Discover Wapusk National Park

Situated along the shores of Hudson Bay in northern Manitoba, Canada, Wapusk National Park is a testament to the subarctic landscape’s breathtaking beauty and ecological significance. Encompassing over 11,000 square kilometers of pristine wilderness, this protected area is a crucial refuge for diverse wildlife, particularly emphasising its role as a critical denning habitat for polar bears.

Beyond its iconic inhabitants, Wapusk National Park boasts a rich tapestry of biodiversity, including Arctic foxes, wolves, caribou, and countless bird species. The park’s wetlands, tundra, and boreal forest ecosystems provide vital habitat for these creatures, contributing to the region’s ecological health and resilience in the face of climate change.


Top 3 Facts About Wapusk National Park


Polar Bear Population

Wapusk National Park is home to one of the world’s largest known polar bear maternity denning areas, with approximately 1,000 bears inhabiting the region during winter.


Distinct Seasons

The park experiences extreme seasonal variations, ranging from -40°C in the winter to 30°C in the summer. This dramatic shift in climate contributes to the unique biodiversity of the region.


Protected Wetlands

Within its boundaries, Wapusk National Park safeguards over 3,475 square kilometers of wetlands, vital breeding grounds for numerous waterfowl species, including snow geese and tundra swans.

Camping and transportation in Wapusk National Park

info_iconBackcountry camping permits required for wilderness camping opportunities.

How to Get to Wapusk National Park

Have you ever dreamed of adventuring to a remote, wildlife-rich destination? Wapusk National Park, accessible only through the small, northern town of Churchill, is calling your name! Here’s how you can make that journey to see the polar bears and the incredible northern sights:

  • By Air: Since Wapusk is a remote location without road access, you’ll likely start your journey by catching a flight to Churchill from Winnipeg. This remarkable town is your stepping stone to the park.
  • Via Rail: Fancy a more scenic route? Via Rail has got you covered! Enjoy the ride from various points within Canada to both Churchill and Gillam. Trains offer a laid-back alternative to reach the vicinity of Wapusk. But remember, from there, you need another mode of transport actually to enter the park.
  • Driving: Gillam is your last stop accessible by Provincial Road 280 from Thompson. After that, cars won’t do the trick to reach Churchill or Wapusk—it’s the land of trains and planes from there!
  • With Tour Operators: Once in Churchill, join forces with licensed tour operators for the final leg of your journey. Access to Wapusk National Park is mainly by licensed commercial tour operators in Churchill. Whether by helicopter for breathtaking aerial views or specialized vehicles, these pros will guide you safely.

Places to Stay Near Wapusk National Park

While Wapusk National Park does not offer formal camping facilities or accommodations due to its protected status and remote location, there are several options for lodging and camping nearby:

  • Churchill, Manitoba: Churchill, located approximately 45 kilometers southwest of Wapusk National Park, offers various accommodations, including hotels, bed and breakfasts, and lodges. Visitors can stay in Churchill and arrange guided tours or excursions to explore the park.
  • Churchill Wildlife Management Area: This area, adjacent to Wapusk National Park, offers camping opportunities for those seeking a more rustic experience. Camping permits may be required, and visitors should be prepared for primitive camping conditions.
  • Churchill River: There are camping spots along the Churchill River, which flows near the park. Some tour operators offer guided canoe trips along the river with camping included.
  • Mobile Lodges: Some tour operators in Churchill offer mobile lodge accommodations, which are movable accommodations that can be positioned strategically for wildlife viewing, including near Wapusk National Park.
  • Lodges and Wilderness Resorts: Several wilderness lodges and resorts are located in the region surrounding Wapusk National Park, offering comfortable accommodations and guided wildlife experiences. These lodges may offer transportation to and from the park for day trips or excursions.
Car Icon


Public Bus


Parking Icon


Best Time to Go to Wapusk National Park



Summer brings a thaw and, with it, a whole new park experience. Temperatures can range from -10°C to a toasty 35°C. It’s a rare season when the hardy arctic wildlife and visitors can enjoy longer daylight under the subarctic sun.

  • Weather: Mild to warm, longer daylight hours
  • Wildlife: Birds in abundance, and animals like the elusive wolverine


Winter spans from October to early May, not for the faint of heart. You’re looking at temperatures plummeting to -50°C in the deep winter months of December and January. But, for those brave enough, the frozen landscape is mesmerizing.

  • Weather: Extremely cold, snow-covered
  • Wildlife: Hardy winter species, few visitors dare to come


In Spring, the park is a nursery for wildlife. March and April are prime if you want to glimpse polar bear cubs as they emerge from their dens. It’s chilly and still snowy, but that’s when the magic happens!

  • Weather: Cold, with snow
  • Wildlife: Polar bear cubs, birds starting their migrations
Fall icon


Come October, you’re in for a treat. Fall is polar bear season! As the mercury drops, these majestic creatures start moving towards the coast, offering an unparalleled wildlife spectacle. Bundle up, because it’s getting colder!

  • Weather: Cooling down, with chances of snowstorms
  • Wildlife: Polar bears migrating, other species preparing for winter

Must-See Attractions

See all

Polar Bears

Witnessing polar bears in their natural habitat is the highlight of any visit to Wapusk National Park. Join a guided tour during the winter months to observe these magnificent creatures emerging from their dens with their newborn cubs.

Northern Lights

Experience the awe-inspiring beauty of the northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis. Wapusk National Park’s remote location and dark skies provide excellent opportunities for viewing this natural phenomenon, especially during winter.

Hudson Bay Coastline

Explore the rugged coastline of Hudson Bay, which borders Wapusk National Park to the east. Look for wildlife such as seals, beluga whales, and migratory birds while taking in the stunning views of the bay.

Helpful Tips: Making the Most of Your Adventure to Wapusk National Park

Plan Ahead

Plan Ahead

Research available tour operators and accommodations in nearby communities like Churchill well in advance. Tours to Wapusk National Park often fill up quickly, especially during peak seasons.

Pack Appropriately

Dress Appropriately

Winters in Wapusk National Park are freezing, with temperatures often dropping below freezing. Wear warm layers, including thermal underwear, insulated outerwear, hats, gloves, and waterproof boots. In summer, bring clothing suitable for variable weather conditions.

Respect Wildlife

Be Bear Aware

Polar bears frequent the area, especially in winter and early spring. Always follow your tour guide’s guidelines and safety protocols. Never approach or disturb wildlife; carry bear deterrents such as bear spray, if recommended.

Stay Informed

Choose the Right Time

The best time to visit Wapusk National Park is during winter (late October to early May) when polar bear mothers emerge from their dens with cubs. However, summer and fall also offer unique opportunities for birdwatching and experiencing the subarctic wilderness.

wapusk national park2 scaled
wapusk national park3 scaled

Frequently Asked Questions about Wapusk National Park

This park is a haven for polar bears, especially in late autumn when mother bears and cubs are frequently spotted. Besides the majestic polar bears, you can marvel at various bird species and, with some luck, spot the elusive Arctic fox or a herd of caribou traversing the tundra.

Getting to Wapusk National Park is an adventure in itself. The town of Churchill serves as the gateway to the park and can be reached by plane or train. Once there, access to the park is primarily by helicopter or authorized tundra vehicle, as there are no roads directly into the park.

You can snap award-worthy wildlife photos, join guided tours to learn about the park’s ecology, or if you’re visiting during the right season, experience the magical northern lights. Wildlife viewing is particularly popular, with polar bear and beluga whale encounters being the star attractions.

Brace yourself for subarctic climate magic in Wapusk National Park. Summers are short and cool, while winters are long and brutally cold, so pack accordingly. Layers are your best friend here, as temperatures can vary significantly. If you’re visiting in the polar bear season, gear up for chilly winds and possible snow.

Conservation is key in Wapusk National Park. Parks Canada and indigenous and local partners proactively monitor wildlife and ecosystems to protect this unique environment. Efforts include scientific research, managing tourism’s footprint, and ensuring the park’s wildlife thrives. Together, they’re tackling challenges like climate change and preserving this natural wonder for generations to come.

Indeed, Wapusk National Park showcases the Hudson Bay Lowlands, one of the largest wetland areas on the planet. This vast peatland ecosystem is critical for carbon storage, water filtration, and as a habitat for its diverse flora and fauna. When trekking through this breathtaking landscape, you’re walking on ancient ground – how cool is that?

Rent a Property

Looking for a cottage in Manitoba?

Find a Property

Become a Host

Want to list your Manitoba cottage? Get started here.

List a Property

Sign In


Reset Password

Please enter your username or email address, you will receive a link to create a new password via email.