The only Canadian destination on National Geographic’s list of the 25 top travel destinations in the world for 2022 is a trek in northeastern New Brunswick.
The Sentier Nepisiguit Mi’gmaq Trail, which stretches 150 kilometres from Bathurst, New Brunswick, to Mount Carleton Provincial Park, is the longest backcountry hiking trail in the Maritimes.
It features suspended bridges, waterfalls, river rapids, cliff lookouts, and unlimited kayaking and canoeing options and spans a range of landscapes and sceneries, from a river delta to the Appalachian Mountain range. The trail’s most notable characteristic, though, maybe its millennia-old history as a Mi’kmaw travel path.
According to Jason Grant, trail master for the non-profit Sentier Nepisiguit Mi’gmaq Trail Association, which develops and maintains the trail, the Mi’kmaw people have used it as a major migration route for over 10,000 years, trekking inland to hunt moose and caribou in the winter and back to the coast to fish in the summer.
Grant mentioned these were the main pathways to the inland before European contact and could only be reached by foot or boat. He further expressed, “And New Brunswick, with its many rivers and waterways, has multiple portages and ancient Indigenous routes that are still visible to this day.”
Grant admits that he’s “a touch biassed” when it comes to the trail’s breathtaking magnificence. Even he was surprised to learn that it had made the “world’s” best list. There are numerous encounters with rapids and waterfalls along the walk.
With a long trek of 150 kilometres, it is a difficult trail that can take up to 12 days to complete, with “experienced, hard-core hikers” finishing in three or four days. Phone signals are also unavailable on around 85% of the trail. “So you’re truly out there when you’re out there.”