The family and I have taken to spending a week camping at Charleston Lake every year to make some memories with our children while they are young. But don’t be fooled by this park’s lazy car camping demeanor. There is plenty more going on here for the discerning outdoor adventurer/enthusiast.
The park is situated in the UNESCO Frontenac Arch Biosphere and is located at the interface between granitic and sedimentary bedrock zones. The park boasts a variety of tree types, soil and rock types, soil chemistry, and topographic features like cliffs, valleys, hills and wetlands. These unique characteristics create the perfect habitats for a large number of species, including many of which that are at risk or endangered. Speaking of which, the park is sanctuary to at least 9 species at risk, including the Black Ratsnake, Red-shouldered Hawk and the Southern Flying Squirrel. Thirty-five species of mammals can be found in the park, such as Beaver, White-tailed Deer, Fisher and Mink. The park also does not disappoint when it comes to reptiles and amphibians as it is known for its high diversity of each including Northern Map Turtles and Eastern Ribbonsnakes. The same goes for birds with a variety of owl species being present and other intriguing birds such as Cerulean and Golden-winged Warblers and Yellow-billed and Black-billed Cuckoos.
Here are a few of our findings during our recent trip.
Charleston Lake hosts some pretty spectacular largemouth bass and pike fishing. Especially in the no motor boat zone located around the Provincial Park (Runnings bay). The main lake itself is fairly deep with some significant stone shoals scattered around the lake and at the edges of islands. This habitat supports a healthy smallmouth bass population. My kids had endless fun catching these spunky fighters from a canoe (which are available for rental at the park).
The real treat on the lake, if you are lucky or skilled enough to get a bite, are the naturally occurring strain of lake trout. I was lucky enough to be taken out by a local who showed me the ropes and really got me into them.
The park itself maintains a number of trails of various lengths to provide hardcore hikers and beginners alike opportunities to stretch their legs. During our stay we took the opportunity to hike the Shoreline and Quiddity trails, with a bonus hike up to the look out on the quiddity.
Charleston Lake staff put significant effort into putting on events for the campers. These activities included learn to fish demonstrations, mushroom walks, bug identification seminars, and guides canoe trips.
The park has alot to offer. More information about the lake can be found at: