Gimme all the lookouts and peaceful trails please!
The golden child of Calabogie is Eagles Nest look out of course (just look up all those #eaglesnestlookout insta posts!) but have you hiked the rest of the trails? Admittedly until this last weekend I haven’t. Which is a little odd considering how often I’m there. Sure, I’ve been to Eagles Nest and am also known to jaunt up the ski hill in the winter (aka killer thigh workout) to catch the sunrise over the valley. But the rest of the trails? Nope. Well now. Let’s get on that!
The Low Down
- Distance: A straighforward 102 kms (roughly 1hr 20mins) drive from downtown Ottawa.
- Address: Calabogie, Ontario K0J 1H0
- Directions: Take the 417 West, continuing on the 17 West. After Arnprior, keep an eye out for Calabogie Rd (County Rd 508). Turn left on Calabogie road and continue for 28kms. Parking available at the Calabogie Peaks Resort. Trail maps (and bathroom) are available at the hotel reception.
- Cellphone Range: Yes.
- Trail Distance: Over 15 kms of trails to explore.
- Elevation Gain: Approx 200m elevation gain.
- Duration: Various trails offer various distances and time to explore.
- Dogs: Yes.
- Crowds: Eagles Nest can get pretty busy on the weekends however the trails are far from packed.
- Washrooms: The resort is thankfully used to hikes making a pit stop to sue their facilities. There are also port-a-potties at the Eagles Nest trailhead parking lot.
- Entrance Fee: The best things in life are free darlings, these trails included.
- Season: Open year round.
- More Information: Visit Calabogie Peaks Resort for trail maps and more info.
In Good Company
This mini adventure was pure joy as I got to host some friends from across the pond for the weekend. I mean, who doesn’t love sharing local joys with fellow adventurers?! The beauty is that I got to experience Ontario wilderness through their fresh eyes. How lucky are we to have so much green space? Lush forest with rolling hills, wild life that roams freely, and miles of trails. I admittedly forgot how lucky we were or that sitting on the cliffs watching the eagle soar shouldn’t be taken for granted. So on this hike, we kinda just took it all in. Thanks for the reminder gents!
What to bring
- Water: All the drinking water you’ll need and extra snacks on top of your meals. Maybe even a picnic for those lookouts because it’s some peaceful to look over the valley like that.
- GPS/smart phone/compass: as handy as the map is, it’s easy to get turned around.
- DEET: Bug spray is a MUST for the summer months. Remember your tick protocols.
Manitou Mountain Trails
The trails are colour coded and a colour map is available either at the resort hotel lobby (main parking lot) or downloadable on the website. Although the trail are fairly well marked with colour tabs and signs at the major intersections…it’s still easy to get mixed up. I was hosting friends and still got turned around myself until they pointed out that I was marching off with confidence in the wrong direction! Ha ha.
The steepest section is Ascent Trail heading up to the Skywalk Trail, otherwise it’s mostly just rolling elevation throughout the trails making them extremely enjoyable to hike along actually. The trails are a mix of paths through the forest and ATV trails. Admittedly it gets quite muddy in the spring.
Noteworthy: There is logging currently going on along the Bearclaw Trail which makes it tricky to find the Red Ascent Trail up to Juniper Ridge Lookout. I mean, did they accidentally chop down the tree with the marker?! Ha ha, because I looked…and missed it…and ended up at Calabogie Lake Lookout instead.
All the Lookouts Please
There is a whopping six lookouts along this trails system!
- Calabogie Lake Lookout: Meh. It’s ok.
- Juniper Ridge Lookout: Still have yet to explore this one!
- Red Arrow Rock Lookout: Less popular and pretty.
- Manitou Mountain Lookout: Less popular and pretty.
- SkyWalk Lookout: My fave spot to watch the sun rise in the winter!
- Eagles Nest Lookout: Everyone’s favourite lookout since it’s easy and impactful.
Thankfully Eagles Nest is a large enough area that you can likely grab a spot on the cliffs without being too near other hikers. I joke about it being everyone’s favourite insta spot, but really, look up #eaglesnestlookout on instagram and you’ll see it’s a much loved spot for great profile pics. Because it’s so accessible (short 1.6km hike in), it makes it ideal for family hikes.
Black Donald Tent and Trailer Park
Try saying that ten times fast. Black Donald Tent and Trailer Park. I really just want to call it B D TnT. Like Bee-Dee-TnT. BAM. Badass new nickname just-like-that. Aaaaaanyways, it’s a gem. First of all, there’s a OLD SCHOOL CRANK PHONE to reach reception that actually works! g-e-n-i-o-u-s Well, I thought so anyways, but I’ve working in communications my whole life so that just might be a little nerdy of me to say.
What I like most about BDTnT is that is a family run operation that instantly gives that well loved easy going feeling about the place. The owner gave us a prime spot right by the water with plenty of room for the three single tents and two vehicles. A million thanks for the kind and wonderful welcoming!
If you’re still feeling adventurous
The next morning we broke camp and set out to hike one of Lanark County’s Seven Wonders – Blueberry Mountain. It’s a bit of a special place that I love exploring (less people and incredible views of the valley) and I’ve shared all the details in this post.
Wrapping it up
One of the best things about hiking in and around Manitou Mountain is the varied landscape/views and the multiple trail options. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for views and pictures, or a family hike, or a solid 15km workout! Personally prefer the fall and winter (trails are open year round), but if the summer is your hiking season, enjoy, just don’t forget the bug spray.