Whether you are looking to tackle easy hikes in Acadia National Park or looking to conquer the hardest hiking trails in Acadia, one thing is for sure, there are plenty of amazing views and hikes in Acadia National Park to choose from. Ranging in lengths and difficulty, the below list of Acadia hiking trails will take you on some of the best hikes in Acadia. So what are you waiting for? Lace-up those boots and get your water bottles filled, you have some hiking to get too!
Best Hikes In Acadia National Park
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1. Great Head Trail
Located just off of Sand Beach in Acadia National Park, you’ll find the trailhead to the Great Head Trail. Perfect for families and dogs, this trail winds through trees and along the coastline of Acadia National Park. You’ll see expectational views of Sand Beach and The Beehive along with vast views of the Atlantic Ocean and Acadia’s rugged coastline.
The trail itself is very rugged and rocky, but mostly flat making it one of the easier hikes within Acadia National Park.
Length: 1.9 miles | Difficulty: Easy to Moderate | Elevation Gain: 301 ft.
2. Ocean Path Trail
A fantastic walking trail if you are looking to see some of the best things Acadia has to offer. Starting at Sand Beach, you can walk to popular sights like Thunder Hole, Monument Cove, Boulder Beach, and Otter Cliff Point. The trail is one way, so just remember, however far you walk there, you’ll have to walk that same distance back.
The trail itself is a packed gravel and nestled in between the Acadia’s Park Loop Road and coastline. While this is listed as a hike, it’s definitely more of a walking path. So if you are looking for something easy, this is for you. Think of this trail as a great leisurely connector for those not wanting to drive to popular park sights along the Park Loop Road.
Length: 4.4 miles | Difficulty: Easy | Elevation Gain: 374 ft.
3. The Beehive Loop Trail
One of the most popular and thrilling hikes in Acadia National Park is the Beehive Trail. Offering a series of iron rungs you have to use to climb along the side of the Beehive to get up to the top. As you climb and hike up, you’ll be rewarded with amazing views of Acadia’s hilly mountains and coastlines below.
Since this hike is so popular, it is highly advised to arrive early to avoid any traffic jams on your way up to the top. To get to the trail, you’ll walk through forests until it’s time to start your rocky ascent up along the cliff side of The Beehive. The trail itself is relatively short in length, but if you come during mid-day, expect lines to get up to the summit.
Length: 1.5 miles | Difficulty: Hard | Elevation Gain: 508 ft.
TIP: This trail is not dog friendly nor should anyone who is deathly afraid of heights attempt this trail. Also, please avoid in bad weather and this trail would not be safe.
4. North Bubble & South Bubble Trail
If you’re wanting to see Jordan Pond from above, hike to The Bubbles. The Bubbles are two of the more iconic features of Acadia National Park. The Bubbles are two mountains that sit side by side and can be seen from Jordan Pond. Once you are on either Bubble (North or South), you’ll have great views of Jordan Pond below and on a clear day, the Maine islands out in the sea.
So what’s the difference between the two? In our opinion, North Bubble offers better views while South Bubble is known for a balancing boulder that sits just along a ledge. Both trails can be done in one day. Just start from the Bubble Divide Parking lot and begin hiking. You’ll come to a fork where there will be clear signs for “North Bubble This Way” and “South Bubble This Way.”
Once you complete one, backtrack down to the fork and go on the other trail to see the other Bubble.
North Bubble Length: 0.9 miles | Difficulty: Moderate | Elevation Gain: 374 ft.
South Bubble Length: 1.4 miles | Difficulty: Moderate | Elevation Gain: 492 ft.
5. Cadillac Mountain Summit Loop
One of the most popular things to do in Acadia National Park is to watch the sunrise from Cadillac Mountain. To get to the Cadillac Mountain Summit, you have two options 1) Hike or 2) Drive.
DRIVING: If you drive up to the summit of Cadillac Mountain, a PERMIT IS REQUIRED from May 26th through October 19th. Vehicles without a permit may not access Cadillac Mountain. You can make your permit reservation for $6 per vehicle online.
For those hikers, you have three trails to pick from to get you to the summit of Cadillac Mountain 1) North Ridge Trail (4.4 miles RT) 2) West Face Trail (3.1 miles RT) and 3) South Ridge Trail (7 miles RT). Of the three, the North Ridge trail is the easiest hike up to Cadillac Mountain. Once at the top, you’ll be at the tallest point in all of Acadia National Park with panoramic views of the park, Bar Harbor, and the surrounding sea and islands.
It’s here, at the top of Cadillac Mountain, where you’ll find Cadillac Mountain’s Summit Loop. The Summit Loop is great for all ages. It’s paved and allows you to get out onto rocks where you can take a seat and take in the expansive surrounding views.
Length: 0.5 miles | Difficulty: Easy | Elevation Gain: 52 ft.
6. Jordan Pond Trail
Flat and easy, that is what Jordan Pond Trail is. The trail loops around Jordan Pond where you’ll have great views of the Bubbles and the pond’s waters. You’ll circumnavigate the pond where you’ll pass along tree lines and the banks of Jordan Pond. After your hike, plan to stop by Jordan Pond house where you can rest your feet and sip tea, and eat popovers.
Length: 3.1 miles | Difficulty: Easy | Elevation Gain: 42 ft.
Iron Rungs and Ladder Trails in Acadia National Park
As mentioned above, The Beehive Trails requires hikers to use a series of iron rungs to get themselves to the top. Like the Beehive, there are a series of other Acadia hiking trails that have iron rungs, ladders, and rails for hikers to “jungle gym” their way to the trail finish line. Below is a list of the other iron rung and ladder trail hikes in Acadia.
- The Precipice Trail
- Jordan Cliffs Trail
- Beech Cliff Trail
- Dorr Mountain Trail
For more planning tips and a park itinerary, check out “Acadia National park 1, 2, and 3 Day Itinerary“
Acadia National Park Hiking Map
The majority of the hikes, especially the most popular ones, are found along the Park Road Loop within Acadia National Park. The map below will give you an overview as to where some of the trailheads are located within the park along with some popular sights to stop and see when exploring the National Park.
Planning Tips For Hiking In Acadia National Park
Best Time To Hike In Acadia (Season & Time)
Without a doubt, getting an early start for any hike is always our recommendation, especially if you are wanting to avoid the crowds and get the soft morning light for photos. In terms of the best hiking season, our vote is fall (October). Not only is the weather more forgiving (not scorching hot), you see the amazing fall foliage of the autumn leaves turning.
However, that’s not to say other months are not fantastic to hit the trails, we’re just in favor of fall time weather and colors.
What To Have & Pack When Hiking in Acadia
- Good Footwear: Meaning a good pair of boots, sneakers and of course socks. There is loads of walking and exploring to be done, so let’s be sure to keep your feet dry and comfortable.
- Layers: The temps can change just as quick as the wind came pick up, so be sure to have layers with you! Ideally a windbreaker or rain jacket and a fleece for backup, especially if visiting during cooler months.
- Day Bag: A comfortable day bay is must. Whether you are using it to carry your snacks and water for hiking or your Go Pro and Camera gear for pictures, a comfortable and durable day pack is a great sidekick to your time in Acadia.
- Water Bottle: You’ll be in nature so please avoid using single-use plastics. Do right by Mother Earth and pack and use a reusable water bottle.
- Sunscreen: Even on cloudy days, you’ll want to layer up on the sunscreen. We don’t want you to get sunburn during all your outdoor fun.
- Snacks: Snacks are always a must for us. We never want to stop exploring because we are starving and need to get something to eat. Plan to pack some granola bars, fruit, trial mix or whatever you fancy and have it with you in your day pack or car. As a reminder, the only place to eat in the park is Jordan Pond House and it’s just popovers.
- First Aid Kit: Getting blisters on your tootsie’s is a day ruiner when hiking. Come prepared with some first aid essentials to take care of any blisters, cuts or scraps you may get along the way.
- Misc. Items: We always carry miscellaneous items like Chapstick, sunglasses, and tissue paper with us when hiking.
How Long Are Hikes in Acadia National Park?
One of the nicest things about the hiking trails in Acadia is their length. The majority of the hikes fall on the relatively shorter side averaging from 2 to 5 miles round trip. So, it’s totally doable to get 2 hikes in per day if you are short on time or really want to conquer as many trails as you can.
Long Hikes In Acadia National Park
Even though a majority of the hikes are on the shorter side, there is a handful that has some distance on them and are Acadia great day hikes to check out.
- North Bubble + South Bubble + Pemetic Mountain Loop: 6.4 miles | Moderate
- Pemetic North + South Ridge Trail: 6.6 miles | Hard
- Cadillac Ridge south Trail: 6.7 miles | Moderate
- Jordan Pond Six Peak Loop: 9.3 miles | Hard
Hardest Hike in Acadia National Park
Now, even though some of these are on the shorter side in terms of distance, don’t let that fool you. There are definitely some hard and challenging trails for those looking for a challenge or to get a workout in. Precipice Trail is considered the hardest hike in Acadia National Park, and also one of the most dangerous.
Taking anywhere from 1.5 – 3 hours (depending on your speed and fitness level), this 2.5-mile hike is challenging. In less than a mile, you’ll ascend nearly 1,000 feet to conquer steep grades and metal rungs, rails, and ladders. If you are looking for a challenge, Precipice Trail is your hike.
Easiest Hikes In Acadia National Park
If you are looking for something a little more leisurely, to just enjoy the views and coastlines of Acadia National Park, there definitely are some amazing trails to choose from.
- Ocean Path Trail (Sand Beach to Otter Cliffs Point): 2.2 miles one way, 4.4 miles round trip
- Cadillac Mountain Summit Loop: 1.9 miles round trip
- Jordan Pond Loop Trail: 3.1 miles round trip
- Wonderland Trail: 1.3 miles round trip
Dog Friendly Hikes in Acadia National Park
One of our favorite things about Acadia is how dog-friendly it is. Unlike a lot of other National Parks, dogs are allowed on hiking trails in Acadia. Which is AMAZING if you are looking to get out and about with your pup.
- North Bubble Trail
- Cadillac Mountain South Ridge Trail
- Cadillac Mountain Summit Loop Trail
- Great Head Trail
- Jordan Pond Loop Trail
- Gorham Mountain Trail
- Ocean Path Trail
- Wonderland Trail
NOTE: Your dog must remain on a leash at all times and please, pick up after your dog. Also, please be sure you pack plenty of water for your furry little friend.
Do I Need Bear Spray Hiking in Acadia National Park?
Nope. Sure don’t. While Acadia has wild scenery, you won’t see much in the way of potentially aggressive wildlife like bears. You can leave the bear spray at home!
- The Inn On Mount Desert: Located in downtown Bar Harbor and 1 mile from Acadia National Park, The Inn on Mount Desert is one of the quintesstials and staple accomodations. From its expecetptional location to it’s charming yet modern setting, this little bed and breakfast is a favorite amoung many.
- Sand Bar Cottage Inn: Modern and trendy cottage is house is what we would call the Sand Bar. This 4-star hotel is a cozy retreat after your day of exploring the National Park and it’s surroudning areas.
- Acadia Hotel Downtown: If you want to be right in the action, Acadia Hotel is for you. Nesteled among dining, shopping and entertainment options, the Acadia Hotel Downtown is a historic bulding from 1884 but udpated to have all the New England charm.
- The Primrose: Recently rennovated and looking so stlyish and comfortable, The Primrose is a great little bed and breakfast situated right in Bar Harbor.
- Seabury Escape: If you are looking to rent out a home for the family, the Seabury Escape is your pick. With three bedrooms and a full kitchen, the Seabury Escape is great for families or large groups of freinds.
- Bar Harbor Villager Motel: Coming equipped with a seasonally heated outdoor pool and complimentary breakfast, the Villager Motel is a great little find for those of you wanting something convienent and a little bit on the more budget friendly side.
For more accommodations options in Bar Harbor, you check out the latest prices and availability here.
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– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)