Thru hiking the Sentier Nepisiguit Mi’gmaq Trail is a naturalist's dream and for many a trip of a lifetime. It is also a demanding test of physical conditioning and mental fortitude. How demanding? Each year hundreds of hikers attempt the challenge but barely half will be successful. Common causes of early exits include equipment failures, fatigue, weather, blisters, bugs and time constraints. Planning and preparing certainly can improve your odds. They will also make for a more pleasant experience.
A quick overview of the trail.... starting from the eastern trailhead at Daly Point Nature Reserve, the first 50 km is relatively flat and, because of its close proximity to the City of Bathurst, well worn by day hikers. The next 100 km is much less travelled and although most of the streams now have impressive suspension bridges, the path in many places is rocky, hilly, root filled and muddy. Progress is definitely slower!
- It typically takes 6 to 12 days to complete the SNMT. Weather, trail conditions and ability all come into play. Plan for delays.
- The SNMT can be hiked in either direction with thru hikers showing a slight preference for a west to east direction. The allure of the City of Bathurst’s amenities after a long trek no doubt plays a role.
- The Trail crosses several roads but there are no towns nor resupply points on the trail! If your starting point is at Daly Point Nature Reserve (eastern trailhead), you will find most everything in nearby Bathurst. If your starting point is Mt Carleton Park (western trailhead), there are no services, and the nearest town is 41 km away (Saint Quentin, NB). You must arrive at the Park with all your essentials - camping gear, food, water and of course a full tank of gas.
- To lighten your pack consider using the food drop-box. (FAQ #16)
- Make sure before departing that you are familiar with the Access Points. They will be extremely important if you must prematurely leave the trail.
- Gaiters help keep your feet and legs “less wet”, especially from dew-soaked ferns that can grow waist high in the trail’s western half.
- More than 85% of the trail is without cell service. Only in proximity to the City of Bathurst will intermittent connectivity be received. For security and to stay in touch we recommend satellite messengers and personal locator beacons such as a SPOT or InReach.
- All thru hikers must register.
- Thru hikers must have an emergency contact person who will phone emergency services at 911 if they do not exit the trail on the scheduled date.
- Though the Interactive Map is great for preliminary planning purposes, the SNMT map and guidebook are essential for more detailed preparations and to carry in your pack. (FAQ #3)
- Review carefully our equipment checklist.
- Lots more info in the FAQs.