Compiled by the Road Trip Manitoba team
Last updated on February 23, 2022
Referred to as the “Hub of the North”, Thompson, Manitoba is a fantastic city to explore, especially if you love the outdoors. It’s also true to its name, as it is indeed a great hub for making your way to other destinations in the province, including Churchill. Thankfully, there are many transportation options between Thompson and Winnipeg, Manitoba’s capital and largest city. But how do you get from Winnipeg to Thompson?
We’ve outlined all possible routes and options for you to travel between Winnipeg and Thompson below. Whether that’s by driving, catching a flight, or otherwise, read on for the complete guide. We’ve also included a few fun things to do along the way, as well as some quick tips for your arrival in Thompson!
Manitoba is made up of Treaty 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 Territory, as well as communities that are signatories to Treaty 6 and Treaty 10. Manitoba is home to the original lands of the Anishinaabe, Anish-Ininiwak, Dakota, Dene, Ininiwak, and Nehethowuk peoples, as well as the homeland of the Métis peoples.
About the Route
Thompson is the largest city in the Northern Region of Manitoba and the sixth largest city in the province. This beautiful part of Canada has access to some of the country’s most fascinating wildlife and landscapes, especially if you love the remote beauty of nearly untouched provincial parks, hiking trails, waterfalls, beaches, and so much more. Whether you’re in Thompson on a business trip or for an adventurous holiday, it’s well worth a visit.
Thankfully, the route from Winnipeg to Thompson is fairly straightforward. Thompson is approximately 760 kilometres north of Winnipeg, and takes an average of 7.5 hours in optimal driving conditions. Flying is also straightforward, with many direct flights from Winnipeg to Thompson per week.
Winnipeg to Thompson by Car
Driving from Winnipeg to Thompson is relatively easy. The fastest route to Thompson from Winnipeg is the MB-6 North, taking you past both Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg. Obviously, having your own vehicle is extremely helpful in this situation, but it’s also possible to rent a car in Winnipeg and drive to Thompson that way.
From downtown Winnipeg, you’ll need to get on Route 90 to connect to the Manitoba 101W/Perimeter Highway. From there, you can easily connect to MB-6N and follow that all the way to Thompson. This is by far the fastest and most convenient route from Winnipeg to Thompson. Driving north on the MB-6, you will see very clear road signs directing you toward Thompson. After approximately 760 kilometres or about seven to eight hours of driving, you’ll see very obvious signs for the exits for the city of Thompson. In other words, you can’t miss it!
If you want to rent a car in Winnipeg, there are a few companies that offer car hires. Enterprise, Avis, Hertz, and U-Drive Car Rental are all found in Winnipeg, with a few locations around the city for convenience (including at the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport).
Driving in winter in Manitoba can be challenging, especially if you’re not used to driving in snow or on icy roads. Make sure the car you’re driving has the proper tires for the weather conditions (snow tires or all-weather tires) and always check the weather conditions before you head out on your trip. In summer, be aware that road construction may slow your journey down.
It’s an obvious statement, but a necessary one: you’ll need a valid driver’s license to drive in Canada. If you don’t have a Canadian driver’s license, you’ll need to check if an International Driver’s Permit is needed. American driver’s licenses are usually accepted in Canada, but you should always double-check if any other documentation is needed to drive in Manitoba if your license is from outside Canada.
If you have any concerns about driving in Manitoba, you can always check Manitoba’s road laws and driving regulations.
Winnipeg to Thompson by Bus
Thankfully, there are multiple bus routes available. Prices and journey times will differ depending on the company, the day, and the time of year. We always recommend booking your bus journey ahead of your intended day of travel in order to find the cheapest price and best option for your trip!
Mahihkan Bus Lines has multiple bus routes from Winnipeg to Thompson per week. There are options for bus trips during the day.
NCN Thompson Bus Lines offers a daily, overnight bus from Winnipeg to Thompson (and round trip) that includes multiple stops (some with short layovers). The bus departs from the Winnipeg International Airport and arrives in downtown Thompson.
Maple Bus Lines offers bus routes from Winnipeg to Thompson (and round trip) Sunday through Friday. Again, it is an overnight bus with multiple stops. The bus departs from 936 Sherbrook Street in Winnipeg and arrives in downtown Thompson.
Winnipeg to Thompson by Train
If you want to travel between Winnipeg and Thompson, another option is to travel by train. Trains travel between the two Manitoba cities a few times per week. Book your train journey ahead of time in order to find the cheapest price and guarantee that you get to travel on your intended dates.
Trains can be booked using the VIA Rail Canada website. Please note that the train journey from Winnipeg to Thompson is not as direct as driving or taking the bus; expect your journey to take an average of 24 hours, so prepare accordingly.
Winnipeg to Thompson by Plane
One of the most convenient options for getting from Winnipeg to Thompson is by booking a direct flight. Thankfully, one of our favourite airlines in Manitoba, Calm Air, has multiple flight options per week! Book a one-way flight or round trip flights with Calm Air. Flying from Winnipeg to Thompson with Calm Air is both easy and comfortable, and the airline is known for its friendly service.
We recommend booking well in advance in order to find the dates you’d prefer as well as the cheapest price for your journey. Flights depart from the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport (YWG) and arrive at the Thompson Municipal Airport (CYTH). The direct flight takes approximately two hours.
Winnipeg to Thompson by Other Options
Feeling adventurous? It is possible to cycle to Thompson from Winnipeg, although we’d only recommend this to avid cyclists! Plan on multiple stops along the way, including some overnights. Cycling to Thompson will take at least three days depending on how long your overnight stops take, and how experienced you are with highway cycling.
Fun Things to do Along the Way
If you’re driving from Winnipeg to Thompson, and you’re not in a huge rush, there are tons of spots to explore along the way. After all, you have more than 700 kilometres of Manitoba to drive across! Here are a few of our favourites:
- As you’re driving past so much water on your journey – both Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg are on the route – make sure to stop at one of Manitoba’s beaches! Try Twin Lakes Beach, about 100 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg.
- Head to Steep Rock on the edge of Lake Manitoba, where you’ll find one of the province’s most popular spots for photography due to its stunning rock formations.
- You also pass by many provincial parks on your route from Winnipeg to Thompson; you might want to stop for a little adventure, picnic, or hike. Check out Lundar Beach Provincial Park, Little Limestone Lake Provincial Park, and/or Pisew Falls Provincial Park.
- Stay at family-run Paint Lake Lodge in the middle of a boreal forest; Paint Lake Provincial Park is one of our top spots in Northern Manitoba.
- While Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg dominate the Manitoba landscape, there are actually over 100,000 lakes in the province… and you’ll pass by many of them on your journey to Thompson! One of our absolute favourites is Little Limestone Lake, a beautifully turquoise lake where you can canoe or kayak in summer.
Upon Arrival in Thompson
You made it!
However you’ve chosen to get from Winnipeg to Thompson, once you arrive in the city, you’ll probably want to get something to eat or check in to your accommodation.
Keep in mind there is also the Thompson tourism centre for lots of information and advice on what to do in the “Hub of the North”.
Where to Stay in Thompson
If you’re looking to connect with nature, we highly recommend booking a stay in one of the lakefront cabins at the Paint Lake Lodge.
Where to Eat in Thompson
There are a number of Thompson restaurants to select from. We recommend Tom’s Pizza and Restaurant, Pub55, Paint Lake Lodge, Hub, or Holy Spice North Indian Cuisine.
Planning to spend some time in the province’s capital before hitting the road? Don’t miss our guide on all the great things to do in Winnipeg. (Also, check out our article on our most beloved restaurants in Winnipeg as well!)
And if you’re making ANY drive in the province, don’t forget to download our FREE Road Trip Manitoba bingo cards to amp up the fun!