Esker Lakes Provincial Park surrounds a chain of sparkling lakes set in an ancient glacial landscape, carpeted in boreal forest.
A quiet, family-oriented park, Esker Lakes sits just east of the historic mining town of Kirkland Lake in northeastern Ontario.
Here are five reasons Esker Lakes will delight family campers and nature-lovers alike:
1. A landscape made by ancient waters
Have you ever wondered where the name “Esker Lakes” comes from?
Around 12,000 years ago, much of Canada was covered by a large sheet of glacial ice. As it melted away from this area, it left behind a wide ridge of sand, studded with beautiful lakes.
Eskers are ancient riverbeds. The esker that gives the park its name, the Munro Esker, is the longest esker known in Ontario at over 250 km long. It’s also several kilometres wide, filling the entire park.
The river that formed the esker flowed on top of, within, and beneath the glacier.
The riverbed was made up of silt, sand, and gravel that filled the bottom of the channel in the ice the river flowed through.
When the ice melted, it left behind the sloping and hilly landscape we find in the park.
This created the perfect landscape for tall pines that like sandy soil, as well as ferns and an assortment of other plants.
2. Hike the Lonesome Bog Trail
This is a must-see!
The trail is a 1.5 km loop around Sausage Lake, and wanders through tall Jack Pine forests and a stunning spruce bog.
Keep your eyes peeled for carnivorous wetland plants like Round-leafed Sundew and Pitcher Plants.
Boreal birds like the White-throated Sparrow and Blackburnian Warbler can also be spotted in towering trees.
Many songbirds raise their young at Esker Lakes during the summer months, giving visitors a chance to see some of these stunning birds up close!
3. Paddle 29 spring-fed lakes
Experience the park in a completely different way — from the water!
Our 29 deep, clear kettle lakes offer plenty of recreational activities. Explore these beautiful lakes by canoe or kayak. Look out for loons and beavers.
Our lakes are small, and good for beginners or experts. A series of portages can be followed from lake to lake.
The park offers canoe and kayak rentals, and supplies everything you need for a safe trip, including PFDs, safety kits, and paddles.
Forgot your fishing rod at home? Borrow one from the park with our TackleShare program!
4. Find solitude in the backcountry
Looking for peace and quiet? Try one of our backcountry sites!
Paddle out to your very own lake, and wake up to the sounds of birds and rustling trees. Your campsite comes equipped with a firepit, picnic table, and box privy.
Motorboats are not allowed on park lakes, so it’s very quiet!
The park’s lakes are stocked with trout and some also have Northern Pike. The deep, clear glacial lakes create a perfect environment for fish. You’ll be having fish for dinner back on your site!
If a backcountry adventure isn’t up your alley, Esker Lakes also has a full-service campground with electrical and non-electrical sites, and comfort stations with washrooms, showers, and laundry facilities.
5. Something new every season
Whether you visit in the summer or fall, there’s always something fun to do at Esker Lakes!
In July and August, the park offers a variety of programs for the whole family.
Experience all the park has to offer with the help of our Discovery activity book! Explore the park’s secret worlds, from tadpoles to trees, while having fun along the way.
In the fall, the park quiets down and boasts its autumn colours. The birches, aspens, and tamaracks put on a show of “boreal gold.”
Fall is a wonderful time to visit the park to take advantage of the beautiful scenery and breathe in the autumn air.
Whether you’re relaxing on the beach with your family, taking a hike on one of our many hiking trails, going for a paddle, or just relaxing by the campfire under a starry night sky, Esker Lakes has something for everyone!
In 2023, Esker Lakes Provincial Park is open until September 17.