Mud season in Maine is just about over, which means by early May, you can expect the trails of Acadia National Park to be open and dry. So what hikes should you hit? We dug up a few of our favorites and profiled them according to different preferences that might suit you.
If Trying to Instill the Love of Hiking in Your Youngins: Cadillac Mountain Summit Loop
After driving the 3 miles up the Cadillac Summit Road, and parking near the pink granite summit of the iconic 1,530-foot Cadillac Mountain, this easy .3-mile mountaintop loop trail is the perfect place to build up your young hiker’s confidence, while getting them excited about the best parts of Acadia. Doable for hikers of all skill levels, the well-plodded route offers views in all directions, including the Cranberry Islands to the south, Bar Harbor and the Porcupine Islands to the northeast, and Schoodic Peninsula in the distance on the mainland. Better yet, go in the morning for sunrise: As the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard, it’s one of the first places in the US to see the morning sun.
If You Want an Enviable Instagram Feed: Ocean Path Trail
Starting at the Sand Beach parking lot, this 4-mile roadside trail meanders in a southerly direction along the coastline. In addition to amazing views of the ocean looking out to Schoodic Point on the mainland, it essentially rolls Acadia’s most Insta-worthy attractions into one easy jaunt: Sand Beach, a gorgeous little beach with “sand” comprised of tiny shell fragments created by thousands of years of pounding surf; Thunder Hole, a shallow sea cave known for its thunderous splashes; and Otter Cliff, where dramatic jagged pink granite formations seemingly melt into the ocean.
If You’re a Serious Hiker Looking for Technical, Hand-over-Foot Hiking: Precipice Trail
Zigzagging along the edge of cliffs of Champlain Mountain, this 1.4-mile trail is known as the most challenging and dangerous trail in Acadia National Park. Not for the faint of heart, or afraid of heights for that matter, it ascends nearly 1,000 feet in less than a mile, with the aid of iron rungs, ladders, and wooden bridges. So be sure to take slow – not only for your own safety, but to take in the views, which due to lack of vegetation, are a wide-open display of the surrounding mountains, the ocean, and nearby islands.
If You Like a Hike with a Side of History: Homan’s Path
With an entrance near the Sieur de Monts Springs area, this moderately difficult 1.3-loop trail travels up the side of Dorr Mountain, the third tallest mountain on MDI, and is one of the most little-known hikes in the park. Which is surprising for two reasons. One, it’s named from Eliza Lee Homans, the woman who donated the first parcel of land to Acadia, essentially kick-starting what would eventually become the icon 47,000-square national park. Two, it’s home to an impressive century-old stone staircase, featuring 400 spiraling granite steps, with a section that suddenly slices between 20-foot tall granite walls. It resembles something out of Indian Jones.