Explore one of my favorite national parks in the entire country! Acadia National Park is home to stunning landscapes where mountains meet the sea. This park sits on Mount Desert Island in the Northern part of Maine. Visit this park in the Fall and you’ll see a kaleidoscope of oranges and reds over craggy cliff tops that will leave a lasting impression.
I’ve been to over half of the National Parks and this is one that I would return to over and over again. If you enjoy getting outdoors and hitting the trails, then read below for the best hikes in Acadia.
One note: most of these trails use rungs and go over smooth cliffs, so if it has been raining you may want to reconsider going on them.
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Table of Contents
The 5 Best Hikes in Acadia (Not in Order)
Despite this trail being short, it’s rather difficult. Once you start the trail, you will have to climb directly up the mountain about 1,000 feet. You’ll find yourself huffing and puffing, possibly taking a few extra breaks to make it up. Along the way you’ll have to climb over boulders, use iron rungs attached to the mountain side, and hold on to railings as you make your way over cliff edges. This trail is not for the faint of heart and if you have a fear of heights then definitely stay away. I may be a bit too fearless, constantly making my fiancé’s heart skip a beat as I casually stroll along the edge.
If you make it to the top, then you will be rewarded with views that take your breath away. We went during sunset, and I felt on top of the world as I spun around and around trying to figure out where to focus my attention. The views went on for miles all around Mount Desert Island, it’s the kind of place that makes you feel small in the best way.
Unfortunately, the way down is less thrilling. We found ourselves walking down through the forest in the dark, wondering how far until our van. At the very end, you’ll have to walk along the road. On your way down, you’ll follow the trail down through the forest and along the roadside until you reach your car again.
Even though we got lost going up to the top, this was one of our favorite trails. You can go on various routes to the top, and I would not suggest going around the long way. Instead, start by going around the scenic Jordan Pond and then take the Cliffs trail. You’ll find more of the Acadia National Park classic trail features: cliff side railings and mountain rungs at impressive heights. Again, if you have a fear of heights, this trail may get a bit tricky.
Once you’ve made it through the cliffs section, you will be rewarded with 360 degree views of Acadia from the Penobscot Mountain peak. Below you’ll see Jordan Pond and you’ll be surrounded by the fir covered mountains. We were lucky enough to go during the fall, staring out at various hues of reds, oranges, and greens. I couldn’t have planned it better if I tried. For those who want a challenge, continue up 300 feet to Sargent Mountain and complete the loop back down to Jordan Pond.
When you travel to Acadia, you’ll learn that the majority of trails seem deceptively easy, because they are short. But then, you’ll start to hike and realize you have to climb up incredibly steep rocky faces. Most Acadia hikes will leave you out of breath, but they will also show you stunning sights. Beehive is yet another one of these trails.
The trail gains 500 feet of elevation in less than a mile, which is no joke. Yet again, you’ll have to hang on to railings and rungs to get over the mountain. There are a few lookouts along the way, which are fun to stop at and catch your breath. We went during sunset and every time we got to a new vista, the colors had magically transformed the landscapes. The peak of this hike provides a punch, with powerful views of the area beyond. You’ll see why this is one of the best hikes in Acadia.
If you’re short on time, this is the perfect hike for you. Stretch your legs and get out for a quick leg burner up the mountain. The trailhead leaves directly behind Jordan Pond, so it’s fairly easy to find. You’ll follow the trail up over 300 feet using boulders and rocks to make your way to the peak.
Unfortunately, when I took this trail the fog had rolled in and the views below were completely obscured. I hope you’re luckier than I am, and you’ll be able to see the Jordan Pond below. This is the deepest lake in Maine, so the water is an incredible dark blue that you’ve probably rarely seen before in nature.
Compared to the other trails on this list, Jordan Pond trail is a walk in the park. The trade-off is you won’t get views above the mountains. Instead this walk makes its way around Jordan Pond with a couple sections where you’ll have to climb over boulders.
My brother enjoyed this trail, because he didn’t have to conquer his fear of heights to finish the loop. This path follows the pond’s edge around and goes through the serene forest. It’s a family friendly trail and a great place for leaf-peeping during the fall.
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