Planning a trip to Maine and want to tackle some of the best hikes in Acadia National Park?
With over 150 miles of hiking trails, there are plenty of hikes for adventurers of all skill levels.
From leisure nature walks to physically and mentally challenging summits, the landscape of Acadia National Park is begging to be explored.
Whether it’s your first time or you’ve been here before, get ready as we explore the 20 best hikes Acadia has to offer.
Bar Island Trail
Located off of downtown Bar Harbor, Bar Island Trail is one of the most popular hikes for visitors.
The trail offers a mostly-easy 1.9-mile round trip from Mount Desert Island to Bar Island. Who knew island hopping in Maine was a thing?
Bar Island Trail can only be accessed around low tide. During this time, a rocky sand bar from the end of Bridge St. extends out to Bar island.
Once you get to the island, the trail can be tricky for some folks due to uneven ground and incline. But if you can make it, you’ll be treated to beautiful views of downtown Bar Harbor and Frenchman Bay.
This is one of my favorite easy trails in Bar Harbor. Although it can get crowded, it somehow stays tranquil!
Learn more about this trail in my post about hiking Bar Island Trail.
Bass Harbor Head Light Trail
The Bass Harbor Head Light Trail is a short, but stunning hike in Bass Harbor, Maine. It feels like a bit of a cheat including it on this list because it’s so short!
However, if you’re like me, you probably love snagging epic photos while you’re traveling – and this hike will get you in position for one of the most iconic photos of Acadia!
The .4 mile out-and-back trail takes you to the perfect vantage point for a photo of the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse perched atop the rocky coastline. It is especially nice during sunset hours so you can get a bit more drama in your shot.
We don’t do this trail every time we visit Acadia, but when we do, it’s always a fun visit.
Beech Cliff Trail
The Beech Cliff Trail in Acadia National Park is a 1.4 mile hike in the Southwest Harbor area of the park next to Echo Lake.
This challenging trail takes hikers along the coastline with stunning open views of Echo Lake. Sloping cliffs divide Beech Cliff Trail from its sister trail, the Canada Cliffs Trail.
In fact, if you want to extend your hike, you can connect to the Canada Cliffs Trail to add an extra 1.8 miles.
While this is an adventurous trail, it is quite challenging and requires the use of ladder rungs to get by. It is NOT for inexperienced or exhausted hikers!
Beech Mountain Trail
For outdoor enthusiasts looking for the perfect trail to tackle in Acadia National Park, add Beech Mountain Trail to your list.
Located just south of Beech Cliffs, this trail is easily accessible at the end of Beech Mountain Road.
Views of Mansell Mountain and Long Pond set this trail apart from others in the park. It’s no wonder it’s often considered one of the best Acadia hiking trails!
Once you get to the summit, there’s a fire tower you can access for even more stunning aerial views.
Lastly, Beech Mountain Trail is quite rocky, so make sure you wear appropriate footwear if you go.
The Beehive Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Acadia National Park, perhaps in part due to how challenging it is.
This trail includes narrow side-stepping pathways and climbing up iron rungs attached to the granite rocks.
If you can deal with the strenuous parts and aren’t afraid of heights, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views of the park, including nearby Sand Beach.
The Beehive Trail is 1.4 miles round trip, but due to narrow one-way paths and lots of people, the trail can take an hour or more to complete.
NOTE: Do NOT attempt this trail in the Winter or after rainy weather, as the trail becomes very slippery and dangerous.
The Bubbles Divide Trail
The Bubbles Divide Trail, sometimes shortened to The Bubbles Trail, takes hikers to views of North Bubble, South Bubble, and Bubble Rock. It also offers views of Jordan Pond and Eagle Lake.
The trail is 1.5 miles in total. If you want to lengthen your hike and start off a bit more leisurely, you can also add part of Jordan Pond Path to the beginning.
Cadillac Mountain South Ridge Trail
The summit of Cadillac Mountain, the gem of Acadia National park, can be accessed by bike, vehicle, or foot.
If you’re daring enough to reach it by foot, I recommend Cadillac Mountain South Ridge Trail.
This trail is 7.1 miles roundtrip, unless you add the .3 mile Eagle’s Crag Loop Trail for an extra panoramic view of the park.
In short, this hike is full of beauty, with breathtaking views and incredible sights along the way.
It’s also a great way around the reservations required to access the summit by vehicle, which are in place from roughly Memorial Day week through mid-to-late October.
Cadillac Summit Loop Trail
If you’d rather drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain, but still want to get a bit of a walk in, consider the Cadillac Summit Loop Trail.
At .5 miles, this is another short trail, but it’s quick and gets you into a better position for taking photos from the summit of Cadillac Mountain without people in it.
Just beware that it is SUPER windy on top of the mountain, as you can see in the photo of me above. No matter what time of the day you visit, you will likely find yourself walking against the wind.
Anyway, as mentioned earlier in this post, if you want to drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain, a reservation is required if you are visiting in late May through mid-to-late October.
Reservations can only be made online and cannot be purchased in the park. It costs $6 in addition to the park entrance pass.
You can make your reservation starting 90 days ahead when about 30% of the passes are made available. The remaining 70% of passes are opened up 2 days ahead at 10 AM eastern.
You are only permitted 1 sunrise reservation every 7 days and 1 reservation per day for other times of the day.
Reservations go FAST, so if you have your heart set on going at a certain time of day, such as sunrise or sunset, I recommend trying to grab them when they first open up.
Champlain North Ridge Trail
The Champlain North Ridge Trail in Acadia National Park is an incredible hike located not far from Wild Gardens of Acadia, off of Park Loop Road.
As the name suggests, the trail takes hikers to the summit of Champlain Mountain, which offers magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Distance wise, this moderate trail clocks in at 1.9-miles round trip. While open year-round, the trail can get quite icy in the colder months, making it unsafe in some spots.
Dorr Mountain Ladder Trail
The Dorr Mountain Ladder Trail is one of the most challenging Acadia National Park trails on this list.
This 2.7 mile loop trail takes you up Dorr Mountain, one of the highest points in Acadia (though not higher than Cadillac).
To get to the top, hikers must access a series of iron rungs and ladders placed into the rock face. Once you make it to the top, you’ll be rewarded with incredible views of nearby Eagle Lake, Dorr Mountain Pond, and beyond.
If you’re an experienced hiker, definitely add this one to your Acadia bucket list.
NOTE: Due to the challenging nature of this trail, dogs are NOT allowed.
Flying Mountain Loop
The Flying Mountain Loop in Acadia National Park is an excellent 1.5 mile hike near Southwest Harbor.
The trail winds up Flying Mountain itself offering spectacular views of Somes Sound as you go.
Be sure to wear appropriate footwear if you go, as this trail will take you through gravel, over log steps, and through muddy, leafy areas.
Gorham Mountain Trail
If you’re looking for something a bit longer than most of the trails on this list, check out Gorham Mountain Trail.
This trail comes in at 3.5 miles round trip and packs a big punch with amazing views from atop Gorham Mountain’s summit.
Its view of the shoreline, including Sand Beach, has made it one of the most popular trails in the park.
Hadlock Loop Trail
One of my favorite hikes in Acadia National Park is the Hadlock Loop Trail, accessed from the Parkman Mountain parking lot.
This trail is comprised of carriage road and thus can be accessed by horse and bike, not just by foot.
But the best part about this trail are the gorgeous stone bridge and waterfall (Hadlock Falls) you’ll encounter.
While the full loop is 3.9 miles total, you can also just hike to the Falls and turn right back around the same way you came. If you go this route, it’s about 2.2 miles total.
This hidden gem is one of the best hikes in Acadia National Park. I almost feel guilty for including it because I don’t want it to get crowded, but I also don’t want to gate keep this lovely trail!!
Jesup Path and Hemlock Path Loop
The Jesup Path and Hemlock Path Loop in Acadia National Park, near the Wild Gardens of Acadia, is one of the most popular and picturesque hikes in the park.
This trail combines beautiful scenery filled with lush mossy forests and a plethora of wildflowers and plant life – a lovely change from the typical aerial views of Mount Desert Island.
This 1.5 mile trail is enclosed in a forest and feels secluded – an introvert’s dream!
What I love most about this trail is that it is accessible for wheelchairs, EVs, and strollers thanks to the majority of it being on a level, wooden boardwalk-style path.
With its enchanting location and accessibility, Jesup Path and Hemlock Path Loop stands out as one of the best trails in Acadia National Park.
Jordan Cliffs Loop Trail
The Jordan Cliffs Trail in Acadia National Park is an amazing 5 mile hike that showcases the park’s stunning landscape and variety of ecosystems.
On this loop you will ascend Sargent Mountain by combining several sections of nearby trails, including the Spring Trail, Penobscot East Trail, and Sargent East Cliffs Trail.
Along the way, you’ll get majestic views of Jordan Pond, Cadillac Mountain, and The Bubbles.
This is a fairly challenging hike and not for inexperienced hikers. Hikers of any level should also avoid it after rainy weather.
Be sure to fuel up before or after your hike with some popovers at Jordan Pond House!
Jordan Pond Path
If you’re after views of Jordon Pond and The Bubbles, but not the challenging hike that is the Jordan Cliffs Loop Trail, consider the Jordon Pond Path.
Jordan Pond Path, sometimes called the Jordan Pond Loop or Jordan Pond Trail, is a 3.1 mile loop that takes you around the pond.
It has some uneven and rocky sections, but is otherwise a fairly easy hike. More of a nature walk, really.
My family likes to do at least part of this trail after having a late popover lunch at Jordan Pond, as you can see in the photo of me above.
Ocean Path Trail
If aerial shoreline views are what you’re after, the Ocean Path Trail is the perfect hike for you.
The trail is 4.4 miles round trip, but you don’t have to hike the whole trail out and back if that’s too long for you. It can easily be entered or exited at various points along the trail.
The trail hugs the rocky coastline above Sand Beach and stretches past Thunder Hole and over to Otter Point.
Whether you are looking to capture unforgettable photographs or simply enjoy some fresh air and calming waves, the Ocean Path Trail is a truly special spot.
Just look at the photo of Sand Beach above that I took the last time I did this trail! The views are just as beautiful all the way down the path.
NOTE: Given how close it is to the edge, I don’t recommend this hike for those with an unsteady foot or a fear of heights!
Penobscot Mountain Trail
The Penobscot Mountain Trail is another moderate trail worthy of exploring in Acadia National Park.
This rugged trail comes in at 2.9 miles round trip, taking hikers to the summit of Penobscot Mountain, which offers pleasant views of Jordan Pond, The Bubbles, and other landmarks within the park.
As with Jordan Cliffs Loop Trail and the Jordan Pond Path, this hike also starts off at the Jordan Pond House, making it a great excuse for some popovers and jam.
The Precipice Trail in Acadia National Park is without a doubt the most thrilling – and dangerous – hikes in the park.
This steep trail takes you straight up Champlain Mountain on open cliffs and iron rungs for .9 miles.
Don’t let the short length trick you! You can’t descend this trail the same way you go up, as the risk of falling to your death is too high. I wasn’t kidding when I said it was dangerous!
Instead, the park advises that you should take the North Ridge Trail on your way down the mountain. Therefore the actual length of your hike will be about 3.2 miles in total.
If you’re an experienced, strong hiker looking for a tough mental challenge, this just might be the hike for you. But please proceed with caution if you go.
The Wonderland Trail in Acadia National Park is a short but rewarding hike that truly allows you to appreciate the beauty of nature.
My family and I have done this hike many times on our many visits to Bar Harbor, as it is quite family-friendly. There is some uneven terrain, but if you pace yourself and wear appropriate footwear, most people can manage this 1.4 mile round-trip hike.
That said, this hike will reward you with a lovely stop along the rocky coastline with many rugosa rose bushes and tide pools to explore.
It’s also a decent spot to stop for a quick lunch – just make sure you pack up all your trash and dispose of it appropriately!
Lastly, if you’ve done this hike before and want to try something new but similar, check out Ship Harbor Trail nearby.
For more information, check out my post about hiking the Wonderland Trail in Acadia.
What are your favorite hikes in Acadia National Park?
At the end of the day, Acadia National Park is a great place to hike with friends and family. With so many different trails to choose from, there is something for every skill level and ability.
Do you have a favorite hike in Acadia? Let us know in the comments!
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About the author
Meg Frost is a Boston-based travel blogger that helps people embrace technology to make vacation planning and traveling wicked easy, affordable, and fun.
She holds an M.A. in Journalism from Northeastern University and B.S. in Communication & American Studies from University of Miami.