Guidebook

Granite Peaks & Foggy Bays—12 Classic Hikes in Acadia NP

Hike along rocky coastlines, across granite peaks, or test your wits on an acclaimed “rung and ladder” trail on one of these classic day hikes in Acadia NP.

Brendon Voelker

Description

Spanning 50,000 acres along the coast of Maine, Acadia National Park “boasts a glaciated coastal and island landscape, an abundance of habitats, a high level of biodiversity, clean air and water, and a rich cultural heritage,” best stated in this article. Pink granite outcroppings define the shoreline, and exposed granite peaks offer commanding views of the park’s many ponds, lakes, bays, and islands. From easy oceanside hikes to demanding “rung and ladder” trails, these are the top hikes to consider during your visit to Acadia National Park.

Two of the best short hikes in Acadia are the Wonderland Trail and Ship Harbor Trail near Bass Harbor. They are mostly flat along well-maintained trails or gravel pathways and explore areas “where children and adults alike enjoy searching for life in the various tide pools.” Pink granite crags hug the coastline and offer plenty of opportunities for birding. Both of these hikes are dog-friendly and a great option for younger children.

One of the shortest hikes in Acadia is atop its highest peak, Cadillac Mountain. As one of the “first spots in the United States to get hit by sunrise,” the granite summit offers a spectacular sunrise with views stretching far across the harbor. As a popular summer hike, an early start on the trail is highly recommended.

One of Acadia’s most iconic hikes is the Beehive Trail. A “rung and ladder” or “iron rung” route, these trails offer unparalleled cliffside views but are not recommended for younger children or those with a fear of heights. Narrow singletrack, steep ladders, and iron rungs follow exposed cliffsides and are dangerous to attempt when wet. Even still, “if you are searching for an adventurous hike with a spectacular view, look no further,” the park suggests. As one of the busier trails around, this is a great option to become comfortable on Acadia’s more difficult trails. Other “rung and ladder” routes include the Precipice Trail, Beech & Canada Cliffs, and Jordan Cliffs.

Other classic day hikes to make the list include the Great Head Trail and Gorham Mountain Loop, both near Sand Beach. Or head towards Echo Lake and summit Acadia’s namesake peak on this circuit. As with any summit hike in the park, the views are nothing shy of epic, and the changing fall colors only accentuate Acadia’s natural beauty.

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acadia_National_Park#Recreation
https://www.citrusmilo.com/acadiaguide/

Great Head Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Great Head Trail

0 - 1 hrs
2.5 km
75 m
75 m
A scenic coastal hike with expansive views and the ruins of a historic tea house.
Moderate
Private
Beehive Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Beehive Trail

0 - 1 hrs
2.5 km
169 m
169 m
The easiest "rung and ladder" trail known for its stunning views and cliffside exposure.
Severe
Private
Acadia Mountain, St. Sauveur, and Valley Peak Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Acadia Mountain, St. Sauveur, and Valley Peak Loop

2 - 3 hrs
7.2 km
429 m
430 m
A classic Acadia hike with 3 summits and plenty of views.
Difficult
Private
Cadillac Mountain Summit Loop

Cadillac Mountain Summit Loop

0 - 1 hrs
0.6 km
23 m
23 m
A short summit hike atop the highest peak in Acadia National Park.
Moderate
Private
Precipice Trail Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Precipice Trail Loop

1 - 2 hrs
3.3 km
370 m
370 m
Climb up metal ladders in cliffsides and skirt along exposed rock ledges on this death-defying hike!
Extreme
Private
Beech and Canada Cliffs
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Beech and Canada Cliffs

1 - 2 hrs
3.3 km
197 m
197 m
An "iron rung" loop reserved for adventurous hikers without a fear of heights.
Severe
Private
Wonderland Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Wonderland Trail

0 - 1 hrs
2.2 km
27 m
27 m
An easy, family-friendly hike with endless opportunities to explore a coastal outcropping.
Easy
Private
Ship Harbor Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Ship Harbor Trail

0 - 1 hrs
2.1 km
29 m
29 m
A short, family-friendly hike with spectacular coastal views, birding opportunities, and unique granite outcroppings.
Easy
Private
Pemetic Mountain South Ridge Trail

Pemetic Mountain South Ridge Trail

2 - 3 hrs
6.5 km
321 m
320 m
A moderate hike from Jordan Pond up to Pemetic Mountain in Acadia National Park
Moderate
Private
Bubbles Nubble Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Bubbles Nubble Loop

2 - 3 hrs
6.7 km
288 m
288 m
A circuit including North Bubble, South Bubble, and Conners Nubble - with impressive views from each.
Moderate
Private
Gorham Mountain Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Gorham Mountain Loop

1 - 2 hrs
4.4 km
159 m
159 m
A summit loop over Gorham Mountain known for its expansive oceanside views and rocky shoreline.
Difficult
Private
Jordan Cliffs Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Jordan Cliffs Loop

2 - 3 hrs
5.8 km
366 m
366 m
A challenging and incredibly scenic day hike with "iron rungs and ladders" along Jordan Cliffs and Penobscot Mountain.
Severe
Private