Blue Mountain: 360 deg. views of lakes, forests and rock ridges from Charleston Lake to the Adirondack Mountains, a hike that’s inspiration itself
Blue Mountain is perhaps one of the most amazing places within Charleston Lake Provincial Park. This area of the park is situated away from the main campground, providing a quiet and serene experience for visitors. When you arrive at the top you will see what makes this destination a truly amazing place. 360 degree views of the area allow hikers to see large portions of this special region. Lakes, forests, rock ridges, the Adirondack Mountains and of course Charleston Lake are some of the amazing things you will see from the top of the mountain.
Blue Mountain is the highest point in the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville. It can be accessed by kayak from the Huckleberry Hollow Day-Use site on Charleston Lake. This area of the park is home to many amazing plants and animals, many of which you will experience during your hike. Amazing things such as White-tailed Deer, Osprey, Beavers, Bald Eagles, Pitch Pine, Grey Ratsnakes, etc. all call this part of the park home. If you are quiet and observant, you may have the opportunity to experience some of these amazing things in person.
The trail is approximately 5.7 km round trip (from Huckleberry Hollow) and is considered moderate to difficult. The trail is well marked and maintained so navigating your way to the top isn’t usually difficult. Picnicking, photography, wildlife viewing and just relaxing and enjoying the view are some of the most popular activities while experiencing Blue Mountain.
Amazing Places, Amazing People
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Now you can keep a record of the Amazing Places you have visited. Download our handy Amazing Places Frontenac Arch Biosphere Checklist
Plan Your visit
Explore the amazing place with help from local businesses.
Take the guess work out of planning your cycling, hiking or paddling adventure to this Amazing Place with these downloadable trail descriptions from the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Network
Cycling: Charleston Lake Loop
Paddling: To access Blue Mountain from the water, paddle to Huckleberry Hollow on the south shore of Charleston Lake. For a shorter trip, drive to the main entrance of Charleston Lake Provincial Park, on Woodvale Rd, and launch a canoe or kayak in the lake (Rentals available). If you are looking for a longer adventure, click here to explore some paddling routes in the Charleston Lake area.
While you’re there, check out the rest of the extensive trail network winding through FAB!
How to explore Blue Mountain
A trip to Blue Mountain takes the visitor through a mosaic of environments that are all representative of the landscapes that make the Frontenac Arch so special and significant. A number of ecosystems typical, yet so important to the Arch can be explored. Many wildlife species that call the Arch home can be seen or heard along Blue Mountain’s trails, including several that are considered species at risk in Ontario. The views experienced from the summit are second to none in the area and paint a beautiful picture of the environmental, social and cultural significance of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere.
The mixed deciduous forest in this area is home to a number of species such as deer, fisher, red-tailed hawks and the always elusive salamanders that call dead logs their homes. The transition from open, rocky outcrops to this forest cover is extremely important for one particular species, the gray ratsnake, a threatened species found almost soley on the Arch in Canada. This snake (Canada’s longest and completely harmless) needs both the open rocks for basking and hunting and the shelter of the forest cover. If looking for them, look up once in awhile, as they are excellent tree climbers. You can check out large rock faces and their talus slopes that are both impressive for Eastern Ontario, and home to a number of wildlife species that use the crevices, cracks and crags as shelter, nests and food sources.
A bit of solid exercise as you step out of the thick forest and onto open rock slopes means you are nearing the summit. Soon the air opens up and perhaps one of the best views on the Arch is before you. You will see the gleaming open water of beautiful Charleston Lake with loon dotted bays and cottage life abounding. Looking north, you can see the importance of the Frontenac Arch in providing connected natural landscapes, and not just pockets of green space. This connectivity is vital to the natural and cultural health of the area. Turn your gaze south, and you will be looking towards the mighty St. Lawrence River valley and the communities that rely on its natural and social power. Keep looking over the valley, further towards the south, and you are looking towards the Adirondack Mountains. Think about how the Frontenac Arch helps to connect those landscapes to the environs of Algonquin Park to the north. A trip to Blue Mountain is truly a trip that captures the full spectrum of the natural beauty, diversity and importance of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere.
Parking: Day use fees apply in Charleston Lake Provincial Park
Washrooms (See map for washrooms at park property)
Park amenities include: camping, beaches, boat launch, canoe & kayak rentals, washrooms, and visitor centre.
About Charleston Lake Provincial Park:
Charleston Lake Provincial Park is located on the Frontenac Arch, a southerly extension of the Canadian Shield. This location provides a unique environment where both southern and northern species can co-exist in the same location. This creates a very diverse and special environment, one that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Camping, hiking, fishing, and swimming are some of the favourite activities here. This park is ideally suited for families and friends to experience for a few hours or a few days.