10 Best Hikes in Acadia National Park

Most of the best hikes in Acadia National Park are moderate to easy hikes of two to six miles, so you can fit a few into a weekend.

Mount Desert Island’s Best Hikes

A hiking path curves through fall foliage along the shore of Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park
Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park. Photo © Jim Ekstrand/Dreamstime.

Ocean Path: This popular trail is both easy and easy to reach. Best to time an early morning arrival for this 4.4-mile round-trip that mirrors the shore, taking in Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, Otter Cliffs, and Monument Cove.

Jordan Pond Shore Path: A mostly level 3.2-mile loop, the shore path navigates a counterclockwise circuit of Jordan Pond. Plan your hike for fall, for a supremely colorful palette, and reward your efforts with popovers at Jordon Pond House.

Gorham Mountain Trail: This 3.5-mile round-trip hike covers the trail directly to the summit of 525-foot Gorham Mountain, for views of Sand Beach, Egg Rock Light, the Beehive, and Champlain Mountain, continues to the Bowl, a lovely pond, and then descends to the Park Loop Road.

Beachcroft Path: Fifteen-hundred beautifully engineered pink-granite steps and slabs ease the moderate 2.4-mile round-trip climb to Huguenot Head on the west side of Mount Desert’s Champlain Mountain. Savor the views over Frenchman Bay before the more difficult ascent to the summit, where the views are even more spectacular.

Penobscot and Sargent Mountains: This 6-mile round-trip hike takes in two summits on the west side of Mount Desert Island. The terrain is difficult to strenuous, but you can take a swim break between peaks in Sargent Pond, and the views are worth the effort.

Flying Mountain Trail: Despite being the lowest of Acadia’s 26 peaks, this west-side mountain delivers gorgeous views over the mouth of Somes Sound via this 1.5-mile loop. The descent brings you to Valley Cove, a place to cool tootsies, before the easy walk back to the parking lot.

Perpendicular and Razorback Trails: Ready for a workout on one of the park’s most engineered trails? Start on the Perpendicular Trail, which has more than 1,000 steps and snakes up Mansell Mountain from the shores of Long Pond. Return via the steep Razorback Trail to make it a 2.7-mile loop.

Schoodic Peninsula’s Best Hikes

trees and shrubbery atop schoodic head point looking out at the ocean
Schoodic Head Point. Photo © Cheri Alguire/Dreamstime.

Schoodic Head Loop: The Schoodic Head Loop connects three trails for a 2.7-mile round-trip hike that travels from woods to the summit for expansive views.

Schoodic Mountain: Not to be confused with the Schoodic Head Loop, this moderately difficult 2.8-mile loop in the Donnell Pond Public Reserved Land rewards hikers with panoramic views of Acadia’s peaks on Mount Desert Island across Frenchman Bay.

Isle au Haut’s Best Hikes

Western Head and Cliff Trails: For terrific shoreline scenery, day trip to Isle au Haut, and hike these two trails for a nice loop around Western Head. The route follows the coastline, ascending to ridges and cliffs and descending to rocky beaches, with some forested sections.

Hilary Nangle

About the Author

Despite brief out-of-state interludes for college and grad school (and a stint as a ski bum), Hilary Nangle has never been able to resist the lure of her home state. She grew up on Maine’s coast, spending much of each winter skiing in the western mountains. Her sense of wanderlust was ignited when she became a Registered Maine Whitewater Guide on the Kennebec River, which gave her a chance to explore the central and northern regions of the state.

When she tired of her parents asking when she was going to get a “real job,” Hilary drew on her writing skills and began seeking out editorial work. She started out editing pro ski tour publications, then became a managing editor for a food trade publication and a features editor for a daily newspaper. Now, she freelances professionally for national magazines, newspapers, and websites.

Hilary never tires of exploring Maine, always seeking out the offbeat and quirky, and rarely resisting the invitation of a back road. To her husband’s dismay, she inherited her grandmother’s shopping gene and can’t pass a used bookstore, artisans gallery, or antiques shop without browsing. She’s equally curious about food and has never met a lobster she didn’t like. Hilary still divides her year between the coast and the mountains, residing with her husband, Tom Nangle, and an oversized dog, both of whom share her passions for long walks and Maine-made ice cream.

For updates between editions and to follow Hilary’s travels, visit mainetravelmaven.com.

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trail pathway with fall foliage in acadia national park