Published Mar 15
If you’re eager to take on the challenge, you’re in the right spot to find out everything you need to know about this stunning trail and be prepared for your hiking adventure. In this guide, you’ll find information such as what to pack, the many challenges and wonders of the Mi’gmaq Trail, how to prepare for your trip, and get the answers to some of the most common questions about the trail.
To make things easier, here is a table of contents, feel free to jump to the information you need!
Since its official recommissioning in August 2018, the historic Sentier Nepisiguit Mi’gmaq trail has been a popular destination amongst the hiking and backpacking community from all over the Maritimes. This 150 km backcountry hiking trail has been added to the bucket lists of hikers and backpackers from near and far!
Traversing through New Brunswick’s wilderness, this historic trail is a site filled with a rich cultural heritage.
Used by the Mi’gmaq people for thousands of years, this path was once a popular location for tribal hunting, fishing, trapping, gathering sites, spring and fall migration, and was a popular spot for Mi’gmaq people to travel for interacting and trading with other First Nations communities. One of the many reasons for the restoration of this beautiful trail is to promote a public appreciation and respect for the historical, ecological, and cultural relevance of this thoroughfare to the Mi’gmaq people. Although now a hiking trail, the cultural relevance of this path has been recognized through the use of the Mi’gmaq language, cultural symbols, such as the turtle, Teepee campsites, and an ongoing respect for the land.
Starting at Daly Point Nature Reserve in Bathurst, and ending at Mount Carleton, the Sentier Nepisiguit Mi’gmaq Trail is perfect for a wide variety of hikes. There are many access points along the trail that are great day-long hikes, and multi-day hikes of 2-3 days. If you’re feeling adventurous, completing the entire 150km trail will take between 6 (25km/day) to 12 days (12.5km/day), depending on your speed, weather conditions, and trail conditions.
This trail is broken up into many different sections, each clearly marked by letters and a colourful turtle to let you know where you are. Each section varies in distance and difficulty level, so make sure to plan your shorter hikes accordingly!
The Nepisiguit Mi’gmaq Trail offers a wide range of challenges, with some sections being much easier than others. The trail has been broken down into 20 different sections categorized by letter for easier management and navigation. Explore each section below to find out more about the trail’s characteristics, and choose which hike is best suited for you.
A-B: Daly Point Nature Reserve – Pumphouse (9 km) | Difficulty: Easy
This first section of the Mi’gmaq trail begins across the parking lot from Daly Point Nature Reserve on Caron Drive in Bathurst. Look for the arch with the turtle to start your hike! This section follows other trails and streets throughout Bathurst, and ends at an old Pump-house site. (There is also parking available at Daly Point Nature Reserve at the beginning of this section!)
B-C: Pumphouse – Red Brook Road (8 km) | Difficulty: Moderate
This section takes hikers along the Nepisiguit River. It has many short ups and downs but offers amazing views of the river!
C-D: Red Book Road – TeePee Above Pabineau Falls (7 km) | Difficulty: Moderate
This section has an amazing view of Pabineau Falls! This is the perfect spot to sit back for a rest and take in the gorgeous views. From the falls, the trail goes through cedar patches before arriving at a Teepee by the river. *Please note that Gitpu teepee is currently out of order*
D-E: Teepee Above Pabineau Falls - Middle Landing (7 km) | Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
If you look up along this trail, you might see bald eagles circling above, or an eagle’s nest big enough to seat 4 people! This section will test your balance while you walk along the edge of two beaver dams, between dead water and the river.
E-F: Middle Landing – The Chain of Rocks (9.5 km) | Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
This section’s newly refurbished cable bridge has made it one of the most popular sites on the Nepisiguit Mi’gmaq Trail. It ends at a beautiful campsite with a Teepee (Interested in staying in a Teepee? More on this later!), camping platforms, and a fire pit.
F-G: The Chains of Rocks – Nepisiguit Dam (7 km) | Difficulty: Moderate
During fall or spring be prepared for the water levels to make crossing the streams along this section a bit of a challenge. Hikers completing this section will find themselves at a dam that can only be crossed from the North Side. You must ring the office for the gate to be unlocked.
G-H: Nepisiguit Dam – Above the Narrows (8.5 km) | Difficulty: Moderate
This section of the trail runs along the high banks of the Narrows, and the powerful sounds of rushing waters echoing against the high rock faces can be heard.
H-I: Above the Narrows – Above Nepisiguit Brook (4 km) | Difficulty: Moderate to Hard
Get ready for some gorgeous forest views! This section will take you up and down the banks of the river, and through a mixed forest of spruce, pine, and maple.
I-J: Three Islands (5 km) | Difficulty: Moderate
Be prepared for many ascents and descents on this section of the trail, bringing you through valleys of maple trees and big cedars.
J-K: Across 9 Mile Brook to Coles Brook (7 km) | Difficulty: Moderate
Feeling extra adventurous? Challenge yourself with this section’s steep hills and deep brook valleys. The views, trees, and valleys make this harder hike worthwhile!
K-L: Coles Brook to Heath Steele Bridge (7km) | Difficulty: Moderate to Hard
Enjoy passing through outstanding sections of maple trees and exploring Cole’s Brook during this more challenging part of the Mi’gmaq trail.
L-M: Heath Steele Bridge to 40 Mils Brook (6.5 km) | Difficulty: Moderate
Hikers should be prepared to be extra attentive during this stretch, as there are a few gaps between big moss-covered boulders where it would be easy for a foot to slip through! Old cedars, yellow birch, ferns, and rock formations fill the landscape of this section. (Important note: This section requires a river crossing on foot to get to or from access point M).
M-N: 40 Mile Brook to 44 Mile Brook (6.5 km) | Difficulty: Moderate
Crossing Otter brook at high water levels during the spring and fall may also be difficult. (River crossing is required to reach access points M and N from this section; therefore, it is a bit of a challenge if you only want to hike this stretch).
N-O: 44 Mile Brook – Below Indian Falls (5 km) | Difficulty: Moderate
This beautiful and quiet forest that hugs the river is well worth the roots and wet spots that you will need to traverse. (If you hike only this section, be prepared for water! Two river crossings on foot will be needed at both access points).
O-P: Indian Falls – Indian Falls Depot (7.5 km) | Difficulty: Moderate to Hard
This section has some impressive views as it passes through Indian Falls, a beaver pond, and the river. During the fall, high bush cranberries are easily found. (This section also requires river crossings on foot to reach both access points).
P-Q: Indian Falls Depot – Devil’s Elbow (8 km) | Difficulty: Moderate to Hard
This is one of the longest sections of the Mi’gmaq trail and offers access to one of the best side trails of the hike to Mount Denys, located approximately 1km upriver from Indian Falls Depot. (Once again, hiking only this section of the trail will require river crossing on foot to reach access points P and Q).
Q-R: Devil’s Elbow – Popple Depot (10.5 km) | Difficulty: Moderate to Hard
This is the second longest section of the Nepisiguit Mi’gmaq Trail. There are few altitude changes as it uses an old road for a 3 - 4km stretch, however, this path will have you trekking past huge trees and squeezing around large boulders. There is also a cold spring about 2-3km upriver from access point Q (this still needs to be filtered!). (River crossing on foot is needed at access point Q).
R-S: Popple Depot – Pentland Brook (9 km) | Difficulty: Moderate
Although there are many mountains as hikers make their way towards Mount Carleton, this section does not have many elevation changes. This path passes Corker’s Gulch and squeezes through Mount Latour and Mount Marie. (Be prepared for river crossings if access is needed at point S).
S-T: Pentland Brook – McEwen’s Bridge (7km) | Difficulty: Moderate to Hard
When staying along the main path, this section is quite easy. However, if you’re feeling adventurous you can explore a side trail up to Bailey’s Chasm. This side trail starts approximately half a kilometer past a small brook that is around 1km above 69 Mile Brook. Tip: It’s a good idea to regularly pole the ground with a stick before taking your next step as moss often covers cracks between the boulders.
T-U: McEwen’s Bridge – Bathurst Lake (11 km) | Difficulty: Moderate
If coming from access point T, this section brings hikers to Mount Carleton Provincial Park! Pass through a fairytale like mossy forest, then a short stroll down a service road, before reaching Camp Lake and arriving at your final destination. Want to continue your hiking adventures? Get a good night’s rest and continue by tackling Mount Bailey, Mount Sagamook, and Mount Carleton! (See our guide to Mount Carleton here!)
Have you decided to come experience the Mi’gmaq trail for yourself? There are a few things you should know while you plan for your trip to make the experience the best it can be!
Trying to decide when you should hike? The trail is open year round, and each season has its own charms and challenges.