By James Gorman

GPS: 49°07'N 66°29'W

La Grande Traversée in Canada’s Shickshock Mountains is North American hiking at its most exotic. French is spoken in the Alps-style chalets, which line the International Appalachian Trail as it forges 63 miles (101 kilometers) through Gaspésie National Park. The peaks themselves seem to hail from far off. Though diminutive even by New England standards, the loaf-shaped summits rear well into a subarctic zone where trees all but disappear, caribou graze, and the snowpack lingers sometimes into August. By using the park’s shuttle-bus system, hikers can arrange two- to six-day treks back to their vehicles. Fully equipped huts sleep eight to 16, and for an extra fee food supplies can be dropped ahead.

Vitals: Gaspésie National Park; $17;

Originally published in the April 2008 edition of National Geographic Adventure

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