There are so many beautiful places to visit, you can’t help but fall in love with the outdoors in Renfrew County. These are only a few of the many hiking trails in the area. Please see the relevant websites for information on location and specifics.
You can choose a 1/2 hour walk or a longer full day hike depending on who’s involved, the weather, and/or the time available.
One of my favorite hikes is up Mount Martin, across the Ottawa River from Deep River, in Quebec.
You’ll need a power-boat, canoe, or kayak to cross the 2km of river to Indian Point and then find your way to the marked start of the hike. The 5km trail begins with gentle hills and then climbs 300 metres up a fairly steep trail. The hike is quite vigorous, but the view of the Laurentians is stunning, especially in the fall. (less buggy too). Depending on your fitness level, it will take 3-5 hours in total. The trail is not really well marked, so you might want to take someone who has hiked the trail before.
The Barron Canyon Trail, in Algonquin Park, takes you to one of the most scenic views in the area. The beginning of the 1.5km trail takes you through pine forest and gentle hills and then out onto an unfenced cliff.
It’s not a great hike for small children or unleashed dogs and even adults should take care. Just the same, the site is not to be missed. The Barron River below is a favourite of canoeists in warm weather, and x-country skiers and snowshoers in the winter, as long as you don’t mind breaking trail.
I only recently discovered Shaw Woods, 200 hectares of protected nature preserve near Cobden. It offers a 7.5-kilometre network of self-guided walking trails (with more about to open) that meander through woods and wetlands, over boardwalks, beside water, and up to a lookout where you can see Bald Eagles nesting. Trail markers with information about species of birds, animals and plants are scattered throughout. Entry to Shaw Woods is free, but there are donation boxes beside the printed visitors’ guides to help defray printing costs. There are interesting things to see in all seasons, and the woods are open year-round, with snowshoeing in the winter. Shaw Woods also has an Outdoor Education Centre which offers programs to school children throughout Renfrew County.
Eau Claire Gorge
Just off Highway 17 near Mattawa, the Eau Claire Gorge offers the hiker a taste of history and beauty.
The 1.9km trail follows the Amable du Fond River along waterfalls and rapids and along boardwalks and bridges. I love having the mist from the gorge hit my face! It is not recommended for small children due to the height of the gorge and often slippery railway ties.
High Falls is a very popular place for locals to go on a hot day in the summer! It features a natural water slide and falls and pools of moving water to swim in. The water slide is located on the channel of the Barron
River that flows from Stratton Lake into High Falls Lake. There are three reasonable ways to visit the water slide: via the Eastern Pines Hiking Trail from Achray Campsite, via the High Falls Trail from The Barron Canyon road, or if you have a canoe, via Stratton Lake.
Last winter my family showshoed to the waterslides. The area was remarkable to see in the winter!
Candace Graham is a retired Physical Therapist who has lived in Deep River for over 30 years. She considers herself very lucky to live in an area where she can be active outdoors year round.