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A Guide To Beautiful Hecla Island, Manitoba


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Carilyn Henshaw



Welcome to the enchanting Hecla Island, a hidden gem nestled in the tranquil waters of Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada. With its breathtaking natural beauty, rich history, and an array of exciting activities, Hecla Island is a paradise for nature lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and those seeking a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.


Hecla Island offers a unique blend of picturesque landscapes, pristine beaches, and charming communities that are sure to captivate your senses. Whether you’re exploring the diverse ecosystem, indulging in outdoor adventures, or simply relaxing on the sandy shores of Lake Winnipeg, every moment spent on Hecla Island is a moment of pure bliss.


With its diverse flora and fauna, Hecla Island serves as a haven for birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts. As you traverse through the network of hiking and biking trails, you’ll encounter a wide variety of bird species and perhaps catch a glimpse of a majestic moose or elusive fox. The island’s untouched beauty and serene atmosphere offer a peaceful retreat for those seeking solace in nature’s embrace.


Immerse yourself in the island’s rich history as you uncover the tales of Indigenous communities and early European settlers who once called Hecla Island their home. Explore the historic Hecla Village, where you can step back in time and learn about the island’s past through interactive exhibits and artifacts. Delve into the stories of the Icelandic settlers who left their mark on the island’s culture and traditions.


Getting to Hecla Island is a breeze, making it an easily accessible destination for travelers from all over. Located just a short drive from Winnipeg, the island can be reached by car or even by ferry, providing a scenic journey across Lake Winnipeg. Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or an extended vacation, Hecla Island welcomes you with open arms.


Once you arrive on Hecla Island, you’ll find a range of accommodation options to suit every preference and budget. From cozy cottages and campgrounds to luxurious resorts and spa retreats, there’s something for everyone. Wake up to the sound of waves crashing against the shore, breathe in the fresh, crisp air, and let the tranquility of Hecla Island envelop you.


In the following sections, we will explore the array of attractions and activities that await you on Hecla Island. From wildlife encounters to delectable dining options, you’ll discover that Hecla Island is brimming with experiences that will create memories to last a lifetime. So, pack your bags, leave your worries behind, and embark on a journey to Hecla Island, where nature’s wonders await.


Location of Hecla Island

Hecla Island is situated in Lake Winnipeg, one of North America’s largest inland freshwater lakes. Located in the province of Manitoba, Canada, Hecla Island is a part of Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park, which covers an area of approximately 1,016 square kilometers.


The island is located near the eastern shore of Lake Winnipeg, about 180 kilometers north of Winnipeg, the capital city of Manitoba. It offers a secluded retreat surrounded by the pristine waters of the lake, making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.


Reaching Hecla Island is uncomplicated and offers a variety of transportation options. If you’re driving from Winnipeg, you can take Provincial Trunk Highway 9 northbound, which will take you through scenic landscapes and charming rural communities. The drive usually takes around two and a half hours, depending on traffic conditions.


Another way to reach Hecla Island is by taking the Hecla/Grindstone Ferry service, which operates from late spring to early fall. The ferry transports vehicles and passengers from the mainland to the island, providing a unique and scenic experience. The ferry ride takes approximately 45 minutes and offers breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding islands.


Once you arrive on Hecla Island, you’ll find yourself in a tranquil paradise surrounded by natural beauty. The island offers a range of activities and attractions that showcase the best that Manitoba’s wilderness has to offer. From sandy beaches to lush forests, Hecla Island is a haven for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, fishing, and wildlife spotting.


The location of Hecla Island also makes it an ideal spot for birdwatchers, as it serves as a stopping point for various migratory bird species. The island’s marshes and wetlands provide a haven for these birds, offering a unique opportunity to observe them in their natural habitat.


Overall, the location of Hecla Island offers a perfect blend of serenity and accessibility. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat or an exciting outdoor adventure, Hecla Island’s location on Lake Winnipeg provides the ideal setting for an unforgettable experience.


History of Hecla Island

Steeped in history, Hecla Island has a fascinating past that tells the tale of Indigenous cultures, early European settlers, and the preservation of Icelandic heritage. The island’s history dates back thousands of years, with evidence of Indigenous presence dating back as far as 6,000 years.


The Anishinaabe people, including the Ojibwe, Cree, and other First Nations tribes, have called this land home for centuries, relying on the bountiful natural resources for their livelihoods and maintaining a strong spiritual connection to the land and waters of Hecla Island.


In the late 1800s, European settlers began to explore and settle in the area. Icelandic immigrants were among the first to arrive, seeking opportunities for farming and fishing. These settlers played a vital role in shaping the cultural heritage of Hecla Island, and their presence is still evident in the island’s traditions and festivals.


During the early 20th century, Hecla Island became a popular destination for tourists and vacationers. The island’s natural beauty and idyllic surroundings attracted visitors from near and far, seeking respite from urban life and a chance to reconnect with nature. This trend continued, and in 1969, Hecla Island became a designated provincial park to preserve its natural and cultural significance.


Today, visitors can explore the rich history of Hecla Island through various attractions and sites. One of the main highlights is Hecla Village, a living museum that showcases the life of early Icelandic settlers through interactive exhibits, restored heritage buildings, and artifacts. Visitors can step back in time and gain an understanding of the challenges and triumphs faced by the early pioneers.


Another significant historical site on the island is Gull Harbour, a former fishing village that served as a bustling hub in the early 20th century. Today, Gull Harbour offers a glimpse into the island’s maritime heritage, with historical markers and remnants of the fishing industry scattered along the shores.


Throughout the year, Hecla Island hosts various events and festivals that celebrate its rich history and cultural heritage. The Icelandic Festival of Manitoba, held annually in August, is a highlight for both locals and visitors. This vibrant festival showcases Icelandic music, dance, food, and traditions, providing an immersive experience of the island’s cultural roots.


As you explore Hecla Island, you’ll be transported back in time and immersed in the stories and traditions that have shaped the island’s identity. The history of Hecla Island is a testament to the resilience of its people and their deep connection to the land and water that surround it.


Getting to Hecla Island

Getting to Hecla Island is a straightforward and enjoyable journey, offering various transportation options for travelers. Whether you’re coming from nearby cities or planning an extended road trip, reaching this picturesque island is a breeze.


If you’re starting your journey from Winnipeg, the capital of Manitoba, you have the option to drive to Hecla Island. The island is located approximately 180 kilometers north of Winnipeg, and the drive usually takes around two and a half hours, depending on traffic conditions. You will take Provincial Trunk Highway 9 northbound, which will lead you through scenic rural areas and charming small towns.


Another unique way to reach Hecla Island is by taking the Hecla/Grindstone Ferry. This ferry service operates from late spring to early fall and offers a scenic and memorable journey across Lake Winnipeg. The ferry can accommodate vehicles, making it convenient for those traveling with cars or motorcycles.


The ferry departs from the mainland and takes passengers and vehicles to Hecla Island. The approximately 45-minute ride provides breathtaking views of the lake, surrounding islands, and the expansive sky. Keep your camera handy, as you may spot wildlife and birds during the journey.


For travelers who prefer to fly, there are airports in Winnipeg that offer domestic and international flights. From the Winnipeg International Airport, you can rent a car or arrange for private transportation to take you to Hecla Island. The drive from the airport to Hecla Island takes around two and a half hours.


Once you arrive on Hecla Island, there are various options for getting around and exploring the area. If you’ve driven to the island, having a car gives you the freedom to conveniently travel between different attractions and activities. The island’s roads are well-maintained, making it easy to navigate.


If you choose not to bring a vehicle, don’t worry! Hecla Island has bicycle rentals available, perfect for exploring the island’s scenic trails and absorbing the natural beauty at your own pace. Walking is also a great option, as the island offers tranquil pathways and walking trails that allow you to connect with nature.


Before planning your trip to Hecla Island, it’s advisable to check for any travel restrictions or additional requirements, as these may vary depending on the season or external factors.


So, whether you’re road-tripping, ferry-hopping, or flying into Winnipeg, getting to Hecla Island is a seamless and enjoyable experience that sets the stage for an unforgettable adventure in this stunning destination.


Accommodations on Hecla Island

Hecla Island offers a range of accommodations to suit every traveler’s needs and preferences. Whether you’re seeking a cozy cottage, a luxurious resort, or a serene campground, you’ll find the perfect place to rest and recharge on this idyllic island.


If you’re yearning for a peaceful escape immersed in nature, camping on Hecla Island is an excellent option. The island has a well-equipped campground, offering both tent and RV sites. Wake up to the sounds of birds chirping, breathe in the fresh air, and enjoy the tranquility of the great outdoors. The campground provides amenities such as washrooms, showers, picnic areas, and fire pits, ensuring a comfortable camping experience.


For those who prefer a bit more comfort and convenience, there are charming cottages available for rent on Hecla Island. These cozy, fully equipped cottages offer the perfect sanctuary after a day of adventure. Relax on the porch, enjoy a barbecue in the backyard, and indulge in the serenity of lakefront living. Many of the cottages provide stunning views of Lake Winnipeg, allowing you to truly immerse yourself in the island’s natural beauty.


If you’re seeking a luxurious getaway, Hecla Island boasts a stunning resort that offers unparalleled comfort and amenities. The resort provides spacious rooms or suites, some with private balconies offering breathtaking lake or forest views. Enjoy the resort’s spa facilities, featuring rejuvenating treatments and massages, or take a dip in the indoor pool. The on-site restaurant serves delectable cuisine crafted from locally sourced ingredients, ensuring a memorable dining experience.


Hecla Island is also home to bed and breakfast establishments, offering a cozy and personalized experience. These charming accommodations provide comfortable rooms, delicious breakfasts, and warm hospitality, allowing you to truly feel at home on the island.


No matter where you choose to stay on Hecla Island, you’ll be surrounded by the island’s natural beauty and tranquility. The accommodations on Hecla Island provide a welcoming and comfortable base for your adventures, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the island’s wonders.


It’s important to note that due to the island’s popularity, especially during peak seasons, it’s advisable to book your accommodations in advance to secure your preferred choice. Whether you’re camping under the stars or indulging in luxury, the accommodations on Hecla Island ensure a memorable and rejuvenating stay on this captivating island.


Attractions and Activities on Hecla Island

Hecla Island offers a plethora of attractions and activities that cater to all interests and ages. From outdoor adventures to cultural experiences, there’s something for everyone on this captivating island.


One of the main highlights of Hecla Island is the breathtaking landscapes and natural beauty that surrounds it. Explore the island’s hiking and biking trails, which wind through lush forests, meadows, and along serene beaches. These trails offer magnificent views and a chance to immerse yourself in the island’s serene atmosphere.


For wildlife enthusiasts, Hecla Island is a paradise. The island is home to diverse flora and fauna, providing ample opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife spotting. Keep your eyes peeled for majestic bald eagles, graceful great blue herons, and elusive moose as you traverse the island’s trails.


History buffs will delight in visiting Hecla Village. This living museum offers a glimpse into the island’s past and the lives of early Icelandic settlers. Explore restored heritage buildings, interactive exhibits, and artifacts that tell the story of the island’s history and cultural heritage.


Enjoy a day of relaxation and rejuvenation at Hecla Island’s spa and wellness retreat. Indulge in a range of therapies and treatments, from massages to facials, designed to restore balance and harmony to your body and mind. Take a soak in the outdoor hot tubs and let the calming sounds of nature envelop you.


If you’re an avid angler or simply enjoy casting a line, Hecla Island is a haven for fishing enthusiasts. The island’s surrounding waters are teeming with various fish species, including walleye, northern pike, and perch. Spend a day on the water, casting your line, and savoring the peacefulness of the lake.


For those seeking adventure, Hecla Island offers thrilling water sports activities. Rent a kayak or canoe and explore the hidden coves and inlets of Lake Winnipeg. Test your balance and core strength with paddleboarding or try your hand at windsurfing. The vast expanse of the lake provides the perfect playground for aquatic adventures.


Immerse yourself in the local culture by attending one of the festivals or events held on Hecla Island. The Icelandic Festival of Manitoba is a highlight, celebrating the island’s Icelandic heritage with music, dance, food, and traditional Viking games. Experience the vibrant culture and warm hospitality of the island’s inhabitants.


As you explore the attractions and activities on Hecla Island, take the time to pause and soak in the beauty of your surroundings. Marvel at the expansive skies, pristine beaches, and the feeling of being connected to nature in its purest form. Whether you’re seeking adventure or tranquility, Hecla Island offers an array of experiences that will leave you with memories to cherish.


Wildlife and Nature on Hecla Island

Hecla Island is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers, offering a diverse and pristine ecosystem that showcases the beauty of Manitoba’s natural heritage. From the moment you step foot on the island, you’ll be surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, a rich variety of flora, and an abundance of wildlife.


The island’s untouched beauty serves as a refuge for numerous bird species, making it a paradise for birdwatchers. As you explore the hiking trails and meander along the shoreline, you’ll have the opportunity to spot a wide range of avian species. Keep an eye out for majestic bald eagles soaring above the treetops, elegant great blue herons wading in the marshes, and a variety of migratory birds that pass through during their seasonal journeys. Binoculars in hand, you’ll be able to observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.


In addition to the avian inhabitants, Hecla Island is home to various land animals, both large and small. Meandering through the dense forests, you may catch a glimpse of a majestic moose as it grazes on the vegetation or encounter a curious fox darting through the underbrush. It’s important to approach these wild animals with caution and respect their space to ensure their safety and yours.


The waters surrounding Hecla Island are teeming with life as well. Fishing enthusiasts will find ample opportunities to cast their lines and reel in a variety of fish species. Burrfish, northern pike, walleye, and perch are just a few examples of the fish that can be found in the surrounding lakes and rivers. Enjoy a day of angling on the tranquil waters and savor the thrill of a successful catch.


Hecla Island’s ecosystem extends beyond the land and waters. The island boasts diverse vegetation, including forests, meadows, wetlands, and sandy beaches. Explore the network of trails that wind through these diverse habitats, and discover an array of plant life, from vibrant wildflowers to towering trees. Breathe in the crisp, fresh air, and allow the island’s natural beauty to envelop you.


To fully appreciate the wildlife and nature on Hecla Island, it’s essential to practice responsible and sustainable tourism. Respect the natural environment by adhering to designated trails, disposing of waste properly, and avoiding disturbance to the wildlife. By doing so, you’ll ensure the preservation and continued enjoyment of Hecla Island for generations to come.


Whether you’re an avid birder, a nature enthusiast, or simply seeking solace in the beauty of the natural world, Hecla Island’s wildlife and nature provide an unforgettable experience. Leave behind the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immerse yourself in the tranquility and wonder of this captivating island.


Dining Options on Hecla Island

When it comes to dining on Hecla Island, you’ll find a variety of options that cater to every palate. From cozy cafes to gourmet restaurants, the island offers an array of culinary experiences that will satisfy your cravings after a day of exploring and adventure.


For a casual and laid-back dining experience, head to one of the island’s charming cafes or bistros. Enjoy a steaming cup of locally roasted coffee or indulge in a delicious homemade treat while soaking in the serene atmosphere. These cozy establishments often offer a selection of light meals and snacks, perfect for a quick bite or a leisurely lunch.


If you’re seeking a more refined dining experience, you’ll find upscale restaurants on Hecla Island that showcase the region’s finest cuisine. These establishments feature menus crafted with locally sourced ingredients, ensuring a fresh and flavorful dining experience. From succulent seafood caught from the surrounding waters to mouthwatering meats and vegetarian options, the island’s restaurants offer a diverse range of dishes to satisfy even the most discerning palate.


Many of the restaurants on Hecla Island pride themselves on incorporating the island’s cultural heritage into their menus. You’ll find dishes inspired by Icelandic traditions, showcasing the influence of the early settlers on the island’s culinary scene. Sample delectable Icelandic specialties such as smoked Arctic char, deliciously seasoned lamb, or satisfy your sweet tooth with traditional Icelandic pastries.


For those who prefer a more leisurely dining experience, many of the accommodations on Hecla Island also offer on-site dining options. Enjoy a romantic dinner overlooking the lake, savoring a carefully crafted menu created by talented chefs. Whether it’s a multi-course meal or a casual dinner, these dining options offer convenience and a chance to indulge in the island’s culinary delights without leaving your accommodation.


It’s worth noting that the island’s dining options may vary depending on the season and availability. It’s always a good idea to check the operating hours and make reservations in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons.


After a satisfying meal, take a stroll along the shores of Lake Winnipeg, watching the sky transform into vibrant hues as the sun sets over the horizon. The natural beauty surrounding the island sets the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable dining experience.


Whether you’re craving a quick bite, a gourmet feast, or a taste of local flavors, the dining options on Hecla Island are sure to satisfy your culinary desires. Allow your taste buds to embark on a journey of flavors and indulge in the island’s gastronomic delights.


Shopping on Hecla Island

While Hecla Island may be known for its natural beauty and outdoor activities, it also offers a unique shopping experience for visitors. From local handicrafts to specialty items, the island’s shops and boutiques provide an opportunity to find a special souvenir or catch a glimpse of the island’s artistic and cultural offerings.


One of the main shopping destinations on Hecla Island is the Hecla Village. This historic village is not only a living museum but also home to various shops and boutiques that showcase local craftsmanship. Browse through a selection of handmade jewelry, pottery, art, and textiles, crafted by local artisans. These unique pieces are a wonderful way to bring a part of Hecla Island’s charm and creativity back home with you.


In addition to the shops in Hecla Village, there are also some boutique stores scattered across the island. These boutique stores offer a curated selection of clothing, accessories, and home decor items, often highlighting local designs and products. Whether you’re looking for a new outfit for your island adventures or a special gift for a loved one, these boutiques provide a diverse range of items to suit your style.


Hecla Island is also known for its agricultural heritage, and you can find locally produced goods at some of the island’s shops. From freshly baked bread and pastries to preserves and handmade candies, these shops offer a taste of the island’s culinary delights. Take the opportunity to sample local delicacies or stock up on ingredients to create your own culinary creations.


During the summer months, the island’s local farmers’ market comes to life. Held at various locations, the farmers’ market provides an opportunity to purchase fresh produce, artisanal food products, and handmade crafts directly from the local producers. Stroll through the market, engage with the friendly vendors, and experience the vibrant atmosphere as you support the local economy.


When visiting Hecla Island, it’s important to note that the shopping options may have limited operating hours and are subject to seasonal availability. It’s recommended to check the schedules and plan accordingly to make the most of your shopping experience.


Whether you’re looking for a unique souvenir, a piece of local artwork, or a taste of the island’s culinary offerings, the shopping options on Hecla Island provide a chance to bring a little piece of the island’s charm back with you. Explore the shops, support local artisans, and discover treasures that will serve as a reminder of your unforgettable time on Hecla Island.


Events and Festivals on Hecla Island

Hecla Island is not just a destination for natural beauty and outdoor adventures; it also comes alive with a vibrant calendar of events and festivals throughout the year. From cultural celebrations to live music and everything in between, these events offer an opportunity to immerse yourself in the island’s unique charm and vibrant community spirit.


One of the most highly anticipated events on Hecla Island is the Icelandic Festival of Manitoba, held annually in August. This festival celebrates the island’s Icelandic heritage and showcases the rich cultural traditions of the early settlers. Visitors can enjoy live music performances featuring Icelandic folk music and contemporary bands, watch traditional Icelandic dance performances, and participate in Viking-themed games and competitions. The festival also offers a wide array of delicious Icelandic food and drinks, providing a truly immersive experience of the island’s cultural roots.


In addition to the Icelandic Festival, Hecla Island hosts various other events throughout the year, catering to different interests and passions. Live music concerts, featuring local and regional musicians, bring the island’s small venues to life, offering an intimate and enchanting experience. From folk and jazz to rock and country, the diverse music scene on Hecla Island offers something for every music lover.


For nature enthusiasts, Hecla Island hosts wildlife-focused events and workshops, allowing participants to learn about the island’s flora and fauna from knowledgeable guides. These events provide opportunities for birdwatching, nature walks, and educational sessions that promote a deeper understanding and appreciation for the island’s natural wonders.


The local community also organizes seasonal events that showcase the island’s agricultural heritage and seasonal festivities. From spring and fall harvest festivals to Christmas markets, these events celebrate the island’s close-knit community and offer a chance for visitors to engage with the local culture. Enjoy live entertainment, browse through local crafts and products, and soak up the festive atmosphere.


It’s important to note that the dates and availability of events and festivals may vary from year to year, so it’s advisable to check the local event calendars and plan your visit accordingly. Additionally, some events may require advance registration or have limited capacity, so it’s recommended to secure your spot in advance.


Attending events and festivals on Hecla Island provides a unique opportunity to connect with the local community, celebrate the island’s cultural heritage, and create lasting memories. Whether you’re dancing to Icelandic folk music, enjoying live performances, or indulging in local cuisine, these events add an extra layer of excitement and vibrancy to your Hecla Island experience.



Hecla Island is a remarkable destination that encapsulates the best of Manitoba’s natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant community. This hidden gem on the shores of Lake Winnipeg offers a sanctuary for outdoor enthusiasts, a connection to Indigenous cultures, and a chance to immerse oneself in the tranquility of nature. From the moment you arrive, you’ll be captivated by the island’s breathtaking landscapes, diverse wildlife, and warm hospitality.


Whether you’re exploring the network of scenic trails, discovering the island’s history at Hecla Village, or indulging in the culinary delights at the local restaurants, Hecla Island offers unforgettable experiences for every traveler. The island’s attractions and activities cater to a variety of interests, from outdoor adventures like hiking, biking, and fishing to cultural experiences that celebrate the island’s Icelandic heritage.


Hecla Island’s natural wonders truly come to life through its diverse wildlife and lush natural surroundings. Marvel at the graceful flight of bald eagles, spot elusive moose in the forests, and listen to the calming sounds of waves crashing against the shore. The island’s unspoiled beauty provides a true escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.


As you explore Hecla Island, you’ll also have the opportunity to engage with the vibrant community that calls this island home. Attend the Icelandic Festival of Manitoba, where you’ll be immersed in the island’s cultural heritage through music, dance, and traditional Viking games. Interact with the friendly locals at the farmers’ market or enjoy live performances by local musicians, and feel the warmth and camaraderie that permeates this close-knit community.


When the time comes to rest and unwind, the accommodations on Hecla Island provide a range of options, from cozy cottages to luxurious resorts, ensuring a comfortable and rejuvenating stay. And when hunger strikes, the island’s dining options tantalize your taste buds with a combination of local flavors and international cuisines.


In conclusion, Hecla Island is a destination that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and enchanting experiences. From the moment you set foot on this island paradise, you’ll be captivated by its charm and immersed in a world of serenity and wonder. So pack your bags, embark on a journey to Hecla Island, and allow yourself to be transported to a place where breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and warm hospitality await.