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.
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.....