IntroductionLocationAccessHiking Experience Oiseau Rock

Oiseau Rock on the Ottawa River in Pontiac County, Quebec

Oiseau Rock, is a sheer rock face about 150 metres in height which rises straight out of the Ottawa River in Ontario. It was a sacred site for First Nations Peoples who have left behind a remarkable legacy of ancient pictographs which may still be seen today. It continues to be part of the sacred landscape for the Algonkins of Pikwakanagan First Nation near Golden Lake, Ontario and of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation (Maniwaki, Quebec) who call the rock "Migizi Kiishkaabikaan" meaning bird rock. In June 2001, they held ceremonies and drumming at the site, and will continue to visit what Dr. Daniel Arsenault, archaeologist calls this "natural monument."

Oiseau Rock is a large outcrop of rock on the Ottawa River in Pontiac County, Quebec. It is situated across from the Atomic Energy of Canada Research Laboratory (AECL) at Chalk River, Ontario. This part of the river is very beautiful as the river narrows, the water deepens and the channel is flanked by the Laurentian Mountains. Towering green pines border the blue waters. The immediate area's only development on the River, besides the Laboratories, consists of a few cottages. The Rock is located approximately nine miles down river from Deep River, Ontario, 18 miles upriver from Pembroke, Ontario, and eight miles upstream from Fort William, Quebec.



Locals tend to pronounce it "Weeso Rock," corrupting the French word. When one approaches the Rock from down-river (the Petawawa end), the Rock cannot be seen since Oiseau Point bars the view. This makes the Rock's appearance even more spectacular as one revels in the unexpected: a massive mountain that rises straight out of the River and reaches a dizzying height, with dwarfish pines clinging to its rocks and crannies.


No roads lead to the rock so all access is by boat. Boats can be launched at Pembroke, Petawawa and Deep River, Ontario, and at Fort William, Quebec. Boats may be anchored on the sandy beach on the eastern side of Oiseau Point. For further information about boating on the Ottawa River, contact the Ottawa River Waterway. Other boat excursions can be arranged on our Links Page(see #5 Boating/Paddlesports).



You park your boat at the beach and in the woods is the path that leads you to the top of the Rock. At the beach, there are picnic tables and garbage cans. During the summer, garbage is removed twice weekly by the Deep River Recreation Association (RRIA). [website:] Outhouses have been provided by the Municipality of Sheenboro, Esher and Malakoff.

The hike to the top takes about 20 minutes but at one spot, it is steep and rocky and one needs to hold onto the rocks in order to to balance on the rock steps. At the top, the path forks into two: one leads to the lookout over the River and the Petawawa Plains, and the other takes you to the spring-fed lake. At the lookout, children should be supervised as there is no barrier and the ground is eroding there.

This lake is unnamed and it is a pretty spot. Go for a swim and have your lunch at the picnic table. Another lake is further back, and behind it is another high rock which affords a spectacular view, but there is are no path leads leading from the first lake.
lake photo 1
lake photo 2

Experience this Sacred Landscape and Historical Site

Experience the beauty of Oiseau Rock

Oiseau Rock speaks of a spirituality that is mysterious and foreign to people today. We do not know the meanings of all of the paintings but we do know that the place was and continues to be sacred to First Nations’ peoples. Present-day First Nations’ people leave offerings of prayer sticks, tobacco and cloth at rock art sites.

Take time to appreciate the beauty of the site surrounding the rock art. Feel the sun, listen to the wind and the sounds of the waves lapping on the rocks. Look above to the dizzying height of the Rock. First Nations’ people would have climbed the rock to paint some of the pictographs. Look for eagles, turkey vultures and peregrine falcons which have been spotted flying above the Rock. Take time to see the pictographs. Give the Rock and this ancient place time to speak to you.


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