The Sentiers Frontaliers (That’s French for Frontier Trail), is a non-loop trail that extends from Mount Mégantic National Park to the Canada US border near Woburn, Quebec. The whole thing runs 98 kilometers. I did a portion of this in the summer of 2008.
When asking locals about it, make sure not to ask them about the Frontier Belt (Ceinture Frontaliers), like I did.
There wasn’t very much information on the web about it at that time and I mostly winged it, subjecting the residents of Woburn to my very bad French. There isn’t much more information available on it now, so I’m going to post what I know.
I intercepted the trail at the Mount Gosford information site (45.314326,-70.902386), which is about 10 mins south of Woburn. You can paste that lat/long into Google maps and it will bring you right there. I exited the trail on 10 rang E (that’s kinda what a rural route is called in French) at 45.328514,-71.059241 where I had left my car.
I accomplished this feat by first driving to Woburn, where I found a shop selling a map and guidebook intended for the trail. I then drove back to 10 rang E, put on my pack, and hitch-hiked to the Mount Gosford information site. I was picked up by a French hippy-ish kinda guy who’s job had something to do with ‘les arbres’. Upon arrival, I paid 10 or 20 dollars for registration, and began.
The trail was rough, rugged and appeared seldom used at that time. Sometimes it followed ATV trails or the swath cut at the Canada US border. If you don’t know about that swath, it’s a 100 meter wide area where all the trees have been removed, centered on the border. There are also cool granite and metal markers all along it.
Occasionally, there are non beaten down sections through forest with difficult to discern blazes. Good navigation skills and a map and compass are mandatory for this one.
The section I’ve described here took me two nights to complete. I recommend this hike to anyone in good shape with a couple hikes already under their belt. It is on the rugged side, with steep climbing and descending and some spectacular views. It’s definitely not a manicured trail in a National Park. A good knowledge of navigation is must, and don’t stray across the border! I don’t know how much trouble you could get into, but I’m sure the answer depends strongly on how much trouble the law enforcement person wants you to be in!
Guest Post by Rob Nicholson
*Editor’s note: the pictures in the post are from a different trip, not from the Sentiers Frontaliers as Rob had no camera with him and no one to take his picture.