GeographyLake Erie (42.2° N, 81.2° W) has a mean elevation of 571 feet (174 m) above sea level. It has a surface area of 9,940 square miles (25,745 km²) with a length of 241 miles (388 km) and breadth of 57 miles (92 km) at its widest point.
It is the shallowest of the Great Lakes with an average depth of 62 feet (19 m) and a maximum depth of 210 feet (64 m). For comparison, Lake Superior has an average depth of 483 feet (147 m), a volume of 2,900 cubic miles (12,100 km³) and shoreline of 2,726 miles (4385 km). Because it is the shallowest, it is also the warmest of the Great Lakes.
The drainage basin covers 30,140 square miles (78,000 km2).
The cities of Buffalo, New York; Erie, Pennsylvania; Toledo, Ohio; Port Stanley, Ontario; Monroe, Michigan; and Cleveland, Ohio are located on the shores of Lake Erie.
Photo on the left - This is a paradise on the Detroit River called Hidden Lake in Crystal Bay. The beautiful clear water is filtered through the man made walls built with stones and sand. Hidden Lake sits within a small complex of man made islands that create the shipping channel between Grosse Ile and Canada.
The shapes of the islands are a bit convoluted. The island surrounding Crystal Bay points like an arrow northward. Within the point is a bay that remains sheltered from the speedy southward push of the Detroit River. This creates a place of refuge for boaters caught in storms. It also creates what is, apparently, the clearest and most recreational-friendly water in the Detroit River. Crystal Bay is located just north of Boblo Island. It’s an Essex Region Conservation Area.
Unfortunately too many visitors are leaving broken glass behind, so wearing water shoes is a safer way to walk on the shore.
Parks I visited:
Point Pelee National ParkPoint Pelee National Park of Canada is located on a peninsula extending into the lake just south of the 42nd parallel, giving it the same latitude as northern California. Several islands are found in the western end of the lake; these belong to Ohio except for Pelee Island and 8 neighboring islands, which are part of Ontario.
Canoeing & Kayaking
Two-thirds of the park is composed of freshwater marshes. Explore beyond the boundaries of the Marsh Boardwalk and into the peaceful mysteries of the marsh by canoe or kayak. Bring in your own or rent canoes through the Friends of Point Pelee at the Marsh Boardwalk.
Hiking, Biking and Cross-country skiing
Trails as listed at Point Pelee National Park website
Marsh Boardwalk – 1 km (loop), 45 minutes
Boardwalk with observation tower and telescopes. Walk along the floating boardwalk and view the most diverse habitat in the park, where cattails, red-winged blackbirds and painted turtles are abundant.
Centennial Bike & Hike Trail – 4 km, (2 hours one-way)
Shaded, winding trail takes you on a journey through dry forest, beach and savannah. The trail extends from the Marsh Boardwalk to the Visitor Centre.
DeLaurier Homestead & Trail – 1.2 km (loop), 50 minutes
Historic house and barn with exhibits and artifacts featuring a small part of the park's cultural and human heritage. Trail leads to open fields, cedar savannah, and swamp forest. View the eagle nesting platform from the observation tower.
Chinquapin Oak Trail – 4 km (loop), 2 hours
Access from Tilden Woods Trail or near White Pine picnic area. Links to Centennial Bike & Hike Trail to create the loop. On the trail, view mixed dry forest that includes the Chinquapin oak, a southern species that grows as far south as the cloud forests of Mexico.
Shuster Trail – 0.5 km, 15 minutes
Begins along Tilden Woods Trail and keeps going straight to East Barrier Beach. Watch for bald eagles scanning the water's edge at dusk.
Tilden Woods Trail – 1 km (loop), 45 minutes
Begins at the northeast corner of the Visitor Centre parking lot. View mature swamp forest and cedar savannah. The boardwalks will keep your feet dry in spring as you enjoy wildflowers like Spring Beauty and Trillium.
Woodland Nature Trail – 2.75 km (loop), 1 hour
Begins behind the Visitor Centre. Stroll through the oldest forest habitat in the park. A self-guide booklet detailing the features of this trail is available for purchase at the Nature Nook Gift Store.
Tip Trail – 1 km (loop), 20-40 minutes
Notice how the tip of Point Pelee moves depending on the weather throughout the year.
Shuttle from Visitor Center drops you off at the Tip's outdoor exhibit from April to October. Walk to the most southern point of mainland Canada. A wondrous place to view spring bird and fall monarch, dragonfly and bird migrations.
For a few special days each autumn, Point Pelee is a temporary home to thousands of migrating monarch butterflies. As soon as favorable conditions occur, they begin one of nature's greatest journeys by crossing Lake Erie. They cannot linger, for their destination is some 3000 km further south in the mountains of central Mexico! Why would this tiny insect make such a monumental journey? The answer lies in the monarch's food plant.
Milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars eat. It is believed that both milkweed and monarchs evolved in the tropical regions of Mexico. As the milkweed adapted and its range extended, the monarch followed. Milkweed is abundant and widespread in Ontario, thus allowing monarch populations to greatly expand each summer. All milkweed plants contain poisons known as cardiac glycosides. Monarch larvae are not affected by the poisons, but store them in their bodies and pass them on to the adults. Most birds that attempt to eat adults or larvae vomit and learn to associate this unpleasant experience with the bright patterns of the adults and larvae and thus soon learn to avoid them.
The Great Lakes are a significant barrier to the monarchs' migration. As they move south, they search for shorter ways across the lake and the Pelee peninsula provides an excellent start! Point Pelee's shape funnels the monarchs to the tip. If the weather is cold, they will roost in trees and wait for warmer temperatures and favourable winds to cross the lake. If the weather is warm, they will often go directly across the lake without stopping in the park.
The monarch migration cycle is a mystery. Through the summer there are two, possibly three, generations raised in Ontario. The life cycle from egg to adult can take only a month, however, most large butterflies take about 45 days. The generations that emerge in late summer and autumn are somehow triggered to become migratory.
These monarchs overwinter in Mexico and mate there in early spring. On their way north, eggs are laid on fresh milkweed and the adult dies some time thereafter. A few monarchs that have overwintered in Mexico return to Ontario (during May), an incredible journey of 3000 kilometres. However, it is the generation that is produced between Mexico and Canada that returns in numbers, mainly in June.
Monarch migration at Point Pelee is dependent on weather conditions and is, therefore, highly unpredictable. It may take you half a dozen visits before you catch a sizeable concentration.
Pelee IslandGetting to Pelee Island: The island is serviced by two ferries, the MV Jiimaan and the MV Pelee Islander view schedule departuresfrom the Leamington or Kingsville Ontario mainland or from Sandusky Ohio.
The Township of Pelee is made up of nine islands in Lake Erie and is the most southern point in Canada. Pelee Island is the largest of the islands and is situated at the Canada/USA boundary between Sandusky, Ohio and Windsor/Essex County, Ontario. Nearby Middle Island is the southernmost point of land in Canada.
Its climate, classified as Carolinian, is one of the mildest in the country, and the island has long been used for vineyards and wine making.
Wheatley Provincial Park Ontario
The park has 4 campgrounds: Boosey Creek, Highlands, Middle Creek and Two Creeks. Boosey Creek has the most shade and has lots of Carolinian forest. Highlands has hardly any shade and is super hot in the summertime. Middle and Two Creeks are somewhere between the two extremes.
Wheatley provincial park Ontario
Rondeau Provincial Park Ontario
Rondeau Provincial Park is a provincial park in southwestern Ontario, Canada, located on the enormous 8 km long crescent-shaped sandspit extending into Lake Erie. There are only two sand spits like this one in all of North America, one in Rondeau and one in Florida. Rondeau was established in 1894 as a response to demand for cottaging opportunities by residents of nearby Chatham. It is the second-oldest provincial park in Ontario (after Algonquin Provincial Park). It is recognized as the largest tourist destination in the Municipality of Chatham-Kent. Rondeau is also home to the largest area of Carolinian forest in Canada. These styles of trees such as tulip trees, sassafras, and shagbark hickoryare rare in Ontario . During May, this is also the best trail to see the endangered Prothonotary Warbler.
Harrison Trail - 16 km
Marsh Trail - 14.4 km
South Point Trail - 8km loop
Black Oak Trail - 1.4km loop
Spice Bush Trail - 1.5km loop
Rondeau provincial park Ontario
park location - Rondeau