Rainbow Falls is a popular spot in the Whiteshell Provincial Park for swimming, fishing and enjoying scenery while sunbathing. The falls are located on the Whiteshell River, which links Jessica Lake and White Lake and is one of two falls on this short stretch of river. The other falls (Reed Falls) are manmade.
When you arrive at the falls, you'll notice a number of warning signs about the dangerous undertow and hidden rocks. Those signs are very true, however, it is possible to swim in the falls safely. If you haven't swam in the falls before, your best bet is to watch some other people before you venture in. You can safely jump off the falls and even hang off while holding on to a little ledge. The water at the bottom of the falls is at the most six feet deep (and as shallow as 2-3 feet) and there are lots of hidden rocks so scope out everything before you jump. Just BE CAREFUL!
If you aren't feeling that brave, Rainbow Falls is an excellent place to birdwatch and fish. The later in the summer you go, the less water is typically flowing over. So you can safely walk across the edge of the falls to the other side. Remember, the closer you get to the edge of the falls, the easier it is to walk. Also, slide your feet, don't take them out of the water.
My husband and his family spent many summer days swimming in the falls and never got hurt, but you can't be too careful.
One of the great things about the Whiteshell is its extensive trail system. There are a variety of different lengths and difficulties, depending on what you are looking for. Several lakes in the Whiteshell aren't accessible by road, but you can get to them by hiking/biking several kilometres, or portaging a few kilometres from a more accessible lake with a boat launch. Taking a trip to these remote lakes is very rewarding because when you get there, chances are you'll be the only people there.
In the winter, many of these trails are used for snowmobilies. There are maps available at the various lodges and stores in the park and in Rennie.
Nutimik Lake is really a widening of the Winnipeg River, (a historic waterway which runs from Lake of the Woods to Lake Winnipeg). Nutimik is within Whiteshell Provincial Park which means that the park is primarily intended for nature preservation and the enjoyment of vacationers.
In 2008, park entry is $28 for a season pass ($7 for a daily/weekend pass)
Whiteshell Provincial park has numerous beaches. Nutimik Lake has three public beaches plus all the lakeside cottages have swimming off their docks. Whiteshell Provincial park has 200 lakes - a lot of choice for swimming.
As well there are a lot of motor boat launch sites. Also a number of lakes are only open to canoes -- probably as they are only accessible over a portage.
According to the park literature, there are petroforms at a number of sites in the Whiteshell. I visited the petroforms with the easiest access (at Bannock Point). A five minute walk down a path leads you to the start of the Petroform site.
The area is bedrock, scraped clean by glaciers long ago. On the bedrock people have laid out stones or rocks in the shapes of turtles, snakes, and figures I can't identify. Parks literature states that the petroforms were believed to have been made centuries ago by aboriginal people. The area is a spiritual site for natives which can be determined by viewing the offerings of cloth and tobacco left behind.
During the summer, interpreters offer tours of this site. I missed the tour as they started at 10am, and I visited, walked around and left before 8:30am (less bugs and less heat earlier in the morning).
By the way, you have to take note of which way the shadows were facing. There are no paths on top of the bedrock and only a few unmarked footprints between the bedrocks, so it is easy to get lost. At 8am in August anyways one walks towards the sun when looking for the petroforms, and with the sun at your back when trying to find the trail back to your car.
This free museum has displays of topics local to the area, both historical and natural. For instance it describes the original inhabitants of the area and there are some accessible petroforms near by. There are also displays about the Winnipeg River, as well as the Boreal forest that the park envelopes, about wild rice that grows locally, about sturgeon (an ancient fish threatened with extinction) and other local animals and birds. The museum is open from June until the September long weekend.
We had miserable weather one weekend that we spent with friends at Nutimik Lake. When it quit raining we went for a walk and found this rainbow (you can see it better if you enlarge it).
Whiteshell Provincial Park is in the Canadian Shield which means you can see lots of glacier-smoothed rock -- Check out the second and third pictures.