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Esker Lakes

Esker Lakes Provincial Park - main photo of the park

What you'll like:

  • A pleasant, family-oriented park with small lakes for canoeing and fishing, trails for hiking, sandy beaches and a full range of campground facilities.
  • A peaceful, friendly lakeside campground offers a full range of campground facilities.
  • The park is surrounded by Boreal Forest and offers plenty of bird-watching opportunities.
  • The park hosts an Annual Blueberry Festival in August.
  • Dozens of kettle lakes, formed when glaciers retreated 10,000 years ago, are found within the park.
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Camping Experiences

By the Numbers

  • Total Campsites - 103
  • Electrical Campsites - 65
  • Backcountry Campsites - 2
  • Group Campsites - 3

Camping

This park,located in rolling hills of Boreal Forest, between Kirkland Lake and the Quebec border, is known for its peaceful and friendly atmosphere.  The sites are well-treed, and close to facilities. Each area of the campground has its own comfort station with hot water, showers, flush toilets and laundry facilities.  A sand beach lies on a bay between the two campgrounds.

This natural environment park lies just north of the “Height of Land” where water flows north into Hudson Bay, rather than south into the Great Lakes.  It also contains part of the Munroe Esker, the bed of an ancient river that flowed on the glacial ice. This esker is the largest landform of its kind in Ontario and serves as a reminder of the glacial past.


 

Car Camping

More than half of Esker Lakes’ campsites are electrical, and usually available for reservation.

 

Group Camping

There are three group camping areas in the park.  These secluded areas are great for family reunions or just hanging out with a group of friends.

 

Backcountry Camping

Esker Lakes Provincial Park contains 29 clear lakes, with many connected by portages, creating a pleasant and peaceful canoe route. There are two backcountry campsites available, each with its own lake and only accessible by canoe.

Highlights of Things to Do

Esker Lakes will keep any outdoor enthusiast busy. There is something for every age group available. The park offers hiking, biking, swimming, paddle boats and fishing opportunities. Many of the park’s 29 lakes are connected by portage, making it a great place for day trips. Two backcountry campsites allow for overnight and extended stays.  The excellent hiking trails and portages give the more adventurous camper a scenic challenge.

The park’s Visitor Centre is open occasionally. Natural Heritage Education programs provide family hands-on, entertaining ways to explore the park and learn more about the local mining and forestry history and the park’s wildlife and natural features. These programs are not offered on a regular basis so check the park bulletin boards for a schedule of planned activities.

The Blueberry Festival is an annual festival held on the Civic Holiday weekend. Be sure to reserve a site for this busy, fun-filled weekend.


Just the Facts

 
Hiking
Take only pictures, leave only footprints: don't bring any plants, animals or other natural objects with you. Park regulations prohibit this. For more information on Leave No Trace practices, visit www.leavenotrace.ca.

Esker Lakes has four different hiking trails:

Prospector’s Trail: 1.4 km, 1 hour, easy
This short forested trail skirts the southeast shore of Panagapka Lake. It’s a nice route for a stroll and a convenient way to reach many park facilities.

Lonesome Bog Trail: 1.5 km, 1 hour, easy
This picturesque trail encircles Sausage Lake, including the bog at the east end, via a boardwalk that takes you right across the wetland. Beaver are helping to speed the bog’s transition to a meadow.

Recreation Trail: 1.5 km, 1 hour, easy
This short, meandering trail just east of the campground is convenient and an invigorating route for a brisk walk or run.

Trapper’s Trail: three loops 9 km, 14 km and 20 km, 4 hours to two days, difficult 
The Trapper’s Trail offers three loops to choose from in order to best suit your fitness level and available time. This long hiking and backpacking trail begins at the north end of Panagapka Lake and continues north towards Thrasher Lake. The trapper’s cabin on the trail was built by an Ojibway woman who trapped in the area until 1970.

 
Canoeing

The collection of picturesque lakes in Esker Lakes Provincial Park, separated by short, fairly level portages and no motorboats, makes the park ideal for canoeing. There are about 15 kilometres of canoe routes and a canoe launching site on Panagapka Lake. There are many different options when paddling these lakes, with plenty of side trips available. Keep an eye out for wildlife, especially near the many wetlands. Canoe rentals are available including paddles and personal floatation devices.

 
Swimming

Two beach areas are located on Panagapka Lake, one in the campground and the other in the day-use area at the south end of the lake.

 
Fishing

Cold water species such as Lake Trout, Brook Trout and Rainbow Trout dominate most lakes here but Northern Pike and Yellow Perch are also common in some lakes. If you decide to fish here, review the Ontario Fishing Regulations for this area and obtain a valid fishing license before starting your trip.

 
Biking

Biking is available on park roads. Bicycles for rent are also available.

 
Natural Heritage Education

Natural Heritage Education programs are held occasionally during the summer and provide campers with the opportunity to discover new things about the park and participate in fun activities.  A Visitor Centre is occasionally open and has displays and animal exhibits related to the park.

 
Birding

Esker Lakes lies within the vast Boreal Forest that covers much of Northern Ontario. This forest is the summer home to hundreds of species of birds. These birds often travel thousands of kilometres from sunny winter homes far to the south, to nest and raise their families here in the park because of the abundance of food. These include many types of colourful warblers, flycatchers, thrushes, hawks and owls. Several species of birds can be seen year round including: Black-capped Chickadees, Red-breasted Nuthatches, various woodpeckers, and the friendly Gray Jay.

Amenities

Many of the comforts of home can be found at Esker Lakes Provincial Park. Two comfort stations in the campground include flush toilets and shower facilities. Laundry facilities are found at the Park Office. The park also has a barrier-free campsite.

Just the Facts

 
Comfort Station(s)

There are two barrier-free comfort stations available in the campground. Each includes hot water, showers and flush toilets.

 
Flush Toilets

Flush toilets are located in the two comfort stations.

 
Barrier Free Access

A barrier-free campsite is available with a modified picnic table and campfire pit and is located close to the barrier-free comfort station.  The picnic shelter located in the day- use area is also barrier-free.

 
Day Use Area

A day-use area, with a sandy beach, picnic tables, privy toilets, a picnic shelter and trails is located on the south side of Panagapka Lake.

 
Laundry

Laundry facilities are available at the Park Office.

 
Boat Launch

A boat launch is located at Panagapka Lake, near the day-use area, as well as a canoe launching area.

 
Rentals

Rentals are available for personal floatation devices, canoes, paddle boats, bicycles, trailer storage and a picnic shelter. The park participates in a Tackleshare program and provides fishing rods and tackle free to visitors.

 
Park Store

The Park Store is a one-stop shopping experience for your camping needs. Located within the front gate, the store maintains a stock of ice, firewood, ice cream, Ontario Parks merchandise and other amenities.

 
French Language Services

Our bilingual front gate staff will be happy to serve you.

 
Picnic Shelter

A barrier-free picnic shelter is located close to the day-use area. This shelter is available to rent for events and gatherings.

 
Visitor Centre

The Visitor Centre is open occasionally when Natural Heritage Education staff are at the park. Check the announcement boards located around the park for facility opening times and details on activities.

Park Location

Campground Maps (online)

Online Map

Park Maps (pdf)

Park Overview - pdf

Fire Ban

None

There is no fire ban at this time.

Boil Water

Yes

We are on a boil water advisory for an indefinite amount of time. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Beach Posting

No

There is no beach posting at this time.

Esker Lakes Provincial Park

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