Wabun Lake & Sugar Mountain in Calabogie: Hiking Guide

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Wabun Lake is one of those trails that offer up just the right amount of challenge and scenery. It’s also an unmarked trail by the township of Greater Madawaska and a bit tricky to understand the route. In our case, it was hiking an extra 3kms on an unmarked trail and thinking, well at least we’re not getting hailed on in the alpine (happened on our hike on Iceline Trail last summer). And what’s a little extra hiking when you have good company, good views, and a good perspective on life.

The Low Down

  • Distance from Ottawa: 120kms (1.5hrs)
  • GPS Coordinates: Unknown
  • Address: Wabun Lake Rd Greater Madawaska, ON K0J 1H0
  • Directions: Hwy 417 West to Calabogie Rd. Drive west on Calabogie Rd to Hydro Dam Rd. Continue on Hydro Dam Rd (1.5km) to Wabun Lake Road. This is a dirt road. Drive 2.5kms on Wabun Lake Rd until you reach a fork in the road. The Wabun Lake parking and boat launch are 150m ahead on the left fork, the trailhead is 300m ahead on the right fork. Take the right fork. You’ll notice a large grass parking like area on the right. The trailhead across the road (dirt road, not the smaller trail).
  • Entrance Fee: Free.
  • Parking: Unmarked large grass area.
  • Trailhead: Unmarked.
  • Number of Trails: 1 (multiple offshoots)
  • Total Distance of Trails: 16kms (3km option)
  • Elevation Gain: 500m
  • Washrooms: None, follow Leave No Trace toileting guidelines.
  • Cell Reception: Low (yes at lookout)
  • Season: All seasons (extremely muddy in spring)
  • Features: Lookout (partially obstructed)
  • Activities: Hiking, camping, swimming.
  • Dogs: Permitted.
  • Suggested Stops: Neat Cafe and Redneck Bistro.
  • Nearby Hikes: Eagles Nest, Manitou Mountain, Dacre Heights (not recommended in summer), and Blueberry Mountain.
  • More Information: Visit the township of Greater Madawaska.

NOTE: Wabun Lake road is a dirt road.

What to Bring

Besides the 10 essentials and what I would normally suggest for hikes, here are the highlights for this particular hike:

  • Bear spray: Optional as always, but there are some areas like Greater Madawaska that have more bear activity than others. Hike in groups, make noise, and be bear aware.
  • Swimwear: Maybe not for the trail, but there are plenty of lakes and beaches in the area to enjoy post hike.

In Good Company

It was a little wild to think that we haven’t seen each other all year! #thanks covid My nursing-school-turned-hiking-buddy Marlena and I had an amazing time last year hiking Iceline, Big Beehive, Johnston Canyon, EEOR, and Larch Valley in the Rockies last year. Now it’s time for some home based adventures starting with Wabun Lake!

Wabun Lake Trail

There are a few choices, either 1.5km out and back for the lookout or 16km+ for the full Wabun Lake loop trail.

First and foremost, the trail is unmarked. For the first 1.5km to the lookout it is a wide ATV trail that has some decent inclines and dips along the route. Plenty of old growth trees, wildflowers, and rock formations to enjoy while hiking.

There are multiple off shoots on this trail.

Wabun Lake Features

Once at the lookout, we actually hiked another 1.5km down to the far side of Wabun Lake. The best feature of this hike, of course, is the fantastic lake views from both ground level and from the high points.

Wabun Lake ViewPoints

Let me be honest in that since there are no signage on this trail, we loved the views but weren’t sure of the lookouts when we first came across them. It took a few map checks and trail description checks to be sure.

Once you hike 1.5km and arrive at the high point at the hydro line tower, continue 20m for a second less obstructed (by hydro lines) view point directed ahead on left looking over Wabun Lake.

Wildlife

Plenty of blue herons by the lake, but otherwise no wildlife to report from this hike.

Accommodations

Camping on site possible since it’s crown land (follow Leave No Trace guidelines), nearby Black Donald Tent and Trailer Park, or Calabogie Peaks Resort.

Nourish Thy Self

Fueled up post hike with a wood oven pizza from Neat Coffee Shop in Burnstown. Their pizza is on point. Along with the lattes. And music nights. It’s just a great place overall.

Wrapping Up

Adventure awaits! A friend recently stated that “nature is essential” and I couldn’t agree more. It is essential to our well being. Yet, in order to continue to have access to such amazing trails and outdoor experiences we have to respect nature. This means avoiding overcrowding, picking up garbage, leaving nothing behind, staying on trail, and not picking the flowers. 😉 Happy hiking…

Victoria xo

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Carolyne Dobson

    Hey 😁
    I am the camper that lost her keys while you were hiking. Found them! But the best find…you! Thank you soooo much for sharing your beautiful day with me and your blog address. I have post concussion syndrome. So…even though I remembered your address, it took until now to look it up. I shared it with Phil (dude on the four wheeler) and my daughters.

    Now I will share with you…this is who I met walking today…right outside my house!!! Walking is beautiful. The people you meet are quite simply outstanding! Thanks for being one of them! Here’s link:
    https://youtu.be/bDkt6uGQTHc

    1. GirlGoneGood

      Carolyne! Yes, it was wonderful to meet you on our Wabun Lake hike and I’m so glad you found the keys! Phew! You’re more than kind for the compliments. 🙂 Oh that’s neat, incredible who you meet out and about (although this guy is doing quite the walk!). Hope you see you on the trails again sometime!

  2. Phil St Jacques

    Hey! That dude riding on the red Honda four wheeler was me!
    Was an absolute pleasure meeting you both on such a terrific day near the lookout!
    Maybe one day, I’ll slow down and try a hike; maybe more to see?

    Cheers,

    Dude.

    1. GirlGoneGood

      Duuuuuude! Ha ha, yes, you’ll have to self propel for a few and see that nature has to offer. It was a pleasure meeting you and Carolyne as well, thanks for the location tips and confirming the lookout for us! Happy hiking 🙂

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