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Bancroft’s Eagles Nest Park Trail Review
We hadn’t been to Bancroft for decades. Not since we used to attend their annual “Gemboree”, a mineral collectors show. Back then, my interests were in geology so I’d never seen the Eagles Nest Park.
Now that our interests are in trails, I looked up the Eagles Nest and found five trails to be explored (four loops and one return). From what I’d read, it sounded like the four hour round roadtrip might well be worth it, so we headed up there in early July.
The Eagles Nest Rd up to the two parking lots is in rather rough shape so take your time climbing the hill. It was kinda funny as, when I got out of the car, all I could smell was engine coolant from all the hard worked cars parked around us (including ours). She’s a steep climb to the top to be sure.
Most of the trails are marked with coloured bubble arrows. I say “most” as there was a “new” trail marked with blue arrows. There’s evidence of trail changes to allow regeneration of the forest floor, which is becoming a common practice in these kinds of public accessible trail systems. There’s ample parking at both free lots and we chose the 2nd lot as it just felt like it would be less climbing to see the most visited trail :
The Hawkwatch Trail (0.54 kms – marked with black bubble arrows)
This loop is probably the most popular as, who doesn’t love a lookout ? And a lookout it certainly is ! I love heights and even I stopped and took a breath before climbing the stairs to the huge platform overlooking the vast openness. I’m definitely gonna come back in the Fall to see that again !
From the Hawkwatch Trail, we banked off to :
The Gerry Whyte Plant Identification Trail ( 0.44 kms – marked with red bubble arrows)
From the Hawkwatch Trail this little sweetheart goes down, down, down until you level out and walk between a beautiful wetland on one side and a craggy granite wall on the other. Birdsong excepted, this walk is dead silent and almost spooky in it’s primordial appearance. We added yet another wildflower to our list of “wannasees” when we made our first sighting of a patch of Wood Sorrel.
This trail would be unadvisable in wet weather due to the steepness of the climb and the mucky base. There are a few tags hanging from trees, and interpretive signage to help you ID the plants along this trail.
From the Gerry Whyte trail we banked off to the :
Christy Trail (1.1 kms – marked with yellow bubble arrows)
While I love a good lookout, I also love an untouched pond (or lake) in the middle of nowhere. The view of Brethour Lake is gorgeous from an outcropping of granite at its Western shore. That’s an outcropping accessed from a boardwalk on both ends. The Wife and I love a boardwalk.
As the trail turns to loop back to the parking lots, we passed the “Red Pine Lookout”. This isn’t as grandiose as the Hawkwatch, with a platform lookout and all that. However, I still liked it as it was about a quarter kilometer of walking on the edge of another granite cliff with the distance visible through a narrow band of trees on the very edge.
There was a “Connecting Link Trail” branching off this trail that gave no indication of what it was a connecting link to. Since it looked like a steep climb down and back up again for no particular reason, we didn’t bother with it (250 meters long one way).
We used the “blue arrowed NEW” trail to deliver us straight across from :
The Bruce Collins Trail (0.58 kms – marked with white bubble arrows)
I think Bruce Collins must’ve had a few Tom Collins’ before laying this one out. This trail does nothing more than lead you further down the hill to dump you out onto the road where you can choose to walk back up the road or return by the trail. I won’t fall for that trick again … Bruce.
The Final Take
A fantastic lookout on one trail, with further vistas from another, and a coupla boardwalks to a lake high up on the cliffs, on three (of five) excellent, though rather short, trails. I mention the trails are short but they’re fairly hilly and picturesque. So, while the three trails I’d recommend, have a total length of only two kilometers, we spent an hour on them. We would’ve spent longer enjoying them but, we had a two hour trip Home and still wanted to look over the Vance Farm Park, also in Bancroft.
After trying the Vance Farm Park, I wished we’d skipped it and stayed longer at Eagles Nest. That’s my subtle way of saying, don’t bother with the Vance Farm trail. The Eagles Nest trails are mostly single file in width. Informative and interesting interpretive signage abounds on all the trails, and there were a reasonable number of rest benches. I wouldn’t recommend any of these trails after a rain as they would be quite slippery and have some very steep, short hills on them.
There are two free, amply sized parking lots, a cute little single privy, but no real picnic facilities. We saw people with dogs but I wouldn’t try it unless it was on a very short leash. There are a few spots here where, if pooch decided to chase something too close to an edge …
We spotted a wildflower that we’d never seen before, and there are supposed to be pitcher plants too, though we missed them. The Autumnal view from the lookout and on the richly varied deciduous forest trails would be magnificent. We intend to return in the season to see.
Have a nice walk,