1. THE BEEHIVE
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.
2. CHAMPLAIN NORTH RIDGE TRAIL
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.
3. DORR MOUNTAIN
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.
DORR MOUNTAIN HIKING TRAIL VIDEO
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.
4. CADILLAC NORTH RIDGE TRAIL
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.
CADILLAC MOUNTAIN NORTH RIDGE HIKING TRAIL VIDEO
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.
5. THE GORGE
THE GORGE AND A. MURRY YOUNG 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.
6. THE SHORE PATH
The Bar Harbor Shore Path is not located in Acadia National Park, but does deserve a mention here.
|Bar Harbor Shore Path|
|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.
7. JORDAN POND TRAIL
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|
8. WONDERLAND TRAIL
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.
9. SHIP HARBOR TRAIL
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.
10. PRECIPICE TRAIL
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.
COMPASS HARBOR - ACADIA NATIONAL PARK VIDEO
GORHAM MOUNTAIN HIKING TRAIL VIDEO
LOST AND ABANDONED TRAILS OF ACADIA NATIONAL PARK VIDEO