7 Best Hiking Trails in Acadia: Plan your Trip

Acadia National Park is the Northeast’s only National Park. This, along with its stunning scenery and front-country feel makes it a hot spot for those seeking outdoor adventure and those looking to relax. 

Mount Desert Island’s landscape consists of mixed forests, rocky beaches, and glacier-scoured peaks that rise straight up from the Atlantic. It is truly a beautiful place to visit for anyone who appreciated nature. 

Choosing which hiking trails in Acadia you should add to your itinerary is tough. Use this guide to select the best Acadia hikes for you and your next National Park Adventure. 

Best Time to Visit Acadia National Park 

Bustling in the summer and early fall, Bar Harbor, Maine, and Acadia National Park are very busy from June through early October. Plan your trip for this timeframe if you want

The winter months provide true solitude and a unique perspective of the park. Be sure to check the weather to make sure you are properly prepared for hiking in Acadia during New England Winter. Coastal, northeast winters can be harsh and unpredictable.  

The Best Hiking Trails in Acadia

7 Best Hiking Trails in Acadia National Park 

Hiking in Acadia National Park is a real treat. Beautiful ocean beaches that rise right up to stunning mountain summits are hard to find, but in Acadia they’re plentiful. 

1. The Bubbles 

Take the Bubbles Divide trail to North Bubble, South Bubble, and Bubble Rock! With expansive views of Jordan Pond and a lot of exposed, rocky granite.

Park at the Bubbles Divide Parking Lot for the shortest hike to these stunning views. Take a spur trail to enjoy excellent views of Jordan Pond, Pemetic and Sargent Mountain, and the Cranberry Isles.

The spur trail for South Bubbles is a bit further down the main trail; it will connect you with an iconic view of Jordan Pond and Bubble Rock, an interesting glacial erratic

You can add to your hike by tacking on some mileage along the Jordan Pond path.

2. The Precipice

Definitely one of the most adventurous hiking trails in Acadia National Park, this hike is not for the faint of heart. 

The Precipice trail is the Angel’s Landing of the East Coast. You’ll climb ladders built right into the rock face and shimmy along exposed cliff edges that are only a few feet wide to reach your destination. Climb over 1,000 feet in one mile of stunning views on the Precipice Trail.

A cloudy view of Acadia's best hike, the precipice trail's
A view of the Precipice Trail, one of the best hiking trails in Acadia

I recommend hiking The Beehive before attempting the Precipice. If you struggle with the Beehive (below) in any way, then it’s safe to say this is not the trail for you. 

Hike the Precipice Trail as a loop. This means you’ll climb up the steep stuff and down the Black and Orange Trail. Additionally, I highly recommend skipping this hike in wet weather due to safety concerns. 

3. The Beehive

The Beehive is a popular cliff trail located near Sand Beach. Although this trail is comparable in many ways to the Precipice Trail, it is significantly less difficult and treacherous.

There are some rung climbing sections and steep drop-offs on the Beehive Trail making it a great leadup hike to the Precipice. This hike is also completed as a loop; your descent isn’t nearly as steep as your ascent. It also provides you the opportunity to hike up Gorham Mountain as a side trip. 

I do not recommend this hike for anyone afraid of hikes or anyone hiking with small children or a dog. If you still want to experience the beehive summit, you can head up and around past the Bowl to climb a much more mellow trail.

4. Ocean Path

Ocean Path is a great trail for families. It’s relatively flat, has amazing coastal views, and is an out-and-back. That means you can turn around at any time to return to your vehicle. 

The full ocean trail goes from Sand Beach to Otter Point. It’s about 4.5 miles roundtrip, but as an out and back, you can turn around whenever you’d like. This trail is a flat path in pretty good condition all the way through, so anyone can do it. It’s one of the easiest hiking trails in Acadia!

A Beautiful View from Ocean Path in Acadia National Park

One of the best viewpoints is Thunder Hole. Located at about the halfway point, this is a must-see on your Ocean Path hike. Listen as the sound of crashing waves booms like the sound of thunder on a stormy day. 

The parking lot here fills up early. Arrive before 7 AM or take the island explorer bus if you want to make sure you get a parking spot. 

5. Beech and Canada Cliffs

A great trail for beautiful views and a bit of a thrill! The Beech Cliffs and Canada Cliffs trail has two separate access points, each boasting different benefits.

Explore this hiking trail in Acadia from Echo Lake Beach Road for a longer and more exciting hike. Climb a metal ladder and live life on the edge by starting at this trail head. 

For a shorter, flatter hike try parking at the Beech Mountain Trailhead. This will shorten your hike to a little over a mile and save you the ladder climbing. 

girl with
Best Hiking Trails in Acadia National Park

From either starting point, you’ll experience stunning views of Echo Lake from the exposed cliff edges. Although the trail is wide open and fairly flat, do take care to watch your footing in these exposed sections.

If you parked in the Echo Lake parking lot, plan to cool off with a freshwater dip in Echo Lake.

6. Beech Mountain Trail

This short, moderate loop is great for avid hikers looking to avoid some of the crowds and gain a beautiful view. 

This hiking trail in Acadia provides access to one of the few remaining fire towers in the area. The lower level of the tower is open and provides stunning views of Somes Sound, Echo Lake, and a handful of mountains on the east side of Mount Desert Island. 

This hike can easily be added to the Beech and Canada Cliffs trail for a longer-day hiker. These two loops will provide a variety of terrain and views.

I highly recommend starting at the Echo Lake Beach Road trailhead, climbing up the ladders, completing the cliffs loop, and then heading over to Beech Mountain before returning via the South Ridge and Valley trails. 

7. Pemetic Mountain

Pemetic Mountain is a trail for hikers who love a challenge. As one of the longest hiking trails rounds trip, you should be prepared for a 3-5 hour outing. 

You can access Pemetic Mountain in a few different ways. The South Ridge Trail is the most family-friendly option, whereas the Northwest Trail is certainly spicier. 

All of the parking lots for Pemetic Mountain share trailheads with other popular hikes. They often fill by mid-morning. Plan according by arriving early or opting to take the Island Explorer shuttle bus to reach the trailhead. 

How Does the Island Explorer Shuttle Work?

The Island Explorer Shuttle at Acadia National Park makes park access on Mount Desert Island a breeze.

Park at the visitor center and hop on the LL Bean-sponsored Island Explorer Shuttles to access the best hiking trails in Acadia. 

Shuttles connect campgrounds, inns, and hotels with destinations throughout the park, including the Bar Harbor Green. With multiple routes and a variety of stops, it can be confusing to follow. Please look into the schedules and routes during your visit.  


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