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Gem Lakes is a small grouping of deep, beautiful lakes in central Saskatchewan named after precious stones. A 5.5km hiking trail winds around the lakes providing spectacular views and access to fish, camp, canoe and kayak at the various lakes.
Location: 148km Northeast of Prince Albert
Distance: 5.5km round trip
Difficulty: 3/10 – Some steep sections along trail
Season: June to September for camping
Additional Requirements: N/A
From Prince Albert: Head northeast on SK-55 E for 41km to Meath Park and then take a left onto SK-120 N. Take the 120 53 km and then turn left on SK-913. Follow the 913 for 50km and take a left to the Gem Lakes parking lot.
WHAT TO BRING
- Comfortable Footwear: Comfortable sneakers are sufficient for this hike but if you prefer hiking shoes bring those.Bring a pair of flip flops or comfortable sneakers for the evening.
- Water: Bring enough water for camping and hiking as there are no facilities with water at Gem Lakes.
- Food: Bring some of your favorite snacks to enjoy during the day as well as food for dinner and breakfast. Some of our favorite snacks are trail mix, bananas, beef jerky and licorice.
- Camping Gear: Tent, hammock, sleeping bag, axe/hatchet and fire-starting tools.
- Fishing Rod: The lakes are stocked and a great place to enjoy some fishing.
- Kayak/Canoe: Gem Lakes is a perfect place for paddling.
- Toilet paper: The only outhouse is at the parking area and there is no guarantee there will be toilet paper.
- Weather appropriate clothing: Check the weather forecast and plan accordingly. Bring some warm clothes to change into in the evening.
- Swimming attire: The lakes are chilly but it can be nice to take a refreshing dip.
- Sunscreen: If it is sunny and you’re like Mattson, who easily burns, bring sunscreen!
- Insect Repellent: Insect repellent can greatly improve your hiking/camping experience.
- Bear Spray: You are in bear country. Always hike with bear spray that is easily accessible.
- Camera: The lakes are beautiful and there are numerous photo opportunities you won’t want to miss.
- This Guide: Print a copy of this guide to reference.
Wildlife: You will be camping in bear country. Carry bear spray in an easily accessible location. Travel in groups of multiple hikers and make lots of noise to avoid an unexpected encounter.
Leave No Trace: It is important that we enjoy the outdoors responsibly and sustainably. Some key principles to consider when hiking to “Leave No Trace” are:
- Plan ahead and prepare: Proper planning allows adventurers to hike safely while minimizing damage to the land.
- Travel on durable surfaces: Stick to the trail when possible. If there is no trail, or you must travel off trail, stay on durable surfaces to reduce your impact.
- Dispose of waste properly: Pack it in, pack it out.
- Leave what you find: Leave rocks, plants, archaeological artifacts and other objects of interest as you find them.
- Respect wildlife: Observe wildlife from a distance. Never feed wild animals.
- Be considerate of other visitors: Be courteous to others to allow everyone to enjoy their outdoor experience.
To learn more about “Leave No Trace” visit http://www.leavenotrace.ca
Summary: Gem Lakes is a fantastic place to camp but can also be enjoyed as a leisurely day hike. The trail winding around the lakes is 5.5km with some short steep sections. There are three camping areas along the trail with a fire pits and picnic benches.
There are three official camping areas. One at Jade Lake (Route Marker #1 on the map), one at Diamond Lake (Route Marker #2 on the map). and one at Opal Lake (Route Marker #3 on the map). They are 150m, 1km and 1.5km from the parking area respectively. We would recommend camping at Diamond or Opal lake as they are less busy and trafficked than Jade Lake. That being said, if you have a lot of camping stuff to carry in, Jade Lake is very close to the parking area so you won’t have far to carry your gear.
- Check if there are any fire bans. If there are you may have to adjust your meal plan.
- The only outhouse is at the parking area. Be sure to use it before heading out to hike and camp.
- If camping over the weekend get there early Friday so you can get a camping spot before they are taken.
- When hiking around the lakes there are signs with interesting information and history on the area
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