International Appalachian Trail
By concentrating on Quebec, I don't mean to give short shrift to the International Appalachian Trail in New Brunswick and Maine, but there is no denying that for those hikers under time constraints, Quebec offers the biggest bang for the buck.
For those who have more than two or three weeks at their disposal or a little more time after having completed the Appalachian Trail, I would certainly recommend driving up through Maine to spend the night atop Mars Hill, which, at 2,100 feet, offers an inspiring view of Canada and a taste of what is to come for those who prefer a little poetic symmetry to their adventure.
The 12-mile, day-long ramble to the U.S.-Canada border at Fort Fairfield is well worth the time for the feeling of place and history it imparts, and the well hidden shelter, two miles shy of the border, is one of the prettiest and most peaceful camp sites on the entire trail.
Once across the border, the first half of the 170-mile section of trail in New Brunswick follows the gorgeous Tobique River but also runs through semi-rural flatlands. The scenery doesn't really pick up in earnest until the trail enters Mount Carleton Provincial Park. Once there it's like the difference between town and country. The park is worth a three- to four-day visit on its own to enjoy the exquisite variety of trails through some of the most unsullied and enchanting old growth forest I have seen anywhere. The peaks are easily bagged in half-day hikes in summer Mount Carleton is only 2,690 feet high and offer spectacular views of the surrounding mountains andlakes. Camp by Little Nictau Lake and have a soothing swim at the end of the day. When I did this, I dozed off to the soothing call of the loons and nothing else and had the best night's sleep of the trip.
Like many adventures, the most memorable moments are rarely where you plan them, just where you find them.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication