Thursday, September 17, 2015


When you think of the Carriage Roads in Acadia you might think of biking, but many use the carriage road system for other things as well, like hiking or jogging.  One of my favorite hikes in the evening is the Witch Hole Pond carriage road which is just a stunning hike as the leaves are turning color in the fall.  The carriage road passes by two nice wetland areas where different wildlife can be spotted, usually deer and ducks.

An abandoned trail that is easy to spot is to the right of the first wetland area you come to after departing Duck Brook Bridge.  This was once part of the Fern trail and comes out on the Park Loop Road just a short ways from the long bridge over Duck Brook.  That use to be one of my favorite bridges in the park until a friend of ours some how fell to his death off of it. 
The second wetland, or marsh, is almost across from Witch Hole Pond, and usually there are several ducks there.
I rarely see people fishing in Witch Hole Pond, but every now and than some one is trying to catch fish there.  A neighbor of mine years back went there often to fish and once I saw two people fishing from an inflarable boat which they had carried in. 

The Eagle Lake Carriage Roads are also a great place to hike on a quiet evening.  I usually do the stretch between the Eagle Lake boat landing to Bubble Pond, where at dusk if your lucky you can sit on a rock by the shore and listen to the loons.  I know a guy who use to fish at the head of the lake close to number 6 intersection, and he always caught a nice batch of trout there.
Another of my favorite places along Eagle Lake is a place where the Abandoned House is, a house that was never finished.  It's a nice quiet spot where you have a sweeping view of the lake and have a very nice view of the sunset.

Saturday, August 1, 2015




If the Precipice Trail is the most dangerous trail in Acadia national  Park, than the Behive has to be the second most dangerous trail.  In  fact, many old publications refer to the Beehive as the little  Precipice, and for good reason.  It too uses iron ladders and iron  rungs to help get you to the top, and it also has some very narrow  cliffs as well.  It is also a climb and not a hike. 
The iron ladders get you from one steep ledge to the next, until you  reach the top at 520 feet.  The trail offers spectacular views of Sand  Beach, Great head and Frenchman's Bay.  I have seen children  making the climb, but it is not recommended.  People have fallen off  both the ladders as well  as the steep ledgers and have been very  badly hurt..  The trail is both steep and difficult.
To reach the Beehive Trail drive along the One Way section of the  Park Loop Road and park at the Sand Beach Parking lot.  The  Beehive trail is almost across from the parking lot.  You can also   take the free Island Explorer bus as well.  board the Sand Beach Bus  at the Bar Harbor village green. 


Depending on what mood the park service  and the map makers are  in, this trail goes by two different names.  On some maps it is called  the Champlain North Ridge Trail, while on other maps its called the  Bear Brook Trail.  Large sections of the trail are in the open as it  passes over granite.  Unlike other trails up champlain Mountain, this  Trail is steep in sections and strenuous and you should bring along  water and snacks along with a cell phone.  Once at the summit you  will be treated to sweeping and stunning views that you only get  from this summit so cameras are a must.
As you stand at the summit you can not miss the large warning sign  for the Precipice Trail - many stand next to the sign and have their  photos taken.  The park service recomends that people don't climb  down the Precipice as making your way down iron ladders and iron  rungs is much more difficult than climbing upward.  Besides the  Precipice trail at the summit, there is also the trail to the Bowl, and  the Beachcroft trail which takes you down by route 3 and the tarn,

there a short path takes you to sieur de monts Spring where you can  catch the free Island Explorer bus.
To reach the Bear Brook Trail, take the one way section of the Park  Loop road.  You will see the turn off for Sieur de Monts Spring, stay  on the Park Loop road and continue past the stone bridge.  the road  curves around a bend as it goes uphill, than levels out.  The Bear  Brook Picnic area is on the left, just ahead is the Bear Brook Pond  with Champlain Mountain towering over it.  The trail head is just  past the pond, and a parking area is at the curve ahead.
You can also reach Bear Brook Trail by catching the free Island  Explorer bus at the Bar Harbor village Green.  You want the Sand  Beach Bus, and let the driver know ahead of time you want to get off  there.  You can also simply pull the cord to have the bus stop as soon  as you see the large pond on the right, it is the only pond that comes  right up along the roadway so you can't miss it.


The Dorr Mountain Homans Trail was once a very popular hiking  trail, but than came the great fire and the park service began  abandoning many of it's hiking trails, including the Homans Trail.   For years after its closing, the Homans Trail would remain "lost" as  the park service would later say.  For those who enjoy the sport of  locating and hiking abandoned trail, the Homans trail remained an  active climb for many years.  Finally some one in the park service

waked up and realized what a gem they had on their hands, and the  Homans Trail up dorr mountain was once again opened as an official trail.
The trail was built as a trail that climbed up the side of Dorr  Mountain, mostly by granite steps, and when the trail reached a high  flat stop, it stopped.  When the park service reopened the trail they  added a short section to connect the Homans trail with the main trail  up Dorr Mountain.  In my opinion this is one of the best trails in the  entire park and most who hike it agree.

Half way up the mountainside you come to two tall walls of granite  with stone steps passing up between these two tall walls.  When this  section was built, George B. Dorr had a huge section of granite laid  over the top of these two walls, the effect being it's like passing  through a tunnel or cave.  The Homans Trail is not that long and is an  easy trail to hike.  Once you join the main trail, simply follow that up  to the summit.  The main trail is about one and a half miles long and  unlike the Homans Trail, it can be steep and strenuous - you should  carry water, snacks, and a cell phone with you.


You can reach the Homans Trail by driving to Sieur de Monts Spring  where you will also find the Nature Center and the Wild Gardens of  Acadia.  Once at the parking lot, at the far end corner of the parking  lot away from the buildings is a path.  Walk down that path until you  come to a four way intersection, a boardwalk is to the right - the  Jesup Trail.  Keep going straight about two car lengths and you will  see the Homans Trail sign post. You can also reach Sieur de Monts area by taking the free Island  Explorer bus.  You will want to get on the Sand Beach bus at the Bar  Harbor Village Green, Sieur de Monts is a regular stop.  There are  also flush restrooms at Sieur de Monts.  A walk through the area will  also reveal several other hiking trails.

The Cadillac Mountain North Ridge Trail is an open trail for the  most part, with sections passing through short stretches of tree's.  As  you get higher and higher up the trail you want to stop now and than  and take in the sweeping ocean views from the mountainside,  including very nice views of the Porcupine Islands.  The trail is  about two miles in length and is a moderate hike.


 Once at the summit of Cadillac Mountain even more breathtaking  views await you, providing the weather is good.  There is a gift shop  and rest rooms at the summit as well.  Like with most mountain trails,  you should bring along water and snacks as well as a cell phone in  case of an emergency.  From the summit you can either hike back  down the way you came, or take the Cadillac South ridge trail either  down to Blackwoods Campground or take the Caynon Brook trail further down, which connects to the  breathtaking gorge Trail.



  The trail features steep walls and some beautiful rock formations.  I  myself consider this trail to be the second best hike in the park.  The  trail is in the forest for the most part and pretty much follows  a  mountain stream  much of the way.    Perhaps the highlight of the hike  is when you reach the highest point of the trail, known as the Notch.   Here the entire valley opens up in front of you with breathtaking  views of the distant ocean and the side of Cadillac Mountain.  From  the Notch the trail becomes the A. Murry Young Trail.   The Young trail moves through a deciduous forest and follows the  Kebo Brook.  The A. Murry Young trail ends at the intersection of  two other trails, the Canon Brook Trail to the right and the Kane trail

 on the left.  The Canon trail is steep and can be very slippery in  places, good footing is advised.
Stay on the Kane Trail which continues through forest and passes a  small waterfall where tired hikers can get cooled off on a hot summer  day.  After a ways the trail passes a beaver pond, a side trail crosses  the pond and comes out on the side of route 3 by the Tarn.   Continue straight until the trail reaches the Tarn, and continue on the  Jesup Trail which will lead you to Sieur de Monts Spring and the  Nature Center and Wild gardens of Acadia.  From there you can

catch the free Island Explorer bus back to the Bar Harbor Village  Green.
To locate the Gorge Trail, there are two ways fo reaching the trail  head.  the first is to catch the free Island Explorer bus from the Bar  Harbor Village Green.  You want to get on the Jordan Pond bus.  The  bus leaves the Village Green and heads to the hulls Cove Visitor's  Center, and from there travels the Park Loop Road, making its next  stop at the Cadillac North Ridge Trail, which is a regular bus stop.   Get off there, and hike the short section of trail until you come to a

sign for the gorge trail.   The other way of reaching the Gorge Trail is by driving the Park  Loop Road and turning onto the One Way Section,like your heading  for Sand Beach.  After going around a curve, you pass the parking  lot for the Cadillac Mountain South Ridge trail.  The road than goes m down hill before flattening out and crossing a stone bridge.  Park by  the stone bridge, the Gorge trail begins there below the bridge. The Gorge hike is a moderate Hike and the only trail on the island  that passes between towering walls of granite.


The Bar Harbor Shore Path is not located in Acadia National Park,  but does deserve a mention here.

Bar Harbor Shore Path
  It is a historic path running along  the shore in downtown Bar harbor.  As you walk the path, you will  have expensive homes, many with prize winning gardens to one side  of you, and sweeping views of Frenchman's bay to the other.  As you  walk the path expect to see working fishing vessels making there  way in and out of the harbor, and on many days one to three cruise  ships can be seen anchored in the Harbor.

Bar Harbor Shore Path

The shore path begins down by the Bar Harbor town pier, over by  the cannons next to the Bar Harbor Inn.  Children will find places  along the path to go down and explore the shore.  Years ago the  shore path use to run all the way to Compass harbor, with its two  beaches and site of what remains of Old Farm, the George B. Dorr  estate.  Today that section of trail is closed to the public and blocked by a high metal fence.


The Jordan Pond Trail loops around the entire pond offering views  of the lake, forests and mountains.  It is also an easy trail the entire  family can enjoy hiking along.  The trail is a little over 3 miles in  length and at the end of the hike there is the Jordon Pond House  where you can enjoy a snack or pop overs.
Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park

The Jordon Pond trail is located by the Jordon Pond House along the  Park Loop Road, not far beyond the Cadillac summit road and  Bubble Pond.  To arrive by the free Island Explorer bus, catch the  Northeast Harbor bus at the Bar Harbor Village Green, or you can  catch the free Island Explorer Loop Road bus at the Hulls cove  visitors Center. 
There are a number of Carriage roads and hiking trails that also  begin near the Jordon Pond House, and across the roadway is the  historic Jordon pond Gate House.

Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park
  Three of these Gate Houses were n suppose to have been built, but only two actually got built, the one  planned for Eagle Lake never got constructed.


The Ship Harbor Nature Trail is a favorite of tourists, but  Wonderland is the favorite with the locals.  There is a few reasons  for this, one being that unlike ship Harbor, wonderland  has a beach.   There are also many places to get right down next to the water.   There are also two small coves, one to the left of Wonderland and  one to the right, both within an easy walk with plenty of places for  children to explore. Even though the Wonderland trail is a fire road, it is not well  maintained and there are a few  small areas where the road is in  rough shape, so if your pushing a baby stroller, you will need to  carry it over a few spots, but for the most part, the road is fairly smooth.
The Wonderland Trail moves almost in a straight line from parking  ot to the beach, and the trail turns to the left and soon makes a loop  through the woods with nice ocean views.  There are a number of  paths that lead to the edge of the water and well worth exploring. The Wonderland beach is a nice place to search for sea glass in the  sand, and along the shore you will come across nice pieces of  driftwood.  The trail itself is easy and children friendly, just over half a mile in length. 
To reach the Wonderland Trail,  drive along route 102A just outside  of Southwest Harbor.  Route 102A passes through the villages of  Manset and Seawall.    You can also reach the Ship Harbor Parking  lot by taking the free Island Explorer bus.  You want the Southwest  Harbor bus if you take the bus, and be sure to let the driver know in  advance that you want to get off at the Wonderland trail as it is a by  request stop only.  To reach the bus, simply wave it down, a new

bus comes along about every hour.


The Ship Harbor Nature trail is a self-guided walk through forest and  along the shore.  The trail is easy and a perfect choice for those with  young kids.  There is an area along the trail where you can get close  to the waters of ship Harbor and children seem to love that area.   The trail comes out by the ocean, but you can not get close to the  water like you can at Wonderland.  Ship Harbor seems to be the  favorite with tourists but Wonderland is clearly the favorite with the

locals.  If you can do both trails you will experience the best that  both trails offer.
From the Ship Harbor Parking lot the trail is just a little over a mile  long.  To reach the ship Harbor Nature Trail, drive along route 102A  just outside of Southwest Harbor.  Route 102A passes through the  villages of Manset and Seawall.  There is a non-flush bathroom at the  parking lot.  You can also reach the Ship Harbor Parking lot by  taking the free Island Explorer bus.  You want the Southwest Harbor  bus if you take the bus, and be sure to let the driver know in advance  that you want to get off at the Ship Harbor trail as it is a by request  stop only.  To reach the bus, simply wave it down, a new bus comes along about every hour.


  The Precipice trail is actually a climb where climbers  encounter ladders and iron rungs to help them move up the sheer  cliffs.  Even though entire families make their way up and down the  Precipice, it is highly recommended that children not attempt to  make the climb.  Anyone afraid of heights or walking along very  narrow cliffs with sheer drop-offs should also avoid this trail.
The Precipice, Acadia National Park

  The Precipice Trail is considered one of the most difficult trails in  Acadia National Park.  As you make your way along the climb you  quickly encounter signs warning you of the dangers ahead and  stating that climbers have been seriously injuried and killed on this  trail.  And while most will make the climb wthout incident, sadly  some are not as fortunate.  One year I talked to a man who was going  to make the climb, the next day he fell from one of the narrow ledges  to his death. The reason  this hike is rated number 10 and not number one is  because the trail is closed most of the summer because of  endangered peregrine falcons which nest along the trail.  The trail is usually open during the fall months. 
  From the Precipice parking area, the trail moves over rocks and  past larger boulders before coming to the first tough area of the  trail, which is known as the turn-a-round.  It is so named because  many people come to this section of iron rungs and turn around and  head back to the parking area.  The turn-a-round was designed on  purpose to do just that, because if you can't handle the turn-a-round,  you will not be able to handle the more difficult areas that lie up ahead.
  The trail than passes through a huge pile of glacial ralus.  Many  years ago a trail veered left called the Great Cave Trail which once  led to the Great Cave, a huge cave in the mountainside, but that trail  was abandoned by the Park Service.  From than onward the trail  begins to move across very narrow cliffs with sheer drop-offs and  stunning views.  As you continue onward ladders and iron rungs help  you make the climb.     What you can expect as your reward for making this difficult climb  is perhaps some of the best views anywhere in the park.  The climb  from the parking area to the summit of Champlain Mountain takes  anywhere from 1 to 2 hours or more, depending on how fit you are.
  To reach the Precipice Trail, drive along the one way section of  the park loop road, the Precipice parking lot is well marked and  before the park entrance fee station and Sand Beach.  The other way  mto reach the Precipice is by catching a ride there on the free Island  Explorer bus.  The bus you want to get on is the Sand Beach bus  from the Bar Harbor Village green.  You can also catch the free  Island Explorer bus from the Hulls cove Visitors center, that bus covers the entire park loop road.  If you do chose to get there by  bus, be sure and let the driver know in advance you want to get dropped off at the Precipice because it is not a regular stop.




Monday, July 13, 2015



The Homan's trail has always been a special trail for me because it is one of the first abandoned hiking trails I discovered.  The Park Service abandoned it many years earlier and rediscovered it in recent years.  The trail was spruced up (mainly this required the removal of huge tree's that had fallen across the trail) and the trail was reopened as an official trail.

When the Park service reopened the Homans trail, they added a short new section of trail at the trails end, connecting it to the main hiking trail up Dorr Mountain.  The Homans Trail does have stone steps, but not nearly as many as the main trail most people use to hike Dorr mountain, and the Homans Trail gets you up the mountainside quicker.
Dorr Mountain - Acadia National Park

It also has two features you will not find on any of the other hiking trails on Dorr Mountain, shortly after you start your hike you come to the first one, a hole in the rocks, sometimes called the Donut Hole, where   hikers have to bend down to fit through the hole.  Once you come out on the other side of the rocks, the trail turns sharply to the left and stones steps rise upward, leading you around a couple of corners when the second feature of this trail greets you.

  The trail ahead would of simply passed between two tall walls of granite, but George B. Dorr came up with a great idea, he had a huge slab of granite placed over the two walls, in effect creating a cave or tunnel effect in the middle of the trail. 
Just a little further on the trail reached the top where the trail once ended.  Here the trail turns to the left and goes on for a short distance before connecting with the main trail so many hike.
Homans Trail - Acadia National Park

Dorr Mountain Homans Trail - Acadia National Park
At that point there is a trail sign, pause for a moment and just take in the stunning views that lie before you.  Now turn right and follow the main trail to the summit of Dorr Mountain.
Once you have hiked the Homans Trail, you will most likely ask yourself the same question so many others have asked, what in the world was the Park Service thinking when they abandoned this trail?  Thankfully it has been reopened and we can all enjoy its
So how do you find the Homans trail?  I will make it really easy, drive to Sieur de Monts Spring/Wild gardens/Nature Center - either by route 3 just beyond Jackson Lab or by way of the One Way Section of the Park Loop Road.
Dorr Mountain Homans Trail - Acadia National Park

 Once at the Sieur de Monts Spring parking lot,  park and head to the far end of the parking lot - there is a gated fire road there.  Walk down the fire road and in a short time you will come to a four way intersection.  The fire road continues straight ahead, and to the right is a boardwalk -the Jesus Trail.

Map of Dorr Mountain, Acadia National Park
Continue straight ahead on the fire road about one to two car lengths and look for a trail head marker on the left, THE HOMANS TRAIL. 

The Park Service has always insisted that the Homans Trail was never completed and that it simply came to a dead end.  If you look at old maps, this simply is not the case, the Homans trail always connected to the Emery Trail.  In recent years the park reopened the Homans Trail, but claimed they added a section of trail to connect it to the Emery trail, yet that section was already there, though overgrown in places, as the old map below shows.
 Below is a link to a good article on the Homans Trail.


Sunday, July 12, 2015


The start of the Bowl Trail begins across the roadway from Sand Beach parking lot, to the right..  The first section of the trail is pretty much stepping from one rock to another as you make your way along a brook.  Soon the trail crosses large flat sections of smooth granite before coming to the start of the Bee Hive trail on the left.
The Bowl Trail soon enters the woods and the trail becomes easier.  Soon you come to the first trail on the left that leads to the Gorham Mountain Summit.
In recent years sections of this trail have been rebuilt and those sections are very easy to hike along.  The trail than begins to climb upward and you soon come to the second trail on the left that leads to the Gorham Mountain summit.  The further along you go the Bowl Trail becomes steeper before flattening out and than leading downward toward the Bowl.  Around this area you will find a trail leading up to the summit of the Bee Hive - take this trail up the Bee hive if you want to avoid the iron ladder rungs and sheer cliffs. 
Once you reach the Bowl, the trail along one edge is wood planking and easy going.  Keep a lookout for active beaver in the calm waters.  You may also find tired hikers taking a dip in the cool waters of the bowl, and it is also a spot where people come every now and than to swim nude.  There are a couple of abandoned trails in this area, one ran to the right side of the Bowl, making its way up Enoch Mountain.  A second abandoned trail is located in the area where a brook empties into the Bowl - this old trail once made its way down to route 3 noit far from the corner of the Otter Cliff Road, both abandoned trails are hard to locate.

Sticking with the bowl trail, from here you have a few choices. many hikers continue to follow the Bowl trail  and continue along it, hiking to the summit of Champlain Mountain.  Or you could hike back the way you came and return to the Sand Beach parking lot.  The third option would be to go back in the direction you came and hike one of the other four trails you passed on your way up to the Bowl.   The bowl is also a great spot to bring along a picnic lunch to as well.