This page is incomplete! I’ve just started visiting and hiking the trails in Acadia. I’ll update this list as I do more walks.
It’s amazing how many beautiful trails are packed into the 47,000 acres of this famous oceanside park. You can walk for days, and the views of lakes and hills—and of course the many intricate coves and inlet of the ocean—are always breathtaking (that is, except when you can’t see them through fog).
The only downside is the popularity of the park and the huge crowds you’ll encounter everywhere if you visit in the summer. If possible, visit the park in the shoulder season—spring or fall. But wintertime is also wonderful, too, with miles of cross-country skill trails (on the carriage roads), and great hiking on quiet trails (as long as you have good micro-spikes to get over treacherous ice sheets).
I also recommend using a mapping app to choose your routes and keep you on track when you’re on the trails. I like Avenza, which is free, but you must purchase a digital map of the park (I use National Geographic’s map). Strava is also good, and of course, All Trails.
I also recommend planning a hike where you have a chance to descend along the park’s several long, exposed ridges down to the sea. It’s an incredible experience! The great hike-down-toward-the-sea ridge trails I’ve done so far are Sargent South Ridge and Penobscot Mountain Trail. I’ll add more as I do them.
The trails in Acadia can also be very steep and dangerous (climbing rungs up cliff faces, walking along the edge of precipices). If this is not your thing at all, pay close attention to the parks’ trail levels—easy, moderate, and advanced.
(I have not completed these areas…)
- Western Mountain — Comprising Bernard and Mansell Mountains, this offers a slightly less crowded hiking experience in the summer, and also slightly less spectacular views. That being said, the trails up Mansell Mountain (also also Western Ridge Trail?) still have great views, or “view windows,” in the parlance of hiking guides. Bernard Mountain’s summit is wooded. I also recommend taking the long route along Long Pond, then swinging up and over Mansell Mountain (xx miles).
- Beech Mountain — Beech Mountain rises up between Long Pond and Echo Lake, with fabulous views of both. There’s an old fire tower (you can’t ascend it) on the open summit. The best views, however, are from the Beech Cliff Loop.
- Acadia, St. Sauveur,and Flying Mountain — You can do a number of great, short, impressive loops in this little mountain area. While St. Sauveur has no views from its summit, you’ll probably hike over it on a loop, which absolutely must incorporate Valley Peak Trail, with wonderful views.
- Wonderland Trail — An easy 1.5-mile flat hike along an old gravel road to a beach and quiet spots along Bennett Cove.
- Ship Harbor Trail — Close to Wonderland Trail, Ship Harbor Trail offers slightly more dramatic scenery than Wonderland and so is a bit more popular. It’s a flat and easy 1.5-mile trail.