Esker Lakes Provincial Park

Esker Lakes Provincial Park in Ontario is filled with sprawling blueberry fields

Esker Lakes Provincial Park is an incredible destination in Northern Ontario to escape city life with dozens of lakes, sandy beaches, and an unexpected sweet treat: sprawling fields of wild blueberries.

Located just outside the small town of Kirkland Lake, Esker Lakes is about a 7-hour drive north from Toronto. While it's certainly a trek to get there, the park's striking scenery and rugged beauty make it absolutely worth the trip.

The park is set amidst Canada's Boreal forest, made up primarily of spruce, pine, and poplar trees. It also has a fascinating geological history and is a testament to glacial activity from the last Ice Age.

Esker Lakes was originally named after the prominent esker formations found in the area, which are long, winding ridges of sand and gravel formed by streams flowing under glaciers.

When the glaciers melted over 10,000 years ago, they left behind dozens of kettle lakes, which are now popular destinations for recreational activities.

With so many lakes to explore, portaging is one of the most common draws of Esker Lakes. With nearly 15 km of canoe routes and a launching site, there are endless adventures you can go on to explore the various inlets, and you can rent canoes and paddles directly in the park.

Hikers can set out on four different hiking trails ranging in length and difficulty. For an easy trek, follow the Prospector's Trail, which extends 1.4 km along the shore of Panagapka Lake.

The Trapper's Trail is moderately difficult and stretches for 9 km, winding through scenic forests and traversing between several lakes.

If you prefer to just relax, there are also two beach areas on Panagapka Lake found within the campground and in the day-use area.

But the real star of the show is that every August, anyone visitng the park is treated with blooming wild blueberry fields. With the region's acidic soils and cool climate, the habitat is ideal for the berries to flourish and draws big crowds for blueberry picking.

If you'd like to extend your stay and immerse yourself in Northern Ontario's beautiful surroundings, you can camp at one of Esker Lake's quiet backcountry campsites. Reservations can be made directly on the Ontario Parks website.

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