hiking acadia national park

Hiking in Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is one of the most visited National Parks in America. People come from all over the world to explore it’s natural beauty and experience it’s majestic views. While you can quickly drive to the must-see sites and enjoy their magnificent scenery, nothing compares to the breathtaking views and fulfilling the sense of adventure you can encounter along Acadia’s vast collection of hiking trails.

With Acadia’s diverse selection of trails, there is something for everyone. You don’t have to be a highly-skilled climber or even an avid hiker to enjoy most all of the trails. Here at the Highbrook, it’s our goal to help you make the most of your trip to Acadia and that goes beyond providing a comfortable retreat after your days of exploring. We’re here to help you plan and navigate all the area has to offer. With our years of experience and familiarity with the local area, it is our pleasure to pass on our knowledge so that you can enjoy Acadia in it’s fullest, even if it’s your first time here.

Below are some of our favorite hikes that we recommend to all of our guests. We’ve included something for everyone to give you a sampling of what Acadia has to offer…

great head trail acadia


Great Head Trail – One of Acadia’s shorter hikes, it is approximately 1.4 miles. The trail loops around Great Head Peninsula which lies adjacent to Sand Beach. This hike is of moderate difficulty, consisting of some steep inclines and rocky terrain. The views looking back over Sand Beach and down to Otter Cliffs are simply amazing. You’ll also see Beehive Mountain off to the right behind Sand Beach. As you make your way around the loop, you’ll be able to see clear out to the Atlantic. Along the way, there are many spots to sit out on the granite cliffs and take in the scenery. Disconnect from everyday life and listen to the waves crash against the rocks. You’ll feel like your sitting at the edge of the world!

Ocean Path Acadia National Park


The Ocean Path, as it’s so appropriately named, is a leisurely stroll along the rugged coastline of Acadia. Spanning the shore between Sand Beach and Otter Point, the path is just over two miles each way. You have the choice of beginning at either end and making your hike as long or short as you want. Along the trail, you’ll pass by Thunder Hole and Monument Cove. This relatively flat hike offers beautiful views and is easy enough for anyone to enjoy.

Cadillac Mountain South Ridge Trail


At just over 7 miles round trip, the South Ride Trail of Cadillac Mountain is one of the longest single hikes in Acadia. The hike begins off Rt. 3 in Otter Creek, approximately 300 ft from the entrance to Blackwoods Campground. It starts off as a forested trail but then gradually ascends along a granite ridge. As you continue on, the trail will open providing scenic views of the forest below and ocean off in the distance. The trail has some steep sections coupled along with moderate ones. It is a strenuous hike and one of the more difficult trails Acadia has to offer. When you’re done with the South Ride trail, the feeling of accomplishment and adventure will surely put a smile on your face!

hiking acadia national park


For those who like adventure and want to get their adrenaline pumping, check out the Beehive Trail. One of Acadia’s steeper and more difficult hikes, this 1.9-mile loop will have you climbing iron rungs and navigating narrow ledges as you make your way to the top. The trail is so steep, that it is too dangerous and ill advised to descend down it. It is only recommended you attempt to navigate up the trail and down around the back side of it. Beginning just before the Sand Beach parking area, the views looking back over Sand Beach and the surrounding landscape are simply spectacular!

Helpful Resources:

For the latest and greatest technology, download the Acadia National Park App by Chimani. This app can be downloaded to your smartphone for free! On top of that, it is designed to work without a cell phone signal, which isn’t always available in some parts of the park. Here are links to the iOS version for iPhone and iPad, as well as the Android version on Google Play.

The National Park Service website provides free Detailed Maps of Acadia on their website. They also have a have a good list of some of the Most Popular Hikes in Acadia arranged by difficulty.

If you’re planning on doing a lot of hiking during your next trip or you are a frequent visitor, we recommend picking up a copy of A Walk in the Park by local resident Tom St. Germain. It is a comprehensive guide that includes detailed maps of virtually every hike in Acadia. You can purchase copies locally or online at Sherman’s Book Store on Main Street in Bar Harbor.

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Hiking Tips

Inside Acadia, there are very limited concessions. Pack plenty of drinks and snacks to bring with you on your hikes.

Several places in the Downtown area offer picnic lunches to take out to the park but the local Hannaford grocery store is probably the easiest and most convenient place to pick up all your hiking supplies.

To enter Acadia, you need to have an entrance pass. On your way into Bar Harbor stop at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center to get your pass and pick up the free official hiking map of Acadia.