FATMAP by Strava

Precipice Trail Loop

Acadia National Park

Climb up metal ladders in cliffsides and skirt along exposed rock ledges on this death-defying hike!

Hiking Extreme

3.3 km
370 m
370 m
1-2 hrs
Low Point
35 m
High Point
315 m
Precipice Trail Loop Map

"The Precipice Trail is the most challenging and well-known hiking trail in Acadia National Park with an exposed and almost vertical 1,000-foot climb,” according to Acadia.ws. "It is designated as ‘strenuous' and is only recommended for physically fit and experienced hikers who have no fear of heights,” the writer continues.


During this hike, you’ll traverse exposed slabs along rock cliffs protected by cables anchored in the rocks, enjoying airy views over the National Park all along the way! Some sections of the route even require hikers to clamber up metal ladder rungs anchored in the rock, almost via ferrata-style. The requirement to use all of your limbs to ascend this trail and the massive fall danger have earned this hike an “Extreme” rating in FATMAP.

The Precipice Trail isn’t simply presumed to be dangerous—history has proven it to be true. A hiker fell to her death from this trail in 2012. However, until 2012, the last death on this trail was way back in 1985.

Consequently, EarthTrekkers.com warns that “if you have a fear of heights or are traveling with children, skip this hike. And under no circumstances should you hike the Precipice Trail in the rain. The granite cliffs and iron rungs get dangerously slippery when it is wet.”

While the fall danger from this trail is significant and the climb can be steep, if you negotiate the challenging parts successfully, this jaunt up the mountain can be accomplished in just an hour or two. Ultimately, this gorgeous hike is only two miles round-trip, making it the shortest hike in our “25 Most Incredible Day Hikes in the United States” guidebook.

Sources: http://www.acadia.ws/precipice.htm https://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/maine-college-student-falls-death-hiking-precipice-trail-acadia-national-park-article-1.1125582 https://www.earthtrekkers.com/precipice-trail-hike-acadia/



Scrambling up mountains and along technical trails with moderate fall exposure. Handholds are necessary to navigate the trail in its entirety, although they are not necessary at all times. Some obstacles can be very large and difficult to navigate, and the grades can often be near-vertical. The challenge of the trail and the steepness of the grade results in very strenuous hiking. Hikes of this difficulty blur the lines between "hiking" and "climbing".

Extreme Exposure

4 out of 4

Some trail sections are extremely exposed where falling will almost certainly result in serious injury or death.


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

between June and October


  • Picturesque
  • Summit Hike

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area