early development of the district. The trail was developed by the early settlers in 1881 and used to transport freight and supplies to and from the new CPR rail head at Carberry. The trail was used regularly, until the construction of the Manitoba and North-Western Railway into Neepawa in 1883.  The exact route is no longer visible, but it is known it cross the Whitemud River on NW 26-13-15, the the homestead of a Mr. John Lang.  He apparently constructed a pole bridge at the crossing and the site became known as Lang's Ford.  This was the name adopted when the Langford Municipality was formed.

Kerr's Mill - Huns' Valley Trail
In the early years of settlement, George Kerr, a prominent Franklin District settler, established this trail as a supply route to his saw-mill operations at Kerr Lake.  The trail followed the Neepawa Creek Valley as far as Polonia and then across country to Kerr Lake.  It seems reasonable to assume that the portion of this trail along the valley was an old Indian trail.  When the Hun's Valley settlement was being established during the 1800's the lower portion of Kerr's trail became better known as the Hun's Valley Trail, and was the only route to the colony for years.  Traces of this trail may still exist.

McFayden's Trail
This trail was developed by David McFayden, of the Birnie District as a mill trail to his saw-mill operations in the upper reaches of the Big Valley.  In the early 1890's, McFayden previously had a number of saw-mills along the Minnedosa River, and was well known throughout the district.  This trail served many lumbering operations over the years and was well known locally.  It also probably had origins as an old Indian hunting trail.  Portions of this trail still exist beyond the boundaries of the Riding Mountain National Park. The original marker was a heavy wooden cairn, whose inscription included the Miller name.  A new plaque was erected in 1967 in celebration of Canada's 100th Birthday.  It was so placed to mark Miller's Halfway House because it was halfway between Palestine (Gladstone) and Tanner's Crossing (Minnedosa).  Along this trail where it crossed "Stoney Creek was another stopping place.  A crude way-station dug-out was set up.  A settler by the name of Sewell existed by cooking and serving meals to travellers.  It was about 2 miles east of the present townsite of Franklin (By 1997, Franklin no longer existed).

...and so the  settlers came west.....

From "The Story of Beautiful Plains" written by Irene Lawrence Richards,
dau. of George Lawrence Kellington, gdau. of William Stevens.  Lawrence
and Kellington came west in a part of settlers out from Ontario in the
spring of 1879.
"At noon of the second day, after a particularly wet and boggy stretch,
they met an east-bound cart and George Kellington asked the driver," Is
the road ahead all as wet as this?"
"Young man," replied the stranger, "water on the trail ahead will
average anywhere from your ankles to your navel."
The special trains of Red River carts were a great interest.  Mr. John Grover of Birnie described a train of these he saw being loaded for a western trip in 1878:  "This train of carts was in the charge of Ambrose Lepine, a big, burley, French Metis, who had been one of Louis Riel's chief lieutenants in the fracas of 1870.  There were about 15 carts, 800 lbs. being a load, and were hauled by an ox or Indian pony, and as many more loose animals were taken along to replace the ones hitched up, when tired, all in charge of three or four men on horseback....These carts were built entirely of wood....and as they were never greased you could hear them long before you could see them...The freight rate for these trains was one cent per mile per hundred pounds so that a sack of flour selling in Winnipeg then at $2 would cost $3 at Gladstone." At Woodside (Second Crossing) they camped for two days and here they met fellow travellers named Rutledge. Crossing the river appeared to be a hazardous undertaking, for water covered much of the approach to the crude bridge. George and Bob Little offered to take Mrs. Rutledge and her child across.  Their oxen were used to the trail and this was soon accomplished, but when Mr. Rutledge and his brother-in-law started across with a load of supplies, the oxen got off the trail and all were swept away by the strong current of the rain-swollen river.  It seems as if all would be lost.  Mr. Rutledge, however, managed to reach the opposite shore and his brother-in-law was miraculously caught in a clump of willows and rescued.  In the meantime, the oxen, swimming strongly, reached the river bank with only the front wheels of the wagon."