Here’s How to Experience the Eagles Nest Lookout in Calabogie, Ontario!
Searching for a great hike in Ontario with the pay-off being a spectacular view? Then the Eagles Next Lookout trail in Calabogie is for you.
Located just a quick drive outside the main town of Calabogie, this short hike makes a great day trip from Ottawa or Kingston.
Admittedly, the hike can be busy because word got out about the incredible view over the 120-metre cliff edge.
That said, we still think it’s an Ontario hike worth experiencing – and there are many more great Calabogie trails in the area to explore.
Also, hiking is one of the top things to do in Ontario in any season so it’s no wonder this short 3 km total hike is a popular one.
So, this guide is all about the hike, what to expect, what you’ll need to bring, and our experience hiking to the Eagles Nest and the surrounding trails.
Land Acknowledgement: This hike rests on the traditional, unceded territories of the Algonquin Nation. You can learn more about the Indigenous connection to this specific hike/area when you visit by reading the large Eagle signboard on the trail.
How to Get to the Eagles Nest Lookout
There are different ways to get to Calabogie – and then to the trailhead(s) – depending on where you are coming from. One thing is for sure: You will need a car to get to Calabogie.
Generally speaking, the Eagles Nest Trail trailheads are about 2.2 km from Calabogie Peaks Resort (the big ski hill in the area).
They are accessible right off of Calabogie Road/508. All of this is located a short drive to the west from “downtown” Calabogie on Calabogie Road.
Calabogie can be a great day trip or weekend trip in Ontario – depending on where you are coming from. Here’s how to get to Calabogie from various centres around Ontario:
From Ottawa to Calabogie
This is the shortest distance driving. Simply take the Trans-Canada-Highway/Highway 417 West out of Ottawa past Arnprior.
Then turn onto County Road 508 and you’ll be brought right through the town of Calabogie. The whole drive will take just over an hour.
You’ll actually follow the Madawaska River on the 508 and pass through Burnstown. If you’re hungry, stop at Neat Cafe for a coffee or pizza!
From Toronto to Calabogie
The drive to Calabogie from Toronto is about 4 hours and 30 minutes no matter which route you go. You basically need to head east and north and you can do it a bunch of ways:
- Take the 401 to Highway 115, pick up Highway 7 to head across, and then County Road 511 (can pass through Perth as a nice stop).
- Take the 401 to County Road 41 (at Napanee) and head north until Dacre (on Highway 41). Flat Road is rough but will take you into Calabogie from the west.
- Take the 401, then onto Highway 115 to Peterborough, then hop on Highway 28 north through Bancroft to Dacre on Highway 41. Flat Road is rough but will take you into Calabogie from the west.
The amount of traffic and the day you travel will likely dictate which one of these routes is best for you.
From Kingston to Calabogie
Getting to Calabogie from Kingston is pretty easy and also has several possible routes. We backtracked the 401 to Country Road 41 and headed north that way.
On the way home from Calabogie, we took County Road 511 out of Calabogie to Perth, then hopped on Perth Road/County Road 10 which conveniently turns into Division Street.
The drive passes through the small town of Westport which is also worth a stop due to the lake, brewery, winery, and more!
Parking at Eagles Nest Lookout Trail
As we mentioned, the trailheads for the hike are located right off Calabogie Road/County Road 508.
In 2021, there are now two parking lots on the right side of the road you can park in. They are right off 508 heading from Calabogie so you really can’t miss them.
Parking Lot 1 (P1) is the first lot you see if you are driving from Calabogie (shown above). This lot is smaller and leads you up the Old Logging Road trail to the lookout (more on that below).
We parked here but we got there at around 9 am so we got a spot no problem. It was packed hours later when we left. There’s also a crosswalk for safe road crossing.
Address/Coordinates for P1: 45°16’23.4″N 76°48’32.0″W
Green Emergency Number: 6515
There is now a much larger and newer parking lot just down the hill from P1. This is called P2.
You can walk the Little Pine Path to the lookout from here or you can walk uphill on the side of the 508 (there were pylons to keep you off the road) to start the hike at P1 (along the Old Logging Road).
You can access the lookout from either parking lot. Which path you opt to take is totally up to personal preference. We’ll get into the differences below.
Address/Coordinates for P2: 45°16’23.1″N 76°48’43.6″W
Green Number: 6573
One major thing to keep in mind: You cannot park on the side of the road or else you will be towed. Don’t worry, there are signs to remind you of this fact!
The Eagles Nest Lookout Trail
No matter how you slice it, the Eagles Nest Lookout hike is short. It’s just under 3 km total uphill to the lookout and back down.
One direction takes about 20-30 minutes depending on your walking pace. The Old Logging Road route from P1 isn’t too strenuous or overly hilly – but there can be loose rocks and roots in places.
You can learn more about it on AllTrails but remember to take people’s opinions with a grain of salt.
The trails are maintained by the Township of Greater Madawaska but not all year round so keep that in mind when you visit. We hiked it in the summer but there was still mud in spots.
We can imagine spring to be really wet and buggy, fall would be nice but cooler, and winter is doable with proper gear (like snowshoes). Also, hiking the trails is free – as is parking.
As for routes to the top, there are technically four ways you can hike to the top to the lookout and back to your car:
- Hike up the Old Logging Road and back down it to P1 (Out and Back)
- Hike up Little Pine Path (follow the Blue Tree Markers) and back down it to P2 (Out and Back)
- Hike up the Old Logging Road from P1 and down Little Pine Path – then back to your car hiking uphill along the side of the road (Loop)
- Hike up Little Pine Path (Blue Tree Markers) from P2 and down the Old Logging Road – then back to your car downhill along the side of the road (Loop)
Realistically, the easiest route up and down with signs to follow is the Old Logging Road from P1.
We understand why people walk up the shoulder of 508 to P1 to start their hike. Just know that you have other options!
You might also choose to park at Calabogie Peaks Resort and hike to the Eagles Nest Lookout as part of the much larger, longer Manitou Mountain Trail via the Ole K&P Trail.
This would be about 4 hours to the lookout and 4 hours back but it’s a beautiful hike!
As you hike up the Old Logging Road, you’ll pass a small pond. Slightly thereafter, you’ll head right and head up to the cliff edge/lookout. You will see the sign on the tree as shown below.
This is also close to where you can read the informational sign on how the site is sacred to the Algonquin People.
We suggest actually stopping to read it – it’ll help you gain an important perspective of the area.
As for facilities, there are no bathrooms and no garbage cans. Whatever you take in, you must take out.
The trails have several smaller side trails so it’s important to keep an eye on the tree markers or signs for direction if you’re unfamiliar with the area.
Another thing to watch for on the trails is motorized vehicles like ATVs and dirt bikes.
Part of the Old Logging Road is used by these (especially in the warmer months). If you hear one coming, just step off to the side and let them safely pass.
There shouldn’t be anything with a motor near the lookout, but some people are blatantly disrespectful, so (unfortunately) keep an eye out.
The Eagles Nest Lookout
However you arrive – Old Logging Road or Little Pine Path – you will be rewarded by these stunning views of the Ottawa Valley.
The cliff edge is about 120 meters up overlooking Eagle Pond. It’s the kind of view that makes your stomach twist even if you’re good with heights.
There are many different vantage points and rocks you can view from. One of which is the rock that looks like “Pride Rock” from The Lion King.
Whatever you do, respect this Algonquin Sacred Site, respect the terrain, and be very careful near the edge.
In fact, don’t venture too close for that perfect selfie – accidents happen in an instant. Admire the view from a safe distance so you can return to tell people about it.
Keep kids and animals close and never throw anything over the cliff edge as there are potentially hikers and rock climbers below.
A Sample Calabogie Hike (Our Path)
We mention the option of doing slightly longer hikes when you visit – and the Manitou Mountain Trail provides a great opportunity to do so.
After we hiked up to the Eagles Nest, we continued along the Manitou Mountain Trail (mostly logging road) to the ascent trail to Skywalk Trail.
From there, we headed down Skywalk to Bear Claw Trail and walked the Calabogie Road/508 back to the car after crossing through Calabogie Peaks Resort at the base of the mountains.
Overall, this route was about 10 km and it took us about 3 hours with some breaks along the way.
We met very few other people after the Eagles Nest so we can attest to how less busy the trails are as soon as you get away from that area. This is even considering it was a long weekend!
Manitou Mountain is loaded with other trails you can explore so don’t be afraid to extend your hike – just be prepared to do so!
Hiking Packing List
The Eagles Nest hike might be short, but it’s still important to have a few basic items of hiking gear. Being prepared will allow you to hike and explore with confidence.
As for clothing, we’d suggest wearing long pants and a thin long-sleeved shirt. A t-shirt will do but bring long sleeves for the bugs or for when it gets cooler.
A solid pair of hiking shoes are great but a pair of runners with a good tread will also work well.
The rocks and roots are not forgiving to other kinds of footwear. We saw people hiking in flip flops – and would not recommend it.
A backpack is also a good idea for comfortably carrying essential items like snacks and water if you plan on doing a longer route.
As for other things to have on you or in the backpack, we’d recommend the following:
- Whistle (for larger wildlife/emergencies)
- Snacks in sealed bag – like granola bars, trail mix, or protein bars.
- Lots of drinking water (especially during the warmer months)
- A good hat for sun coverage
- Bug spray
- A rain jacket (if there’s a chance of rain)
- Spare phone charging pack (if you’re using your phone for photo of map, we’d not recommend Google Maps out there because there wasn’t always service)
- An actual trail map if you are going further
- Small hiking first-aid kit
Other Things to Know When Visiting
- Always practice Leave No Trace principles when you’re out in nature. Be respectful to other hikers, don’t be overly loud, leave nature alone, and don’t litter. That’s a pretty good start!
- Once again, hiking the Eagles Nest Lookout Trail is free and parking is also free.
- You may see birds overhead at the Lookout. There’s a good chance they are turkey vultures but you may even see a raven or an actual bald eagle which are also native to the area.
- Be sure to study the trail map at the trailhead before you go. If you hike with others, familiarize yourself with this route and the plan what to do if you get separated. It may be a short, simple hike but it can happen quickly with all the different side trails available to go down.
- We’d suggest planning to hike different trail altogether if the Eagles Nest is busy. There are loads of great trails in the Calabogie area like the K&P Trail that cuts through town, Madawaska Nordic Ski Trails, Morrow Lake Waterfall Hike, or Dacre Heights Trails.
- After your hike, be sure to explore Calabogie. Support local businesses by enjoying a coffee or snack at Oh-el-la Cafe (that’s where went), go to the brewery or check out the lake at Barnet Park in the summer.
And there you have it – our detailed guide on the Eagles Nest Lookout trail. Even though it’s short, we’d definitely say it’s worth experiencing once in your life.
Don’t forget about other local trails, exploring Calabogie, and respecting nature when you visit!
As always, Keep Exploring, eh?