After completing one set of trails, I turned to start the east side trails which included the lookout. And there, just a few steps in from the trailhead directly on the path ahead – was a tug boat.
Maybe the heat got to me?!?!
The Low Down
- Distance from Ottawa: 135kms (1.5 hrs)
- GPS Coordinates: Unknown.
- Address: 2065 Bulger Rd, Eganville, ON K0J 1T0
- Directions: Take Hwy 417 West. Stay on the 17 West towards Arnprior at the split (right lanes). Continue on the 17 West driving past Arnprior, Renfrew. Once in Cobden, take County Rd 8 South. In 13kms turn right on County Rd 9. Drive 10kms at Shaw Woods parking will be on left.
- Entrance Fee: Free.
- Parking: Large parking lot at West entrance.
- Trailhead: Main trail head at the East and West entrances.
- Number of Trails: 6
- Total Distance of Trails: 14kms
- Elevation Gain: 60m
- Washrooms: Onsite near West entrance at main building.
- Cell Reception: Yes.
- Season: All seasons.
- Features: Dam, lookout, educational displays, boat.
- Activities: Hiking, snowshoeing, interpretive trail, outdoor education
- Dogs: Permitted on leash.
- Suggested Stops: The Cottage Cup, Forth Chute Falls, Fifth Chute Coffee, Bonnechere Caves, local beaches (like Golden Lake).
- Nearby Hikes: Deacon Escarpment, Bonnechere PP, Thomas Murray Trails.
- More Information: visit Shaw Woods Outdoor Educational Centre for more information and trail maps.
What to Bring
- Bug hat/gear: Typical Ontario with the abundance of mosquitoes in the late spring especially. So if there’s no wind, you might want to think about bug gear, or at the very least, bug spray.
- Waste bag: What you hike in with, you hike out with. That’s the golden rule, and if you see anything that’s not part of nature (like food wrappers) kindly pick it up to throw out later.
Important: Straight from their trail guide, Shaw Woods states: “Please note that motorized vehicles, bicycles, horseback riding, overnight camping and open fires are not permitted. In order to protect sensitive habitats, visitors must remain on trails and dogs must be on a leash.” Kindly adhere to their request while accessing these trails.
In Good Company
Back to that tug boat mirage…. Nah. No mirage. The large tug boat is there. It’s Shaw Woods Educational Centre inserting another teaching point along the trail. Albeit a big point. Ha ha. There’s historical context and a beautiful new sign explaining it all. I will say, however, that it has to do with the famous poem “the cremation of sam macgee”. Which strikes me. There is a distinct memory of our 8th grade teacher teaching us about the poem. he loved it and it showed. We had no choice but to absorb it. To the point, that years later, I can still remember the verses of the incredibly odd poem.
Shaw Woods Educational Centre
The Shaw Woods Outdoor Educational Centre is a registered charity and has the kind of mission statement that we can all get behind: “To foster an ethic of responsible environmental stewardship, by providing educational programming and self-directed learning to educational groups, community organizations and the public at large. In conjunction with the foregoing, to teach sustainable forestry practices which manage the social, economic and ecological values provided by forests.“
Shaw Woods Trails
The trails are well marked with wooden signs at the intersection and easy to follow. They are 1 person wide for the most part, and thankfully clear from side overgrowth (poison ivy is in the area).
There are six trails total and they are divided between the east and west section. The bet part is that the trail system is a combination of shorter trails meaning that you can control the distance that you’d like to hike.
West Side: Four main trails varying from 600m to 1.6kms. Includes old growth forest, pine plantation, and a gully (wetland).
East Side: Two main trails that are 1.6km and 1.9 km each. It’s on Johnny’s Lookout Trail that you have 60m of elevation gain to the lookout. There is a long section of trail that runs beside snake river.
Shaw Woods Features
It’s an easy understanding that the main feature of these trails is the educational component thanks to interpretive and historical signage along the pathways. There’s also a large open area near the west side parking with different educational stations which I found interesting.
Beyond that, there’s the small dam between Shaw Pond and Snake River, the tugboat, the pine plantation, and of course, the lookout.
Shaw Woods ViewPoints
The lookout on Johnny’s Trail is beautifully done with a large wooden observation deck and a beautifully carved dedication bench to rest on. It gives a good view of Shaw Pond. The deck is also exposed, and out from the woods meaning that in the summer, you get a break from the bugs.
Although there was no wildlife observed on my hike, Shaw Woods is known to have pileated woodpeckers, bald eagles, wood ducks, and porcupines.
Without a doubt, my top recommendation for accommodations in the area is Deacon Escarpment. This incredible large property offers rustic yet modern off the grid accommodations that range from camping to pod to cabin. All well spaced from each other to offer full immersion into nature.
The property also boasts rich wildlife (deer, beavers, herons, turtles) and some of the best sunset and lookout views around. Check out their website for booking details.
Nourish Thy Self
Without a doubt, venturing in the area requires a stop at The Cottage Cup. Whether it’s for their famous butter tarts, ice cream, fries, or salads and kombucha…they have it. The Cottage Cup is the perfect post hike stop, and really, shop if you’d like to grab a perfectly designed local area tee.
There is much to enjoy in this area, the drive with a landscape of rolling blue hills makes it worth it alone. Never be afraid of taking the long way home either, it’s home I stumble upon most of the trails and shops you see highlighted in ‘Guide to Hiking Trails in Ottawa & Region‘.