Distance - 5.5km loop, some steep sections
GEM LAKES - NARROW HILLS PROVINCIAL PARK
One of Saskatchewan's best and most interesting trails is the Gem Lakes hike at Narrow Hills Provincial Park. This 5.5 kilometre trail that interwines itself with the Gem Lakes is a must visit for any hiker in the province.
The Gem Lakes were formed during the last ice age where they were carved about by glaciers. Each lake is cut off from the other and no rivers run into them. Water in the lakes only arrives from rainfall from the surrounding hills. There is no current that runs through the lakes, which makes them perfectly clear and gives them their distinct colour that sparkles in the sun.
There are 7 Gem Lakes, that the trail takes you along. The trail is well marked with moderate steep sections. Careful when walking after rain as the exposed roots can make it a bit slippery. It should take less than 2 hours to hike this entire trail. There are many places to stop along the way and enjoy the view and peacefulness of the area.
There are a few back country sites that are easily accessed along the Gem Lakes hiking trail. This is a great place to test new gear for longer back country trips as you are still not too far from your vehicle. Camping is first come first serve and there are no open fires permitted.
Most people set up camp at the north end of Jade Lake but if you are willing to walk a bit further to Diamond or Opal Lake campsites you will have a better chance of having the place to yourself. The Jade Lake campsite is less than 100 metres from the parking lot meaning you can have easy access to your vehicle if you need it. The Opal and Diamond Lake campsites are are a kilometre and 1.5 kilometres from the parking lot respectively
Saskatchwan Fisheries stocks each lake with native species of fish meaning there is a good chance you can haul something up. The lakes are only accessible by canoe or kayak and many people spend the day on the water fishing.
There are picnic tables at the Jade Lake campsite and an outhouse at the entrance if you need it.
Make sure you pack out everything you pack in to ensure the beauty of this place is preserved.
WARNING - this is bear country so ensure that you follow proper bear safety guidelines and I suggest bringing bear mace. We encountered a juvenile black bear on our last hike here. He was hiding in the bushes not more than 10 feet from the trail.
If you are camping overnight make sure to lock up all food and to not cook near where you will be sleeping. Dispose of any waste water properly.
Hike the entire loop and enjoy the views of each lake. Each lake has its own charm and beauty. After you are done the hike take a dip in Jade Lake from the beach area.
The water is warm and perfectly clear. It is a great way to end a great hike and relax. Bring a lunch and sit and relax and enjoy the view.
The easiest route to get to the Gem Lakes hike is to start from Smeaton. You can enter the backway from Candle Lake Provincial Park by taking Grid 913. These directions are from Smeaton. The Gem Lakes at Narrow Hills Provincial Park are located in the northeast corner of the park.
Smeaton is located east of Prince Albert on Highway 55.
Turn north at Smeaton onto Highway 106 and drive 85km.
You will take a left and head west onto gravel road 913, follow this grid for 14km.
You will see a sign for the Gem Lakes, that takes you north for for 2.2 km.
When this road ends turn right and it will take you the Gem Lakes Parking lot.
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