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10 Best Hikes In Acadia National Park: Top 2023 Hiking Trails

10 Best Hikes In Acadia National Park: Top 2023 Hiking Trails

Acadia is a wildly popular US east coast national park and a wide range of inclusive hiking trails is one of its most appealing assets. We are going to walk you through the top 10 hikes in Acadia National Park, so you can identify which trails you simply can’t miss on your visit to Maine’s star attraction.

Do hikes in Acadia live up to expectation?

Oh yes! The Acadia National Park hiking arena is perfect for families with younger kids all the way through to hikers seeking an intense adrenaline rush.

We have personally hiked almost all of the best Acadia National Park trails and we are confident hiking in this beautiful landscape will surpass your expectations.

Here’s what we will show you:

  • Acadia fees, passes and entrances
  • Best time for hiking in Acadia
  • The 10 best hikes in Acadia National Park
  • Bonus hikes for return visitors
  • 2 day Acadia hiking itinerary

Let’s hike the most amazing Acadia National Park trails!

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Our Acadia National Park Hiking Experience

Why trust us to help with planning your Acadia hiking wishlist?

Well, we have experienced the best hikes in Acadia National Park for ourselves during the exceptionally popular fall foliage season.

We know how to get around from hike to hike in a short space of time and we know how to avoid the crowds on the most popular Acadia trails.

Where Are Those Morgans hiking in Acadia national park Maine forest trail with green leaves standing on a log
Mark and Kristen hiking near Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park

What Are The Best Hikes In Acadia National Park?

Beehive Trail and Precipice Trail are the most popular hikes in Acadia National Park.

But does that mean they are the best?

Well, we have to say we do enjoy climbing the ladders on Beehive Trail and in particular Precipice Trail. They are very unique hikes and help to make Acadia one of the very best national parks in the US.

However, we also think The Bubbles, Acadia Mountain and Beech Mountain are fantastic Acadia National Park hikes. They are all short, steep and lead to far reaching views over the ocean and rolling hills covered in trees.

Here are our recommendations for who is best suited to the top Acadia trails:

  • Adventure seekers – Beehive Trail and Precipice Trail
  • Families – Jordan Pond and Ocean Path
  • Sunrise – Cadillac Mountain Loop
  • Instagram / photos – The Bubbles
  • Escape crowds – Great Head, Acadia Mountain and Beech Mountain
Coastline in Maine with boulders ocean and clouds in sky
Boulders on the Ocean Path coastline of Acadia

Do Hikes In Acadia Need Permits Or Reservations?

No you do not need a permit to hike any trail in Acadia National Park.

However, if you want to see the famous sunrise from Cadillac Mountain summit you will have to hike up North Ridge Trail or South Ridge Trail a few hours before sunrise.

That is unless you apply for a permit to drive up to Cadillac summit instead.

Cadillac Summit Road Vehicle Reservations

You can be among the very first people in the continental US to watch sunrise from the summit of Cadillac Mountain during your visit to Acadia.

But everyone knows the popular Acadia sunrise event is one of the very best things to do in Acadia National Park. As a result, the NPS have enforced a reservation system to reduce congestion.

Even if you want to hike the easy Cadillac Mountain Loop Trail later in the day, you still need a vehicle reservation to drive up summit road.

Here’s what you need to know about winning a permit to drive up Cadillac Summit Road:

  • Acadia Park Loop Road is closed until April 14, 2023
  • Vehicle reservations are required from May 24 through October 22, 2023
  • Reservation sales begin around 90 days in advance
  • Thirty percent of vehicle reservations are available 90 days in advance, the remaining seventy percent will be allocated 2 days in advance at 10:00am ET
  • Reservations cost $6
  • Choose between sunrise or daytime vehicle reservation

Find more information about vehicle reservations at NPS or buy your reservation at

Hiker looking out at lakes and rolling hills covered in trees
Kristen looking out over Long Pond on Beech Mountain Loop Trail in Acadia

When Is The Best Time To Hike In Acadia National Park?

Hiking in Acadia National Park can be split into three distinct seasons with a completely different experience for hikers.

Acadia In Spring

Spring is a fantastic time to hike in Acadia National Park.

Acadia’s trails are very quiet at the end of April and in May just after the park reopens following the Winter season. You also do not need a vehicle reservation to drive up Cadillac Summit Road.

Hotels in Bar Harbor are more affordable and have higher availability, plus restaurants in town are easier to get into after a long day hiking in the park.

The downside to hiking in Acadia during the Spring season is cooler temperatures in the morning and evening.

Acadia In Summer

Summer is a popular time to hike in Acadia but we would personally avoid July and August.

Trails in Acadia are packed during the hot summer months in Maine. In addition, you will pay inflated prices at hotels in Bar Harbor and you will have to book tables at restaurants way in advance.

The good news is longer daylight hours, lush green leaves on trees and comfortable hiking temperatures in the morning and evening.

Acadia In Fall

Fall is the best time of year for hiking in Acadia National Park.

Throughout the Autumn months of September and October you will be stunned by a spectacular ocean of fall foliage colors illuminating Acadia National Park.

Fall is almost as busy as Summer in Acadia, so prices are still inflated and crowds are in force. Usually that would signal a time for us to avoid at all costs.

However, Acadia’s beautifully vibrant leaves more than make up for the inconvenience.

We visited Acadia in the first week of October. Next time we go hiking in Acadia it will be the last week of September to catch the beginning of peak foliage in the park.

Planning to visit Acadia in September or October? Here are 10 key things you need to know about visiting Acadia National Park in the fall.

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse at sunset with water crashing onto rocks
Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse in Acadia National Park at dusk

Fees And Passes

In order to hike the best trails in Acadia you must pay for entrance to the national park.

Let’s take a quick look at entrance fees, passes available and which entrances you can use to access the trails.

Acadia Entrance Fee

Here are the prices and fees for entrance into Acadia National Park:

  • $30 – Vehicle with up to 15 passengers valid for 7 consecutive days
  • $25 – Motorcycles with driver and one passenger valid for 7 consecutive days
  • $15 – Per person with no car (walk, bicycle) valid for 7 consecutive days
  • $55 – Acadia annual pass valid for 12 months at Acadia only

Does America The Beautiful Pass Get You Into Acadia National Park?

Yes, you can use your in date America the Beautiful Pass to gain access into Acadia National Park anytime the park is open.

We buy a new national park pass each year to save on multiple park visits. Read our complete guide to the America the Beautiful Pass to see if you can save money this year.

Do You Have To Pay To Drive Through Acadia National Park?

Yes, you have to pay the same entrance fees to drive through Acadia National Park as you would if hiking the famous trails or relaxing on a beach inside park boundaries.

Acadia’s Loop Road is a picturesque drive. Even if you are visiting the park primarily to hike, you should also plan to drive the scenic loop.

Iron bars built into granite rock on the Precipice Trail hike in Acadia Maine
Iron bars used as ladders for climbing trails in Acadia

What Can You Expect From Hikes In Acadia National Park?

What we love most about hiking in Acadia is simplicity.

All of the best Acadia National Park hikes are short, which means you can easily choose 3 or 4 trails to conquer each day you are in the park.

Let’s make one thing abundantly clear, short trails do not mean boring or easy trails. On the contrary, you will be anything but bored by Acadia’s diverse selection of trail type.

In addition to being short, the best hikes in Acadia are also ultra-scenic. Views from mountain summits always deliver and leave you wanting more.

Acadia is one of the top bucket list vacation spots in the USA and hiking is at the heart of its draw.

Top tip: Many of Acadia’s mountain peaks have trails running between summits. You can set off to hike one peak and easily end up taking on two more “while you are up there“.

Top Acadia National Park Hiking Tips

Let’s take a quick look at some of our top tips for taking on the best hikes in Acadia.

  • Track your hikes using offline maps with one of the best hiking apps on the market.
  • Always start hiking early in the morning to beat the rush.
  • Prioritize certain hiking trails and arrive at those trailheads first each day.
  • Avoid 11:00am-2:00pm for excessive crowds and heat in Summer.
  • Some of the best USA road trips pass through Acadia, make sure you have enough days in your New England driving itinerary to visit Acadia.
  • Group Acadia Mountain and Beech Mountain Trails together for most efficiency.
  • Hike Beehive Trail before Precipice Trail if you are unsure about heights.
  • Pack lunches and water in your car if you plan to spend long days hiking in Acadia.
  • Read our essential guide to the best things to bring on a day hike for help with packing.

10 Amazing Hikes In Acadia National Park

OK, let’s get into the list of best Acadia hiking trails!

Precipice Trail is the most exhilarating and scary among the best hikes in acadia natinonal park ladder climbs with spectacular views
Iron ladders with steep drop offs and views on Precipice Trail in Acadia

1. Precipice Trail

  • Trail Distance: 2.3 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Loop
  • Trail Difficulty: Hard (due to climbing elements)
  • Elevation Gain: 1,050 ft
  • Perfect For: Adventurous hikers, thrill seekers
  • Recent Comments: All Trails

Precipice Trail is the most exhilarating hike in Acadia National Park.

Adventure seekers and adrenaline junkies should look no further than Acadia National Park’s most exciting hike, Precipice Trail. We have included the awesome Acadia Precipice Trail in our popular guide to the 50 best hikes in the US, it is that good.

Hikers will climb dozens of irregular iron-rung ladders built into granite rocks with steep drop offs and narrow ledges throughout. Superb views from Champlain Mountain summit are a worthy reward for conquering the ladders of Precipice Trail.

However, this popular Acadia hike is certainly not for the feint of heart or those who have even the slightest fear of heights.

What To Expect On The Hike

Precipice Trail is the most nerve-jangling hike in Acadia National Park. If you have already hiked Angels Landing Trail in Zion, the climb up Precipice Trail will be a piece of cake for you.

However, if you are even the slightest bit unsure about your tolerance for heights, we strongly recommend you hike Beehive Trail in Acadia first. Beehive Trail is like a smaller version of Precipice Trail, which will help prepare you for the much longer and higher climb here.

The Precipice Trail hike in Acadia is recommended only for ages 12 and above. But to be honest we saw plenty of adults wishing they were not stuck on a narrow ledge waiting to climb a ladder with more hikers waiting in line both ahead and behind.

Should You Hike Precipice Trail?

Experienced and confident hikers should definitely hike Precipice Trail. It is so much fun and you are going to love this hike.

The problems start when one hiker gets spooked half way up the climb. Once you start you have to finish because going back down the wall is more dangerous for other hikers.

If you feel like you might struggle with heights or climbing several ladder sections with drop offs, maybe give this one a miss and hike other trails in Acadia instead.

After climbing the ladders to Mount Champlain, continue along Champlain North Ridge Trail before looping back onto Orange and Black Path to Precipice Trailhead.

Want to hike Precipice Trail? Read our complete guide to hiking Precipice Trail in Acadia or watch our GoPro footage of Precipice Trail on YouTube.

Celebrating being at the top of Beehive Trail climb ladders and drop offs with view over sand beach from the summit
Kristen enjoying the views from the summit of Beehive Trail in Acadia

2. Beehive Trail

  • Trail Distance: 1.5 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Loop
  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate / Hard (due to climbing elements)
  • Elevation Gain: 500 ft
  • Perfect For: Adventurous hikers, build up to Precipice
  • Recent Comments: All Trails

Beehive Trail is the most popular hike in Acadia National Park.

Think of Beehive TrailI as a much less intimidating version of Precipice Trail. You will get a lighter taste of what it is like to climb ladders on cliff walls with slightly less scary drop offs.

Beehive Trail is far more inclusive and accessible for a wider range of hikers visiting Acadia National Park. There are still some heart thumping moments, but nothing on the scale of Precipice Trail.

The problem with Beehive Trail being an exceptionally busy hike is getting parked and avoiding long lines waiting to climb to the next section. We recommend you begin hiking Beehive Trail either very early or very late in the day.

Summit views from the top of Beehive Trail are beautiful and definitely worth the climb.

Top tip: You can still walk to the summit of Beehive Trail without climbing the ladders. Take the opposite direction in the loop following Bowl Trail to The Bowl and looping round to Beehive Trail summit.

Want to hike the most popular Acadia hike? Read our complete guide to hiking Beehive Trail in Acadia to see more from the trail.

View over Maine from the summit of Cadillac Mountain one of the best hikes in acadia national park
View over the Atlantic Ocean from Cadillac Mountain summit

3. Cadillac Mountain North Ridge Trail

  • Trail Distance: 4.4 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Out and Back
  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation Gain: 1,100 ft
  • Perfect For: Sunrise and sunset hike, no vehicle ticket availability
  • Recent Comments: All Trails

North Ridge Trail is the best night hike in Acadia to reach Cadillac Mountain in time for sunrise.

Cadillac Mountain is the highest point in Acadia National Park and along the entire eastern seaboard. From the summit, you can be among the first people in America to watch the sun rising over the Atlantic Ocean horizon.

Most people drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain and walk the very short and easy Cadillac Mountain Loop Trail, but by far the best and most satisfying way to summit Cadillac Mountain is to hike from the loop road.

Trail Selection

You can choose to hike either 8 miles round trip along the more scenic Cadillac South Ridge Trail or hike this shorter 4.4 miles round trip hike up Cadillac North Ridge Trail.

The quicker North Ridge Trail is more popular because it is the shortest hiking route to Cadillac Mountain summit from Bar Harbor. You would have to set an even more excruciatingly early alarm to hike the longer South Ridge Trail in the dark!

Hiking both North Ridge and South Ridge Trails any time after sunrise is a great way to beat the vehicle reservations or to hike a quieter trail in Acadia National Park.

If you want to tick off another summit in Acadia while you are up there, hike from Cadillac Mountain to Dorr Mountain and back again. This would include an additional 1.5 miles roundtrip to your distance.

Where Are Those Morgans jumping from one rock to another at the summit of South Bubble trail one of the best hikes in acadia national park with lake background perspective photograph
Mark jumping between rocks at South Bubble

4. North + South Bubble Trails (The Bubbles)

  • Trail Distance: 1.5 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Out and back, fork with spur to North + South Bubble
  • Trail Difficulty: Easy / Moderate
  • Elevation Gain: Roughly 500 ft total for both Bubbles
  • Perfect For: Family friendly hike with excellent lake views
  • All Trails: All Trails

The Bubbles is the best hike in Acadia National Park for photographers and Instragrammers.

Hiking The Bubbles is a real treat in Acadia. The hike is short, fun and leads to some of the very best views in the national park.

Families with teens and couples seeking romantic vistas are going to love hiking North and South Bubble Trails. We even saw a wedding shoot taking place at North Bubble!

Unfortunately for the happy couple, Acadia was experiencing abnormally high wind and a bright but hazy sky the day we hiked Bubbles Trail.

We had sympathy because despite the gorgeous backdrop, the poor woman’s hair was disheveled and that is putting it mildly!

Bubbles Trail Information

Parking at Bubbles Divide Trailhead is very challenging. There are few spaces and Bubbles is a hugely popular hike, as you would expect with it being an Acadia Instagram classic.

The first 0.2 miles are into forest. You can fork in either direction, but we suggest North Bubble first before returning to the fork and heading up South Bubble afterward.

Both North and South Bubble have excellent views overlooking Jordan Pond and the Atlantic Ocean, but we think South Bubble has the best vista.

On the way to South Bubble will pass by Bubble Rock, which is a huge boulder that looks impossibly stuck on the edge of a cliff.

Tip: You can see in our photo above how hazy and bright conditions cause the background to wash out during the day. Early morning and late afternoon are much better times for photographers to summit the Bubbles.

Stunning path alongside Jordan Pond colorful trees
Hiking around Jordan Pond Loop Trail during fall in Acadia National Park

5. Jordan Pond Loop Trail

  • Trail Distance: 3.4 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Loop
  • Trail Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation Gain: Less than 100 ft
  • Perfect For: Families, scenery, relaxing, fall colors
  • Recent Comments: All Trails

Jordan Pond is the most picturesque family hike in Acadia National Park.

Acadia is filled with postcard perfect water features surrounded by rolling hills and mountain peaks. But if there is just one place you go to take photos of water, make it the stunning Jordan Pond area.

The flat and easy lakeside loop trail around Jordan Pond is perfect for those not interested in steep climbs!

We circumnavigated Jordan Pond when it was surrounded by radiant fall foliage and as you can see in the photo above, it is incredibly picturesque.

The hike around Jordan Pond in Acadia is relaxing but at 3.4 miles roundtrip it is also time consuming. If you are keen to hit the mountain summits around Acadia, leave Jordan Pond Trail until last.

However, if you’re in Acadia National Park to unwind and take things easy with the family, hiking doesn’t get much better than Jordan Pond Loop Trail.

Ocean Path nice gentle flat trail for all abilities rocky coastline with ocean and clouds
Quintessential Acadia National Park coastal path

6. Ocean Path Trail

  • Trail Distance: 4.5 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Out and back
  • Trail Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation Gain: 350 ft
  • Perfect For: Families, accessibility (half way), relaxing, ocean views
  • Recent Comments: All Trails

Ocean Path Trail is a hike with quintessential Acadia National Park scenery.

If you are looking for the most accessibility friendly or family friendly hiking trail in Acadia National Park, Ocean Path is your answer.

Ocean Path Trail begins at the parking lot for Sand Beach. You will pass by the popular geological feature Thunder Hole and walk all the way up to Otter Point.

The section of trail between Sand Beach and Thunder Hole is accessible. After that it turns into a dirt trail with staircases around Otter Cliffs.

What makes Ocean Path one of the best hikes in Acadia National Park is endless views out into the Gulf of Maine. You will find hundreds of visitors hopping out onto Acadia’s ‘boulder beaches’ for selfies and photoshoots.

The huge boulders along Ocean Path Trail is the place to grab your classic Acadia photo for the scrapbook.

Don’t miss the stop at Thunder Hole to see water crashing and clapping into a small inlet. The kids will enjoy this part but keep them close by in case the water comes over.

Great Head Trail hugs the coastline with view looking back over sand beach and out to sea
Looking back at Sand Beach from Great Head

7. Great Head Trail

  • Trail Distance: 1.6 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Loop
  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation Gain: 300 ft
  • Perfect For: Ocean views, beach views, light scrambling, quieter trail
  • Recent Comments: All Trails

Great Head Trail is one of the best hikes in Acadia National Park to escape the crowds.

If you are seeking a break from the overwhelming crowds in Acadia but don’t want to climb a steep mountain, Great Head Trail is your top choice.

We had Great Head Trail entirely to ourselves despite nearby Sand Beach and Ocean Path both being jam packed.

The Great Head Trail begins to the back right hand side of Sand Beach and follows a fairly interpretive uneven rocky path. Eventually after a bit of light scrambling you will reach a point along the headland from which you can look back across Sand Beach.

Great Head is not just a ‘great’ Acadia hike because it is quiet. From the headland you can soak up views of Schoodic Point across the narrows and look back over Sand Beach with Beehive Trail behind.

If you’re short on time in Acadia, Great Head Trail is a hike you can add to your ‘maybe next time’ list. But if you have enough time, don’t miss the blissful escapism.

Top tip: The most efficient way to hike Great Head is right after Beehive Trail.

View over lakes ocean and trees from Gorham Mountain
Ocean views from a mountain peak in Acadia National Park

8. Gorham Mountain Trail

  • Trail Distance: 1.6 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Out and back
  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation Gain: 400 ft
  • Perfect For: Quick steep hike with awesome views, family friendly
  • All Trails: All Trails

Gorham Mountain Trail is one of the best hikes in Acadia National Park for special summit views.

One of our favorite things about hiking in Acadia is that many of the top trails are interconnected. You can hike one trail, join another and then end up on another mountain summit before you know it.

Gorham Mountain is one of those summits you can reach from either Ocean Path Trail or Beehive Trail.

If you choose to hike from Gorham Mountain Trailhead to its summit and back, you will face a steep climb and a total of 1.6 miles roundtrip.

However, it might be more logical for you to combine Beehive Trail with Gorham Mountain.

Once you summit Beehive, descend via The Bowl, then join up with Gorham Mountain Trail. At the end you can hike back to the parking lot along Ocean Path Trail.

Striking ocean views from the summit of Gorham Mountain are well worth the added hiking distance.

Where Are Those Morgans at the summit of Acadia Mountain peak one of the best hikes in the park
Mark at the summit of Acadia Mountain Trail

9. Acadia Mountain Trail

  • Trail Distance: 2.5 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Loop
  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate / Strenuous
  • Elevation Gain: 700 ft
  • Perfect For: Challenging trail, spectacular summit views
  • Recent Comments: All Trails

Acadia Mountain is the best hike in Acadia for a steep trail leading to stellar views.

Let’s move over to the west side of Acadia National Park, which is to the left of Somes Sound as you look at a map. There are two unmissable hikes on Acadia’s western shores to include in your itinerary.

The first is Acadia Mountain which delivers on more of those staggeringly photogenic views, but this time providing more of a challenge for hikers due to a steeper ascent.

You can choose to hike from Acadia Mountain Trailhead straight to the summit and return via the same trail. Alternatively, you can hike the Acadia Mountain and Man O War Loop Trail to include Brook Waterfall.

Brook waterfall or Man ‘O War waterfall is a fantastic ‘hidden’ spot to find in Acadia. If you time it right after rain or snowmelt, the waterfall can be a very nice subject in a great frame.

Which Way Should You Hike Acadia Mountain?

Going up Acadia Mountain Trail clockwise means descending via the steeper east face. This is the way we hiked Acadia Mountain and it was a fun trail.

However, many choose hike Acadia Mountain counter-clockwise by walking over to Man O War brook before ascending the steeper eastern face. This leaves a less steep west descent back to the parking lot.

Most of Acadia Mountain Trail is through forest until breaking clear of the tree canopy right at Acadia Mountain summit.

We saw at least 5 or 6 dogs loving the climb up Acadia Mountain. They were in better shape than the hikers on trail (including us) that is for sure!

Parking For Acadia Mountain

We found the parking situation at Acadia Mountain Trailhead to be slightly confusing.

You need to cross the busy road once you are parked up in the roadside lot. Once on the other side you will notice there are three trail options.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Left – The quickest route up to Acadia Mountain summit
  • Middle – The way to Man ‘O War Brook waterfall and the counter-clockwise loop
  • Right – Leads off to Valley Cove and a much longer route for climbing Acadia Mountain

We recommend taking the middle fork which leads up a rocky slab and into forest so you can hike the full Acadia Mountain Loop with a less steep descent later in the trail.

Beech Mountain loop has a watchtower and awesome lake views
Mark enjoying the peaceful views from Beech Mountain Loop Trail

10. Beech Mountain Loop Trail

  • Trail Distance: 1.2 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Loop
  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation Gain: 350 ft
  • Perfect For: Stunning lake views, watchtower summit, dogs
  • Recent Comments: All Trails

Beech Mountain Loop Trail is the only hike in Acadia National Park leading to a fire lookout tower.

On the opposite side of Echo Lake from Acadia Mountain you will find Beech Mountain. At the summit of Beech Mountain is the only remaining fire lookout tower in Acadia National Park.

Not long after leaving Beech Mountain Trailhead the path forks and creates a loop.

You can hike up and down either side of the loop, but we strongly recommend you take the clockwise ascent because it leads to magnificent views over Long Pond on the gradual descent.

Beech Mountain summit provides yet more staggeringly attractive views and of course you get to see the old fire tower. However, the best is yet to come if you hiked clockwise as we did.

One of the best photo spots in all of Acadia National Park can be found when hiking down Beech Mountain Loop as the trail opens up breathtaking views over Long Pond.

Overall we think Beech Mountain Loop is the most unexpected hidden gem hiking trail in Acadia.

Mark and Kristen Morgan hiking Beech Mountain Loop Trail in Acadia National Park, Maine
Mark and Kristen hiking in Acadia National Park

Bonus Hikes In Acadia National Park

We hope our top 10 hiking trails in Acadia have you excited and ready to lace up your boots!

But we are not done yet.

Let’s take a summarized look at some of the lesser known and less traveled hiking trails you can also include during your visit to Acadia National Park.

The following trails are best for return visitors to Acadia or those who want to escape the crowds.

1. Ship Harbor Trail

Ship Harbor Trail is a very easy family friendly hiking trail located close to Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. This is a great hike to include if you are waiting to watch the classic Bass Harbor sunset.

The 1.4 mile figure 8 loop trail passes by a cove and is a favorite spot for birdwatchers visiting Acadia. Younger kids will enjoy watching waves crashing up onto the rocks at high tide.

2. Eagle Lake Carriageway Trail

Eagle Lake Carriageway Trail is a very easy and flat 6 mile loop hike around Eagle Lake, which is close to Bar Harbor. Acadia’s carriageways remain open year round so this could be one to do if visiting the park out of season.

The Eagle Lake Carriageway Trail is not an exciting hike but it is family friendly as it follows a crushed gravel path for its entirety. Expect to share the carriageway with cyclists.

3. Flying Mountain Trail

Flying Mountain Trail is a short 1.5 mile loop trail to the south of Acadia Mountain. Barely anyone knows about this trail so you may well have it to yourself.

You would have to navigate 300 ft of elevation gain, but the moderately difficult Flying Mountain Trail leads to wonderful views for relatively little effort.

4. St. Sauveur Trail

St. Sauveur Trail is another hike you can include close to Acadia Mountain. This one is sandwiched between Acadia Mountain and Flying Mountain.

Many hike a full Acadia Mountain, Valley Peak and Flying Mountain Loop Trail. But if you are short on time and want another steep ascent for the workout, include the short burst up to St Sauveur Mountain.

5. Dorr Mountain Trail

Dorr Mountain Trail is one of the harder Acadia National Park hikes because it features three ladder sections and plenty of granite steps climbing over 1,000 feet at a steep gradient.

If you are looking for challenging hiking trails in Acadia, climb to Dorr Mountain and take the connector to Cadillac Mountain before returning via one of several route options in the area.

Acadia National Park Hiking Map

Let’s take a quick look at our map for the best hikes in Acadia.

Map key:

  • Red – Trailheads for each of the 10 best Acadia hikes
  • Blue – Trail summits where appropriate

Click or touch to activate the map, zoom in / out and move around to familiarize yourself with the locations of each top hiking trail in Acadia National Park.

Hiker standing next to the Beehive Trail summit marker on a sunny day in Acadia during October
Kristen standing next to the Beehive Trail summit marker on a crisp October morning

2 Day Acadia National Park Hiking Example Itinerary

Let’s take a look at how we would personally plan out a 2 day hiking itinerary for Acadia National Park with hindsight after exploring the trails.

Day 1

  • Park at Sand Beach and start with Beehive Trail at 7:00am.
  • Continue to Gorham Mountain.
  • Descend via the opposite end of Gorham Mountain onto Ocean Path.
  • Follow Ocean Path to Otter Point.
  • Return the entire length of Ocean Path to Sand Beach.
  • Walk out to Great Head.
  • Drive to Bubbles Divide and hope you can get a parking spot.
  • Hike to North and South Bubbles.
  • Descend and walk the Jordan Pond Loop.

Day 2

  • Check sunrise times and night hike Cadillac North Ridge Trail to arrive before the sun rises.
  • Right after sunrise, hike back to Park Loop Road and drive to Precipice Trail.
  • Climb Precipice Trail before it gets too busy in the morning.
  • Drive over to the western side of Acadia.
  • Hike Acadia Mountain and Beech Mountain.

This 2 day example itinerary for hiking in Acadia National Park is definitely achievable but you will need luck getting parked at trailheads.

If you can stretch your Acadia itinerary to 3 full days you will be able to slow things down and have a far more enjoyable experience!

Best Hikes In Acadia FAQ’s

Let’s finish with the most asked questions about hiking in Acadia National Park.

What Is The Best Hike In Acadia?

The best hike in Acadia National Park is Precipice Trail. Many of Acadia’s popular hikes are fun, family friendly or challenging, but Precipice Trail is the one hike most people would add to a personal list of favorite trails.

What Are The Hardest Hikes In Acadia?

Cadillac Mountain North Ridge and Gorge Path Loop, St Sauveur and Acadia Mountain Loop, Precipice Loop Trail and Dorr Mountain Ladder Trail are the 4 hardest hikes in Acadia National Park.

More “Best Hikes” Guides

Want more Maine content? Head over to our Maine Travel Guides to explore Acadia National Park and beyond.

We hope this list of the best hikes in Acadia National Park helps with planning your visit to Maine, USA!

What are your favorite hiking trails in Acadia?

Please let us know if you need any help planning your trip to Acadia in the comments below.

Happy Hiking,

Mark and Kristen

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