Bancroft is a picturesque community in the heart of Hastings County. about an hour (105 km) north (and slightly east) of Peterborough, Ontario. Located in Central Ontario, part of the Canadian Shield, Bancroft is well known in Canada as an excellent location for rockhounding. Bancroft styles itself as the "mineral capital of Canada" and holds an annual event in August called the Rockhound Gemboree. There is also a Mineral Museum in Bancroft dedicated to the area's storied mining history. There is little active mining going on today. A popular location is a craggy lookout called Eagle's Nest, a short distance north of the town. This scenic cliff, with a height of over 60 m (200 ft), overlooks the York River valley, the town of Bancroft, and the other densley forest-covered ridges that surround it. it was location of one of Ontario's first ever heavy steel fire towers in the 1930s built by the former Dept. of Lands and Forests. 12 m (40 ft) icicles dangle from its largest and most massive cliff in the winter. However, the road to the top is steep and generally impassable in the winter. Another popular location is a series of abandoned Mineral caves/mines at Egan's Chute on Highway 28 north-east of Bancroft. Egan's Chute lies east of the town on Highway 28. The chute is a small gorge which the York River churns through, creating white water falls.
The lakes surrounding Bancroft are dotted with cottages, mostly seasonally occupied. One of the largest and most beautiful in the area, with a very fine public beach, is Paudash Lake, about 15 minutes south down Highway 28. Bancroft lies in a region criss-crossed with snowmobile trails, making it a hub for snowmobilers in the winter months.