HIKES IN THE MIDDLE PEAKS AREA:

In the heart of Acadia National Park are more than a dozen beautiful and majestic peaks with several idyllic lakes and ponds scattered in between. A vast network of hiking trails and carriage roads allow hikers and bikers to explore miles of scenic territory. Famous landmarks include the summit of Cadillac Mountain (the only peak you can drive to the top of for great views of sunrise and sunset) and the Jordan Pond House (one of the best national park restaurants with an amazing view of the Bubbles).

CADILLAC MOUNTAIN SUMMIT LOOP
Rating: short and easy family stroll. an Acadia classicfamily-friendlyCadillac Mountain Summit Loop, Acadia National Park

Cadillac Mountain is the largest and tallest mountain in Acadia National Park, rising roughly 1522 feet above sea level. No trip to Acadia would be complete without a visit to the summit, and while there are four strenuous hiking trails that lead to the top, most tourists will opt for the easier option of driving up the Cadillac Summit Road. At the summit is a large parking lot, restrooms, and even a gift shop. A leisurely stroll along the paved Cadillac Summit Loop Trail offers wonderful views of the surrounding areas. The top of Cadillac Mountain is an amazingly popular spot to catch daybreak.
Hiking Guide  Photos

JORDAN POND PATH (Jordan Pond Loop)
Rating: easy family stroll. an Acadia classicJordan Pond Path, Acadia National Park

When you think of idyllic spots in Acadia, Jordan Pond probably comes to mind with its pristine calm waters surrounded by lush, majestic mountains in all directions. The Jordan Pond House (rated one of the best restaurants in any national park) is conveniently located on the south side of the pond and offers up wondrous views of the Bubbles (South Bubble Mountain and North Bubble Mountain) across the water. Before or after having afternoon tea and popovers (reservations recommended), a stroll around the Jordan Pond Trail (Jordan Pond Loop) is a wonderful leisurely activity while offering up great scenery.
Hiking Guide  Photos

SOUTH BUBBLE MOUNTAIN (and Bubble Rock)
Rating: moderately strenuous day hike. an Acadia classicfamily-friendlySouth Bubble Mountain, Acadia National Park

One of the most famous views in Acadia is from the south side of Jordan Pond looking north at the Bubbles across the lake. Both of these beautiful little peaks (South Bubble and North Bubble) have trails that go to the summits that make for great day hikes. In addition to being a wonderful viewpoint, South Bubble also has a famous tourist attraction: Bubble Rock (aka. Balanced Rock), a large boulder that was carried by glaciers and deposited at the seemingly precarious edge of a cliff. The hike from the Bubbles parking lot to Bubble Rock is family-friendly, but keep an eye on children near exposed sections of the mountain.
Hiking Guide  Photos

NORTH BUBBLE and CONNERS NUBBLE
Rating: moderately strenuous day hike.North Bubble Mountain, Acadia National Park

One of the most famous views in Acadia is from the south side of Jordan Pond looking north at the Bubbles across the lake. While a visit to the summit of North Bubble can be incorporated into a South Bubble hike, a longer loop hike along the (North) Bubbles Trail offers some great scenery and escapes the crowds that flock to South Bubble and Bubble Rock. In addition to the great views of Jordan Pond, this hike summits the lesser-known Conners Nubble for great views of Eagle Lake and heads through some beautiful forested marshes.
Hiking Guide  Photos

PEMETIC MOUNTAIN
Rating: fairly strenuous day hike. an Acadia classicPemetic Mountain, Acadia National Park

Located in the heart of Mount Desert Island towering over Jordan Pond on the east is the beautiful and majestic Pemetic Mountain. Pemetic is one of the great peaks of Acadia, comparable in size to Dorr Mountain and Sargent Mountain. A visit to the top involves some steep and strenuous uphill hiking, but the scenery is absolutely worth the effort. After ascending the initial forested cliffs, the upper sections of the mountain feel like a different world of wondrous granite formations. With unhindered views in all directions, including the trio of inner lakes: Jordan Pond, Eagle Lake, and Bubble Pond, Pemetic is one of Acadia's crown jewels.
Hiking Guide  Photos

PENOBSCOT MOUNTAIN and SARGENT MOUNTAIN
Rating: strenuous day hike with exposure.Penobscot Mountain and Sargent Mountain, Acadia National Park

With its tall and exposed cliffs looking down on Jordan Pond from the west, Penobscot Mountain is the impressive north-south mountain that sits opposite of Pemetic Mountain in the Jordan Pond/Bubbles pantheon. A hike up Penobscot Mountain via the Spring Trail makes for a strenuous and invigorating hike with incredible alpine views. And those looking to extend the adventure can continue hiking north to the taller neighboring Sargent Mountain.
Hiking Guide  Photos

JORDAN CLIFFS TRAIL
Rating: strenuous and exposed hike with iron aides. exposed scrambling route with iron aidesJordan Cliffs Trail, Acadia National Park

The east face of Penobscot Mountain has some of the most impressive and steep cliffs in Acadia National Park. Known as the "Jordan Cliffs," these scenic cliffs offer spectacular views of Jordan Pond far below to the east; the Jordan Cliffs Trail is a strenuous route that takes hikers on an amazing traverse through these exposed cliff bands. Although not as treacherous as the Beehive Trail or Precipice Trail, this route has several sections of handrails and aides and is considered one of the classic iron rung routes of the park, offering up fantastic views along the way.
Hiking Guide  Photos

CADILLAC SOUTH RIDGE TRAIL
Rating: fairly strenuous day hike.Cadillac Mountain South Ridge Trail, Acadia National Park

While most tourists take the easy way to the summit of Cadillac Mountain by driving their vehicles up the access road, the highest peak on Mount Desert Island has several hiking trails that lead to the summit. The Cadillac South Ridge Trail is arguably the most interesting route and is one of the longest straight stretches of trail in the park. Starting near the Blackwoods Campground on the south side of the island, the trail makes a long and steady ascent through some beautiful scenery to end at the popular summit.
Hiking Guide  Photos

CADILLAC NORTH RIDGE TRAIL
Rating: fairly strenuous day hike.Cadillac Mountain North Ridge Trail, Acadia National Park

A slightly shorter alternative hike to the Cadillac South Ridge Trail, the Cadillac North Ridge Trail starts at the opposite end of the mountain at a trailhead along the Park Loop Road just .2 miles past the start of the one-way section. This easy-to-follow trail makes a slow and steady ascent though a few sections of pleasant forest to reach the higher sections of interesting pink granite formations, offering expansive views to the north. While this is arguably the least interesting trail to the top of Cadillac Mountain and cars on the nearby Cadillac Summit Road may prevent any wilderness experience, this is still a pleasant hike.
Hiking Guide  Photos

GORGE PATH (to Cadillac Mountain Summit)
Rating: fairly strenuous day hike. an Acadia classicGorge Path, Acadia National Park

Cadillac Mountain has many interconnected trails that lead to the summit, but the most unique is the Gorge Path. Just to the east of Cadillac Mountain is its smaller sibling, Dorr Mountain, and their close proximity creates a narrow and dark gorge between the two. Gorge Path is a fairly strenuous hike that goes right up the forested valley, staying close to the watercourse of the seasonal stream to reach the north/south saddle between the two peaks. At the saddle, the trail brightens up and dries up as it turns west to ascend the steep granite outcroppings of the east face of Cadillac Mountain to finally reach the summit.
Hiking Guide  Photos

DORR NORTH RIDGE TRAIL and KEBO MOUNTAIN
Rating: fairly strenuous day hike.Dorr Mountain North Ridge Trail, Acadia National Park

So many peaks and so little time! The Dorr North Ridge Trail is another north-south ridge hike that runs parallel with the Cadillac North Ridge Trail to reach the summit of Dorr Mountain, the slightly shorter companion peak to Cadillac Mountain. While the Dorr North Ridge Trail might not be the most unique or stunning hike in the park, it does offer up some idyllic Acadia scenery and peakbaggers will be able to check off the small Kebo Mountain in addition to Dorr Mountain. The Hemlock Trail and the Stratheden Trail offer an alternate return route back to the starting point.
Hiking Guide  Photos

DAY MOUNTAIN and THE TRIAD
Rating: moderately strenuous day hike.Day Mountain and The Triad, Acadia National Park

Day Mountain and The Triad are two relatively minor peaks located east of Seal Harbor. Day Mountain has the distinction of being the only peak that also has a carriage road that leads to the summit. Located directly north of Day Mountain, The Triad is a mountain that actually has three distinct peaks, and several trail options lead to each high point. Although both mountains are perhaps off of the casual tourist's radar, these peaks have relatively easy access and a hike linking the two offers great views and fun hiking through some classic Acadia scenery.
Hiking Guide  Photos

BALD PEAK, PARKMAN MOUNTAIN, and GILMORE PEAK
Rating: fairly strenuous day hike.Bald Peak, Parkman Mountain, and Gilmore Peak, Acadia National Park

While Cadillac Mountain and all of the larger mountains get most of the attention from visitors, Acadia National Park has several minor peaks that are worthy of exploration. Just west of the much larger Sargent Mountain and Penobscot Mountain are a trio of smaller peaks--Bald Peak, Parkman Mountain, and Gilmore Peak--that offer arguably better views. The wonderful (and sometimes confusing) Acadia trail system allows you to link these three peaks together into one enjoyable day hike.
Hiking Guide  Photos

CADILLAC WEST FACE TRAIL
Rating: fairly strenuous day hike with exposure. exposed scrambling route with iron aidesCadillac Mountain West Face Trail, Acadia National Park

Starting at the Bubble Pond parking lot and trailhead, the Cadillac West Face Trail isn't as well known as the other routes to the top of Cadillac Mountain, but it is the most thrilling and precipitous! This short but strenuous stretch of trail zigzags its way up the steep rock formations of the west face of Cadillac Mountain, offering wonderful views of Bubble Pond and Eagle Lake below. The trail then joins up with the more popular Cadillac South Ridge Trail to make its way to the top of Acadia's highest peak.
Hiking Guide  Photos

CANON BROOK TRAIL and A. MURRAY YOUNG PATH
Rating: moderately strenuous day hike. exposed scrambling route with iron aidesCanon Brook Trail, Acadia National Park

There are so many interesting hiking routes to the top of Cadillac Mountain that it may be hard to keep track of them all and choose which one(s) to hike. Aside from the popular trails, there are also a few connector trails that are worthy of exploration, including Canon Brook Trail, the A. Murray Young Path, and the Bubble-and-Jordan-Ponds Path. These remote sections of trail traverse around the south side of Cadillac Mountain to hit a few off-the-beaten-path viewpoints and can be included in longer loop hikes through the park.
Hiking Guide  Photos

NORUMBEGA MOUNTAIN (via Goat Trail)
Rating: moderately strenuous day hike.Norumbega Mountain via Goat Trail, Acadia National Park

Norumbega Mountain is the westernmost peak on the eastern side of Mount Desert Island, sitting adjacent to Somes Sound. A hike up the steep and aptly-named "Goat Trail" quickly ascends the mountain to reach the summit. Despite the viewpoints being rather obscured by vegetation, a loop hike around Norumbega Mountain takes hikers through sublime thickly forested landscape, including a dense grove of young pines. The stroll along the shores of Lower Hadlock Pond is also worth the effort.
Hiking Guide  Photos

HADLOCK PONDS TRAIL
Rating: fairly easy stroll. family-friendlyNorumbega Mountain via Goat Trail, Acadia National Park

Located between Norumbega Mountain and Cedar Swamp Mountain, Upper Hadlock Pond and Lower Hadlock Pond are two neighboring reservoirs that function as catch basins for all streams flowing down from the peaks southwest of Sargent Mountain. People driving south on Route 198 to Northeast Harbor and Asticou Gardens can see Upper Hadlock Pond just east of the road with the majestic Bald Peak and Parkman Mountains in the background. Both ponds are public water supplies, so no swimming or wading is allowed, but trails around the ponds make for pleasant hiking in some idyllic scenery.
Hiking Guide  Photos

GIANT SLIDE TRAIL (and Sargent Mountain Loop)
Rating: fairly strenuous day hike.Giant Slide Trail, Acadia National Park

Starting from a roadside trailhead along Route 198 outside of the NPS boundary near Somes Sound, the Giant Slide Trail is a hike that is off of most tourists' radars, but it is a worthy adventure if you're looking for something different in a quiet corner of the park. This clever route follows Sargent Brook up into a boulder-filled valley, weaving around and even under large boulders as it makes its way upstream. Once above the "Giant Slide", a popular option is to continue along the Grandgent Trail to the top of Sargent Mountain, Acadia's second tallest peak.
Hiking Guide  Photos

CEDAR SWAMP MOUNTAIN (via Sargent South Ridge)
Rating: moderately strenuous day hike.Cedar Swamp Mountain, Acadia National Park

Located just south of the maze of trails that traverse the more prominent Penobscot and Sargent Mountains, Cedar Swamp Mountain might be the least noticed of all of the peaks in the heart of Mount Desert Island. A hike up Cedar Swamp Mountain via the Sargent South Ridge Trail makes for a great little off-the-beaten-path trek, offering great views from the exposed cliffs near the summit. This hike also gives easy access to the summits several nearby peaks as well as two beautiful carriage road bridges, the Amphitheater Bridge and the Little Harbor Brook Bridge.
Hiking Guide  Photos

HADLOCK BROOK TRAIL and MAPLE SPRING TRAIL
Rating: fairly strenuous day hike.Hadlock Brook Trail and Maple Spring Trail, Acadia National Park

When you look at a map of Mount Desert Island, you may be overwhelmed by all of the criss-crossing trails. While there are many, many options for wandering hikes up and around Sargent Mountain, one interesting idea is a loop hike up the lesser-travelled Hadlock Brook Trail to the summit of Sargent Mountain and then back down the nearby Maple Spring Trail. While this hike is a bit off the radar, it passes by several unique viewpoints as well as offering easy access to three of Acadia's majestic carriage road bridges, including the famous Waterfall Bridge.
Hiking Guide  Photos

HUNTERS BROOK TRAIL (to The Triad)
Rating: moderately strenuous day hike.Hunters Brook Trail, Acadia National Park

Good for the wanderer who wants to get away from the crowds, the Hunters Brook Trail is a lonely stretch of trail that leads to the summit of one of Acadia's lesser-known peaks: The Triad. Starting at the roadside trailhead located along a remote section of the one-way Park Loop Road, the trail follows Hunters Brook upstream through some dense forest scenery, and then the trail ascends the east face of The Triad to a muted but sublime view from the summit.
Hiking Guide  Photos

Continue to the Quiet West Side ->

Hiking symbols used for descriptions:
an Acadia classic ACADIA CLASSIC: a must-do hike if you want to see the best of Acadia!
family-friendly FAMILY-FRIENDLY: a good choice for those with children who like to hike.
exposed scrambling route with iron aides WARNING: a hike that may have scrambling, significant exposure, and/or sections of iron rungs or other aides.

Please note: This web site and all images on this site are the property of Joe Braun Photography ©2024. Unauthorized public or commercial use of any of the images or text on this website without explicit permission is strictly forbidden.