23 Best Hikes in Acadia National Park: Easy and Challenging Trails, Views, Family Hikes & More

Thunder Hole Rock Formation at Acadia National Park, Maine

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If you’ve got Acadia National Park on your radar for your next hiking adventure, then get ready for a wonderful experience!

With around 150 miles of hiking trails, the park caters to all skill levels, from easy routes suitable for families to strenuous climbs for experienced hikers.

To help you plan your itinerary, this guide will walk you through some of the best hikes in Acadia National Park.

Prepare to set out on trails featuring stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean as well as picturesque mountain vistas.

Along the way, you may spot some wildlife, too!

There are also multiple accessible trails suitable for wheelchairs or strollers, and if you’re taking your dogs or older kids with you, we have some destinations that are suitable for them as well.

As always before setting out on a trail, check local conditions to ensure a safe and enjoyable hike.

For tons of other activities in the area, check out our guide to the best things to do in Acadia National Park.

For more national parks to explore, here are the best national parks on the East Coast.

You may also check our other Maine guides, including the best places to go in Maine and our lists of lovely cities and towns to visit in the state.

Best Acadia National Park Hikes

The following Acadia National Park trails will start from Bar Harbor then move towards Southwest Harbor, and finally wrap up at the picturesque Schoodic Peninsula, just beyond Mount Desert Island.

Looking for where to stay when hiking Acadia National Park?

Check out our recommendations of places to stay around Bar Harbor including hotels and pet-friendly accommodations.

Guided Hiking Tours of Acadia National Park

If you’re new to hiking but eager to experience some of the best Acadia trails, consider taking a guided hiking tour.

This takes all the stress out of navigating or planning for your hikes, while also enhancing them with a professional guide leading the way and pointing things out en route.

This full-day private tour is an excellent option for doing multiple trails in a day with a naturalist guide leading the way.

Alternatively, this full-day small group tour will cover two excellent trails: Ocean Path and Bubble Rock.

If you’re ready to hit the trails on your own or you just want some inspiration for the variety of options available, then check out all our favorite Acadia hikes below.

Jordan Pond from Bubble Rock Acadia National Park Maine

Cadillac North Ridge Trail

One of the most worthwhile (and popular) Acadia hikes for views is hiking to the top of Cadillac Mountain.

The North Ridge Trail is two miles from the park loop road, climbing 1,100 feet from point to point.

As this hike is exposed, you’ll want sunscreen on sunny summer days, but the views will be worth it.

This is an out-and-back hike totaling 4.4 miles and is considered a moderately difficult trail.

It is not an accessible trail because of its steep sections but if you’re hiking in Acadia National Park with your pet, this one is a dog-friendly option.

View from Cadillac Mountain summit in Acadia National Park.

Gorge Path

Between Dorr Mountain and Cadillac Mountain, the Gorge Path follows a tight valley to a four-way intersection.

This intersection allows hikers to summit one of the two mountains on either side of them.

For those looking for a challenging Acadia National Park hiking trail, Gorge Path runs 2.5 miles roundtrip, featuring a steep rocky path.

It is also one of the most unique ways to reach the top of Cadillac Mountain.

The uniqueness of this trail is why many people do it since most ridge trails are exposed to sun and wind in Acadia, while the Gorge Path is very sheltered in the woods.

There are lots of options for continuing along other trails, too, making this a great launching point for an all-day adventure.

Bar Island Trail

A unique spot, Bar Island is on the opposite side of Bar Harbor from the rest of the park, and visitors can walk to it during low tide.

The highest point on the island is nearly 200 feet above sea level, and the trail is just over 1.5 miles round trip.

Large groups like this trail, since some may want to hang out on the low-lying beach between Bar Island and Mount Desert Island, while some may want to hike up the hill.

It is also by far one of the easiest hikes in Acadia National Park that’s accessible from downtown Bar Harbor.

You must check the tide schedule before heading out; if you delay and miss the window to cross, you’ll have to wait up to 9 hours until the next low tide!

You may also like our guide to things to do in Bar Harbor in the fall.

Compass Harbor Trail

Looking for easy hikes in Acadia National Park?

Leading to a rocky point just south of Bar Harbor, the Compass Harbor Trail is great for beginning hikers.

At just under half a mile round trip, the trail follows a paved path for a short time before splitting off onto a dirt and rock path that leads to the point.

Many people who stay on Main Street just south of Bar Harbor find this hike to be a convenient and easy jaunt.

Beachcroft Path

One of the ways to summit Champlain Mountain is the Beachcroft Path.

Designed as a memorial to Charles Morton Smith by his widowed wife in 1915, the path was one of the park’s first hiking trails.

The hiking trail begins near the Wild Gardens of Acadia and ascends 1 mile and 1,000 vertical feet to the summit, making this a 2-mile round-trip hike.

We love the Wild Gardens — it’s one of our favorite things to do in Acadia.

Precipice Trail

One of the must-do hikes in Acadia National Park for experienced hikers and those looking for a bit of challenge is the Precipice Trail.

Over 1,000 feet of elevation gain in less than a mile is achieved on the Precipice Loop.

Ladders bolted into the rock and sheer rock faces make this one of the hardest hikes in Acadia.

The trail’s midpoint is the summit of Champlain Mountain on the far east side of Acadia where hikers end their ascent and begin their descent via the ​​North Ridge Trail for safety.

The Precipice Trail is not recommended for young children or anyone with a fear of heights; this is not a dog-friendly trail.

While this is a non-technical climb, it is still along an open cliff face.

Note that parts of this trail are occasionally closed to protect a pair of nesting peregrine falcons.

If you want to do this trail but are feeling a little unsure of the challenge, you should consider this private full-day tour of Acadia with a naturalist so you can enjoy this and a few other easy trails without the worry of planning or navigating.

Great Head Trail

Gorham Mountain overlooks the Great Head and Great Head Trail, which is also on the southeast side of Acadia.

A more moderate level hike, two miles of mostly dirt trail navigated the peninsula known as the Great Head.

The Great Head on the end of the peninsula is a rock face with a steep 120-foot drop into the ocean.

This is also one of the best trails to hike in Acadia National Park for pet owners since dogs can easily navigate the route, too.

The trail starts and ends at Sand Beach, so you can plan to cool off with a dip in the water upon completing the hike.

Beehive Loop

Finishing out the southeast side of the park, the Beehive Loop summits the smallest hill on this side of the park.

The trail consists of 1.4 miles climbing 450 feet to an exposed cliff face with great views of the Atlantic Ocean.

There are iron rungs and ladders to utilize, and there are iron bars to walk across in some parts of the trail.

You will not descend via these rungs and ladders; instead, hikers loop back down via the Bowl.

The beehive trail in Acadia National Park is also a great jumping-off point for longer hikes that extend deeper into the park.

Tree frames views from The Beehive Cliff in Acadia National Park

Ocean Path Trail

Along the west side of Newport Cove, the Ocean Path Trail is just over two miles.

Starting at either Sand Beach or Otter Point, the trail follows the rocky shoreline along Newport Cove past Otter Cliff, Monument Cove, and Thunder Hole.

These are all places to check out when hiking this trail, which is a crowd-pleaser, especially due to the small elevation change.

If you want to learn more about the route while you walk, there’s a self-guided tour of Ocean Path available.

Thunder Hole Rock Formation at Acadia National Park, Maine

Gorham Mountain Loop

Gorham Mountain Loop is a 3.5-mile hike on the southeast side of Acadia.

With about 500 feet of elevation gain to get to the top of the mountain, the hike is a healthy challenge for those who don’t normally spend time outdoors.

You’ll also get to see Thunder Hole on this trail, which is a popular attraction in Acadia.

Cadillac South Ridge Trail

Looking for more ways of hiking Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park?

Another approach is the South Ridge Trail of Cadillac Mountain but is harder than the North Ridge in every sense of the word.

The hike is longer at 7.1 miles roundtrip, has more elevation gain at 1,300 feet, and doesn’t have a parallel road to the trail, which means fewer opportunities to bail.

Both of these ascents are plenty rewarding and evenly paced, whereas some other ascents have steep climbs up the side of the mountain.

You can opt for an out-and-back hike or ascend via the South Ridge Trail and then descend via the North Ridge or the Gorge Trail.

View from Cadillac Mountain summit in Acadia National Park, Maine.

Jordan Cliffs Trail

On the eastern slope of Penobscot Peak, the Jordan Cliffs Trail is five miles that eventually ascends Penobscot Peak and Sargent Mountain.

These two remote peaks are what make this hike one of the harder ones in Acadia, but the cliffs overlooking Jordan Pond are what give the hike its name and make it worth it.

Between the mountains, hikers will pass Sargent Mountain Pond, one of the highest and most isolated bodies of water in Acadia.

At the end of the loop, hikers can descend to the Jordan Pond House, which has food and drink options.

There are iron rungs and ladders on this trail, so it’s not a good option for kids or pets, or for anyone with a fear of heights.

This is another trail that will occasionally be closed to protect the nesting peregrine falcons.

Jordan Pond Trail

Jordan Pond Trail is relatively flat and easy, making it accessible to hikers of various abilities.

If you’re looking for the best family hikes in Acadia National Park with dogs, this is a great choice.

The 3.3-mile trail will take around an hour to complete and will leave you plenty of time to savor the views of Jordan Pond — you may spot some wildlife, too.

If you happen to visit during the autumn months and are eager to witness the vibrant fall foliage, then add this location to your list of the best fall hikes in Acadia National Park.

You may also like our list of things to do in Acadia National Park in the autumn.

The start of fall colors at Jordan Pond Acadia National Park Maine

Carriage Roads

Any of the carriage roads in Acadia allow pedestrians, and there are plenty to choose from.

The Amphitheater Road leads to an amphitheater between two of the park’s mountains while the Day Mountain Road leads to the top of Day Mountain.

Connecting the north side of the loop road with the south is the Bubble/Wildwood Road that leads through the woods.

The Bubble Pond, Eagle Lake, and Witch Hole Pond Carriage Road trails are the most accessible of these trails, according to the NPS.

These roads are either paved or gravel, making it easier on those who may not want to contend with roots or rocks and offering more accessible options for wheelchairs and strollers.

Note that the trails are shared between bicyclists and pedestrians, so keep to the right to allow cyclists to pass.

Dogs are allowed but must remain on a short leash (no longer than 6 feet).

Check out this map of the carriage trails in Acadia National Park to plan your hikes.

Eagle Lake in Acadia National Park Maine

Norumbega Mountain Trail

The summit of Norumbega Mountain is only a one-mile out-and-back hike along the Goat Trail, but hikers can go further by connecting via the Norumbega Mountain Trail and then down to the Hadlock Pond Trail.

If you do the loop, the trail eventually descends the mountain and leads to Lower Hadlock Pond.

This trail also offers the closest view of Somes Sound from the main unit of the park.

Giant Slide Trail

To the east of Norumbega Mountain is Sargent Mountain, which is a third taller than Norumbega but more gradual in its ascent.

The Giant Slide Trail ranks as one of the longest among our featured Acadia hiking trails.

At 5.7 miles, it has a long, gradual elevation gain that eventually tops out atop Sargent Peak.

Over 1300 vertical feet of elevation gain are mostly condensed into the second half of the hike up, with most of the trail before that being slow-climbing.

The trail follows Sargent Brook through a ravine similar to the Gorge Path and then connects to multiple trails that lead up to Sargent Mountain and Gilmore Peak.

It also connects to Parkman Mountain, so you can summit all three peaks along this one trail.

Beech Mountain Trail

Continuing on the west side of the park, Beech Mountain is still higher than the other two peaks, at over 800 feet above sea level.

However, the climb starts at an elevation of over 400 feet, so there is less elevation gain on this hike.

Beech Mountain also has a fire/observation tower atop the hill, allowing hikers to see even further than just from the summit.

Hiking Beech Mountain Trail in Acadia National Park totals anywhere from 1-4 miles, depending on the route.

You can do this as a lovely sunset hike, just be sure to pack a headlamp for the return trip.

Saint Sauveur and Acadia Mountain Loop

Immediately on the other side of the valley from Flying Mountain is Saint Sauveur Mountain.

This is a tougher climb, with a summit of 650 feet and the hike distance is more than twice as long as Flying Mountain at 3.7 miles in total.

The hike is a perfect extension to Flying Mountain for more experienced hikers.

Flying Mountain Loop

Right on Somes Sound, Flying Mountain Loop is one of the best hikes west of the Sound.

The summit is 250 feet above sea level, making for a relatively easy climb compared to some other hills in the park.

The 1.5-mile loop finishes by taking the Valley Cove Trail back to the parking area.

Of all the mountain trails in the area, this is one of the easiest ones to do with a dog.

Flying Mountain is also one of the best hikes in Acadia National Park with kids, as long as they have some hiking experience and are ready for a challenge.

Wonderland Trail

Another hike on Acadia National Park’s south side is the Wonderland Trail.

Flat and wide, this is an easy family hike in Acadia National Park leading to a point on the Atlantic Ocean.

The trail is one of the easiest ways to access remote rocky beaches in Acadia.

Ship Harbor Trail

On the far south side of Mount Desert Island, the Ship Harbor Trail is a 1.3-mile trail that traverses through woods along a natural harbor south of the island.

Known as Ship Harbor, the water is shallow, clear, and calm, since there is only a small strait that leads to the ocean.

Beginning hikers may enjoy this easy trail in Acadia National Park the most, with views of both the ocean and bay from a nearly flat walking path.

Hikers can see the Atlantic Ocean from rocky beaches by hiking to the end of the figure-eight-style loop.

This a great family-friendly route as well.

Note that the first loop is ADA-compliant, but not the second loop.

Anvil Trail

The Schoodic Peninsula has 7.5 miles of trail in total.

One of the steepest is the two-mile Anvil Trail, which stretches between Schoodic Head and Schoodic Loop Road on the south end of the peninsula.

The trail features an immediate steep rocky climb to an unnamed hill closer to the coast, before descending into the valley to make the final ascent.

These trails on the Schoodic Peninsula are the best for getting away from the often crowded Mount Desert Island.

Schoodic Head Trail

On the Schoodic Peninsula, Schoodic Head is the main peak and hiking trail.

Over 400 feet above sea level, the head is one of the few places where visitors can see Mount Desert Island from afar since they are on the mainland.

Schoodic Head has a number of different places to start ascending, some more difficult than others.

Read next: Guide to Acadia National Park.

Trees surround a cove in the Schoodic Peninsula in the Acadia National Park in Maine

Final Thoughts

We hope our list of Acadia trails has given you the ideas you need to plan for your next hiking activities.

Feel free to share your favorite trails or experiences in the comments below.

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