|ACADIA NATIONAL PARK'S BEST HIKES!
Acadia National Park has over 120 miles of trails beckoning for exploration. From family strolls along the rocky coastlines to strenuous and exposed scrambles to the tops of the majestic granite peaks, Acadia's large trail system has something for everyone. Because there are so many interconnecting trails and carriage roads, numerous interesting options exist for loop hikes. Click on any of the hikes below for a full description and photos. IMPORTANT: You are responsible for your own safety. It is up to you to decide and determine if a trail or route is appropriate for you and plan for your hike accordingly.
|Hiking symbols used for descriptions:|
||ACADIA CLASSIC: a must-do hike if you want to see the best of Acadia!
||FAMILY-FRIENDLY: a good choice for those with children who like to hike.
||WARNING: a hike that may have scrambling, significant exposure, and/or sections of iron rungs or other aides.
- Ocean Path
Probably the most popular and most scenic hike in Acadia National Park is Ocean Path, the roadside trail that allows tourists to wander along the jagged pink granite formations of Acadia's beautiful coastline. The trail officially runs from Sand Beach to Otter Cliff, but multiple parking lots along the length of the trail allow for shorter strolls. While the path is family friendly, be careful when wandering along the coastline as the rock can be deceptively slippery and there are numerous exposed cliffs just off the trail. If this is your first trip to Acadia, do this hike!
- Cadillac Mountain Summit Loop
No trip to Acadia is complete without a visit to the top of Cadillac Mountain. Cadillac Mountain is the highest peak on Mount Desert Island and is one of the first spots in the United States to catch the morning sun. Waking up very early for a pre-dawn drive to the summit to take in first direct sunlight is an Acadia classic! A short and easy loop trail wanders around the summit offering great views in all directions. (Be careful to not follow one of the longer trails down the mountain unless you intend to.)
- Jordan Pond Path
The Jordan Pond Path is an immaculately groomed path that loops around one of Acadia's most idyllic fresh-water ponds, and the view of the North and South Bubble Mountains from the south side of Jordan Pond is one of Acadia's most iconic images. Before or after this leisurely stroll, a visit to the legendary Jordon Pond House for tea and popovers is in order!
- South Bubble (and Bubble Rock)
Located on top of South Bubble Mountain, Bubble Rock is a famous boulder that was deposited by glaciers at a seemingly precarious spot by the edge of a cliff. A hike from the Bubbles Parking Lot to Bubble Rock and the top of South Bubble makes for an easy and family-friendly hike with great views. Keep an eye on children as there are exposed cliffs near Bubble Rock and the trail gets more strenuous and exposed if you continue down the south face towards Jordan Pond.
- Wonderland Trail and/or Ship Harbor Trail
Located on the southern tip of the "quiet side" of Mount Desert Island, the Wonderland Trail and the Ship Harbor Trail are a pair of short and easy strolls through pleasant scenery that lead towards interesting spots along the ocean. Though the scenery is mostly level compared to the dramatic terrain of the more popular sections of Acadia, children of all ages enjoy searching for life in the various tide pools.
- Bar Island and Bar Island Trail
If you are staying in Bar Harbor and want to do a unique and very easy hike close to the downtown, this is the one! Bar Harbor's namesake feature is the long shallow bar that runs through the water between town and Bar Island. During low tide, the bar becomes dry land and allows tourists to hike onto the island which is officially part of Acadia National Park.
- Gorham Mountain Trail
Starting from the Gorham parking lot along the Park Loop Road and Ocean Path, Gorham Mountain is one of the shorter and easier peak hikes in Acadia, but it still offers terrific scenery from the summit. The Cadillac Cliffs Trail spur hike is also recommended as an optional detour on the way up or back down as it goes through unique sections of cliffs and chipped-off boulders.
- Pemetic Mountain
Located in the heart of Mount Desert Island towering over Jordan Pond on the east is the beautiful and majestic Pemetic Mountain. A visit to the top involves some steep and strenuous uphill hiking, but the scenery is absolutely worth the effort. Four separate trails offer numerous options for loop hikes.
- Penobscot Mountain and Sargent Mountain
Penobscot Mountain is the 5th highest peak in Acadia makes for a strenuous and invigorating hike with incredible alpine views similar to Pemetic Mountain. And those looking to extend the adventure can continue hiking north to the taller neighboring Sargent Mountain (the 2nd highest peak). This loop hike also offers easy access to see three of the beautiful carriage-road bridges.
- North Bubble and Conners Nubble
Though less frequented than the more famous South Bubble and Bubble Rock, North Bubble is actually the taller peak and offers arguably better views of Jordan Pond. A loop hike up the North Bubble to Conners Nubble (one of the minor peaks) and back via the Eagle Lake Trail offers wonderful mountain and lakeside scenery in a manageable day hike.
- Acadia Mountain and/or St. Sauveur Mountain
While the tallest and most majestic peaks are on the popular east side of Mount Desert Island, many good peak hikes can be found in the assorted sections of Acadia National Park west of Somes Sound on the "quiet side" of the island, including the park's namesake peak. Acadia Mountain offers wonderful views and can easily be combined with St. Sauveur Mountain to make a nice loop hike.
While most peak hikes in Acadia National Park are fairly strenuous, Acadia also has a special breed of peak hikes known as the "iron rung routes." Instead of trying to find the easiest way up the mountain, these ingenuous routes negotiate the steep mountain cliff contours with the aid of iron rungs, ladders, and handholds, offering hikers exhilarating exposed views. WARNING: These hikes are not suitable for small children or anybody who has a fear of heights or who isn't steady on their feet.
- The Beehive
The Beehive is the majestic peak that overlooks Sand Beach from the northwest. The hike up the Beehive Trail is a thrilling Acadia classic that heads right up the steep south face and includes iron rungs and handrails for the exposed scrambling sections. Those who control their fear of heights are rewarded with incredible views of Sand Beach far below.
- The Precipice Trail
Probably the most venerated, most strenuous, and most unique hike in all of Acadia National Park, the Precipice Trail is the one to do if you are up for it! This route is similar to the Beehive Trail, but it is taller, more strenuous, and less forgiving. After ascending 850 feet up a series of scrambling obstacles via runs, ladders, handrails, and wooden bridges, hikers are treated to a wondrous view from the top of Champlain Mountain. Please take caution on this route and do not push yourself past your limit.
- Jordan Cliffs Trail
While perhaps not as stunning as the Beehive or the Precipice Trails, the Jordan Cliffs Trail is a beautiful hike that navigates the cliffs above Jordan Pond and offers an alternate route to the top of Penobscot Mountain. Most of the trail is straight-forward hiking, but there are several exposed sections as well as a few sections of iron rungs and a unique narrow log staircase.
- Beech Cliff Trail
Located on the southwest shore of Echo Lake on the "quiet side" of Mount Desert Island, the Beech Cliff Trail is another one of Acadia National Park's classic "iron rung" routes. Although less known than the popular Beehive Trail or Precipice Trail, this clever trail has a series of ladders that take hikers up through some of the most interesting and vertical cliff formations in the park, offering stunning views of the surrounding area.
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