10 Best Hikes In Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is the only National Park in the northeast and one of the sparkling jewels in the National Parks crown. 

The park is spread over Mount Desert Island, Schoodic Peninsula, and tiny Isle au Haut. There are wooded hills, spectacular coastlines, sparkling lakes, and much more. 

And one of the best ways to see all these is to hike.

So, what are the best hikes in Acadia National Park?  In this guide to the best hiking trails in Acadia National Park, you will find descriptions of all of the best Acadia hikes.

TOP TOUR: Book a 4-hour private tour now
TOP HOTEL PICK: Check availability now 
FIND THE CHEAPEST CAR RENTAL: Search Discover Cars for the best deals 
FIND THE CHEAPEST FLIGHTS: Search Skyscanner for the best deals 
GET TRAVEL INSURANCE: Get insured with Travelex before you go 

No time right now to read about the best hikes in Acadia National Park? Pin it and save it for later:

Four Photos: Ocean, island, mountains, trees, and a man climbing on the rock, with the text in the middle. "10 Hikes Not to Miss in Acadia."

Please note that some of the links below may be affiliate links.  If you make a purchase through these links, I earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Read my Disclosure for more information.

If you are planning to visit Acadia National Park, make your planning easy and stress free with a detailed itinerary. I have 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-day itineraries for Acadia that include all the park highlights, give you choices based on your preferred activity level, and take all the stress out of planning your trip. 

Check out the four Acadia National Park itinerary options 

Trees with colorful leaves beside the blue lake in the fall in Acadia National Park

Before we look at each of the best day hikes in Acadia National Park, a few practical things to know:

What to Take/ Wear Hiking in Acadia National Park 

There is a large variety of trails in Acadia National Park. Best hike gear recommendations include:

1. Hiking poles

Most of the best day hikes in Acadia have some elevation change. Hiking poles can help stabilize you and make going up and downhill easier.  I used to think they weren’t necessary until I actually tried them and now I seldom hike without them.

I have these Foxelli trekking poles – they are really light weight, adjustable, have several tips and grippy handles.  Get them here. 

2. Sturdy hiking shoes or boots or sandals

You’ll want to wear good hiking boots or shoes for the best hiking.  Acadia National Park has great trails, but there are tree roots, rocks and uneven surfaces in most of them.  Plus the iron rungs and ladders.  Good footwear is essential.  

If you need to get some boots, take a look at my Guide to Buying the Best Hiking Shoes/ Boots to help you know what to look for and get some recommendations.  My top pick is this pair of Salomon Gore-Tex boots.  

3. Layers

Summers in Acadia can be amazing, but this is the Northeast and even in summer, the weather can change and warm, sunny days turn chilly and wet.  I recommend taking a rain jacket  and wearing layers that you can take off or put on depending on the weather, which can change throughout the day.

If you need one, I like this Columbia rain jacket for men and this Little Donkey Andy rain jacket for women.

4. Water

Always take more water than you think you’ll need.  I love this hydroflask.  It’s easy to carry, keeps temperatures well, and comes in multiple colors. 

5. Binoculars

These aren’t essential, but there are often birds soaring overhead or wildlife in the distance or marine life in the ocean.  So, I like to take binoculars with me when I hike so I can see them up close. 

If you’re looking for some, read my guide to The Best Binoculars for the Money or get my top pick here.

6. Sun hat, sunglasses and sun screen

Many of these hikes involve some (or a lot) of exposure to the sun, so be sure to wear sunscreen, a good sun hat and sunglasses. 

7. Bug Spray

The summer can get buggy in Acadia.  I prefer DEET-free insect repellent because it’s better for your skin and the environment.  If you need some, you can order some DEET-free bug spray here

8. Camera

I love the GoPro HERO 12.  It is designed for travel.  It’s water resistant and durable, which is especially important when you might slip and the camera could end up wet.  Check current prices on the GoPro HERO 12 here

9. Day Hike Essentials

Check my list of essential things to take and wear on a day hike to make sure you have everything you need.

10. Microspikes

If you’re hiking in winter or early spring, you will need good microspikes so that you don’t slip on icy trails.  Read my guide to The Best Microspikes for Hiking if you need to buy some or get my favorites, the Kahtoola Microspikes.

A picture of a rock with an overlooking scenery of mountains, oceans and trees in Acadia National Park.

Top Acadia National Park Hiking Tips

1. Time it right

The best time to hike Acadia National Park is in the summer and fall.  In spring, the trails get very muddy.  In winter you’ll have the trails to yourself and the lack of trees open up the views, but many of the trails get very icy and can be closed. 

2. Get their early – or take the shuttle

July and August are the most crowded months, so try to get as early as possible to the hiking trails. Acadia National Park is one of the most popular national parks and parking is limited.  So if you don’t get a very early start, take the free Island Explorer shuttle to the trailheads. 

3. Be sun sensible

There is little shade on some of the trails, so be sure to have a hat and sunglasses, and wear sunscreen.

4. Get maps

Before setting out, be sure to get maps for all the best hiking trails.  Acadia trail maps can be downloaded or you can buy a detailed National Geographic topographic trail map here.  

5. Take a handheld GPS

Most of these trails are well marked, but for peace of mind, especially for the longer trails, you can invest in a good quality handheld GPS for hiking (see reviews and recommendations here).  Or get my top Garmin GPS right here.

6. Wear the right gear in winter

The best hiking trails in Acadia National Park are often covered in snow and ice from November to March and possibly earlier/ later than that. Microspikes are essential at this time of year.

7. Know your limits

Some of these trails involve climbing iron ladders, using iron rungs that are embedded into cliffs to pull yourself up, and walking along narrow exposed ledges with steep dropoffs.  These are not for everyone.  

If you have a fear of heights and/ or mobility issues, these might not be the best option.  However, there are also easier ways to get to some of the summits.  Plus, not all of the trails have these features.  Just choose the hike for your own comfort level. 

Isle au Haut Acadia

Guided Hikes – Acadia National Park

It’s certainly possible to do all of these hikes by yourself but a guide can give you even more information about the best places to hike in Acadia National Park and describe what you’re seeing along the way. 

Some tours to Acadia National Park that include hikes (or the option to hike) are:

Full Day Small Group Tour of Acadia National Park

On this tour, which has a maximum of eight people, an expert naturalist guide shows some of the most iconic places in Acadia, including the Ocean Path, Thunder Hole, Bubble Rock, and Jordan Pond. The tour includes time for hiking.

BOOK THIS SMALL GROUP, ONE-DAY TOUR TO ACADIA WITH HIKING

Full Day Private Tour to Acadia National Park with Hikes

With your own naturalist guide, a private tour gives you maximum flexibility and attention.  Hikes include the Ocean Path, Jordan Pond, Bubble Rock and even an optional Precipice Trail.

BOOK THIS PRIVATE HIKING DAY TRIP TO ACADIA NATIONAL PARK


10 Best Hikes in Acadia National Park

There are plenty of amazing things to do in Acadia National Park. But if you like to hike as I do, hiking will be top of your list. Acadia National Park is one of the best places for hiking in the United States and home to the famous Acadia iron rung trails.  

The Acadia National Park trails are legendary.

There are hills covered in spruce forests and sprinkled with lakes.  Many of the hills have granite outcrops with incredible views over the surrounding bright blue water and islands.  Some of the hikes can be technical, with iron rungs and narrow ledges, but there are also plenty of easier options.

FREE DOWNLOAD
Subscribe to monthly updates with tips for planning, travel inspiration and trip ideas and get instant access to the free PDF of this
Guide to the Best Hikes in Acadia National Park

1. Acadia Mountain Hike, Acadia National Park

Distance: 2.6 miles round trip / 4.1 km

Time: 2 hours

Rating: Strenuous

Elevation gain: 581 feet/ 177 meters

Acadia Mountain Trailhead: Across the street from Acadia Mountain parking area.  Two miles/ 3.2km north of Southwest Harbor on Route 102.

Acadia Mountain is not the highest mountain in Acadia National Park, but this is one of the most beautiful trails in the park with views that will take your breath away.  This is one of the must do hikes in Acadia National Park.

You can either start along the St. Sauveur Mountain Trail and then turn left (north) at the Acadia Mountain Trail junction OR hike north along the roadside trail and then turn right on the “Man o’ War” dirt road until you get to the intersection with the Acadia Mountain Trail. 

The trail passes through spruce-fir forest before coming to a large granite ledge. This section is steep and requires some rock scrambling. 

The trail then continues through the forest to the summit.  There are wonderful views of Somes Sound and the surrounding islands.  Continue to a second viewpoint that is even better.  

The trail descends steeply then re-enters the woods. After crossing the lovely Man o’ War Brook, there’s spur trail on the left to a viewpoint where you can see the brook flow into Somes Sound over the Man o’ War Brook Waterfall. This small cascade was an easy source of freshwater for 18th-century sailing ships which pulled up alongside the waterfall to refill their water barrels.

To complete the loop of this hike, take the Man o’ War truck road (closed to vehicles) back to the parking area. 

Insider Tips

When you finish the hike, take the Echo Lake Ledges trail down to Echo Lake for a swim!  The trail starts near the restrooms at the Acadia Mountain Trailhead parking.   It’s a short walk through the woods to an open rocky ledge that slopes down to Echo Lake.

Highlights

  • Views of Somes Sound
  • Man o’ War Brook Waterfall
  • Chance to swim in Echo Lak

2. The Beehive Trail, Acadia National Park | The Bowl Trail

Beehive trail length: 1.6 miles round trip / 2.6 km

Time: 1-2 hours

Rating: The Beehive Trail (Acadia) difficulty is strenuous.  The Beehive requires ladder/ iron rungs in parts with drop-offs. The Bowl Trail is moderate.

Elevation change: 520 feet/ 158 meters

Trailhead: Across the street from Sand Beach parking area.  The first 0.2 miles/ 322 meters is the Bowl Trail then the trails split.  For the Beehive Trail, take the right path.  Take the left path to continue along the Bowl Trail.

The Beehive is Acadia’s most famous hike and it’s easy to see why it’s most people’s pick for the best trail in Acadia National Park.  

This trail climbs up the steep sides of a beehive-shaped dome – the obvious reason why it’s called the Beehive hike. Acadia is famous for its iron rung trails, and this is the most popular one. At the top are amazing views over the national park and surrounding ocean and islands.

The trail starts on the Bowl trail for 0.2 miles.  Go right at the intersection for the Beehive Trail.

You will need good mobility and either not have a fear of heights or be able to control your fears. While the trail is relatively short, it involves scrambling and climbing up iron rungs and ladders on vertical cliffs with no railings, and some sections walking along narrow ledges with steep drop offs on one side.  There’s even a short section where you walk across iron bars instead of solid ground.

After you get to the top, there’s another 200 feet or so to the summit.  Stop and enjoy the sensational views of Sand Beach, Mount Desert Island and the Maine coastline.

To return, continue along the trail, which loops down via the Bowl (a small, scenic lake), so you don’t need to go down the iron rungs. When you’re ready, continue along the trail.  It’s a fairly easy trail (no rungs or ladders!)  

If vertical climbing, steep drop offs and narrow ledges is not up your alley, there is another way you get to the top of the Beehive and enjoy the same views.  Go left at the intersection and take the Bowl Trail up the back of the mountain to the summit of the Beehive. 

This trail is still rated as moderate, but is much easier and a whole lot less terrifying. 

Insider Tips

Do the hike in a counter clockwise direction so that you hike up the rungs and ladders and then walk down the easier trail.  Hiking down the rungs is much more difficult and dangerous and interferes with all the people coming up.  

If you’re afraid of heights, take the Bowl Trail to Beehive summit.

Beehive Trail parking is very limited.  Either get there very early to take the free Island Explorer shuttle and get off at Sand Beach.

Highlights

  • Exciting iron rung trail
  • Incredible views over the ocean, islands and woods from the summit

3. Beachcroft Path/ The Precipice Trail, Acadia National Park

Distance: 2.5 miles round trip / 4,023 meters

Time: 2-3 hours

Rating: Strenuous. Lots of iron rungs and ladders (the Beachcroft Path is easier)

Elevation change: 978 feet/ 298 meters

Trailhead: From the Precipice parking area off the Park Loop Road (2 miles/ 3.2 km south of Sieur de Monts entrance off Route 3.

The hike goes to the top of Champlain Mountain, climbing over 1,000 feet in 0.9 miles. The Precipice Trail is the most difficult trail in Acadia National Park because a big chunk of it is up a sheer cliff using iron rungs that are inserted into the cliffs that give the hike its name, so it is more like climbing a ladder, with some exposed 100-foot/ 30m drop-offs.  

With numerous iron rungs, ladders, handrails, and wooden bridges, steep dropoffs, and narrow ledges, it’s actually described by the NPS as a “non-technical climb”, rather than a hiking trail. This hike is not for people with a fear of heights.

The trail climbs to the top of Champlain Mountain, Acadia.  However, you can also get to top of Champlain via the less intense 1.2-mile/ 2km Beachcroft Path.  This alternate route is sometimes your only option because the Precipice is sometimes closed due to nearby nesting falcons – see Insider Tips below.  

To go back down from the summit, you can take the North Ridge Trail and Orange and Black Path.

Insider Tips

Do not attempt this hike if you have children under 12, are afraid of heights, or it’s wet. 

This trail is usually closed between mid-March and mid-August for peregrine falcon nesting. Check current conditions for updates on trail closures before hiking.

The Precipice Trail parking lot is on the Park Loop Road, 2 miles after the Sieur de Monts Entrance. The lot usually fills during the busy summer months, but parking is also allowed along the road.

Highlights

  • Views from the top of Champlain Mountain
  • The thrill of conquering the most difficult hike (non-technical climb) in Acadia National Park

4. Gorham Mountain Trail, Acadia National Park

Distance: 1.8 miles round trip / 2.9km

Time: 1-2 hours

Rating: Moderate

Elevation change: 525 feet/ 160 meters

Trailhead: From the Gorham Mountain parking area off the Park Loop Road about 0.5 miles/ 800m past Thunder Hole.

The first part is fairly easy, through a spruce forest. The Gorham Trail then climbs steadily the whole way. 

After 0.2 miles, you’ll come to a memorial plaque for Waldron Bates in a large granite slab. Waldron Bates helped create many of Acadia’s trails and created the style of cairn used to blaze the trails. 

The path splits here, and rejoins 0.2/0.3 miles along. The left path is a regular trail (0.2 miles).  The right trail goes via the Cadillac Cliffs (0.3 miles). This option goes along the side of the cliffs and involves some scrambling and even hiking through a really small tunnel in the granite.

Once the paths rejoin, it’s another 0.4 miles until you get to what seems like the top, but is actually a false summit. There are great views of Otter Cove, Otter Cliffs, Baker Island and the Cranberry Islands. 

Follow the blue trail markers and cairns to the nearby actual summit, where you can see Sand Beach and Thunder Hole.

Insider Tips

There are restrooms at the trailhead.

When you’re ready, return the way you came or follow the trail north to Sand Beach.  Then it’s an easy walk back to the Gorham Mountain trailhead along the Ocean Path.  Or you can actually continue on to the Beehive if you like.

Highlights

  • Stunning views
  • Optional short tunnel hike/ rock scramble at Cadillac Cliffs

5. Penobscot Mountain Trail, Acadia National Park

Distance (round-trip): 3.7 miles/ 6km

Time: 2-3 hours

Rating: Strenuous

Elevation change: 973 feet/ 297 meters

Trailhead: Behind the Jordan Pond House. Follow the trail into the woods and look for a carved signpost.

If you’re an experienced hiker and looking for fairly strenuous day hikes, then this one’s for you.

This is a steep uphill/ downhill trail that’s ideal for experienced hikers with a sense of adventure and a good level of fitness.  The trail goes to the summit of Penobscot Mountain via the strenuous and challenging rungs and ladders cliff hikes along the Jordan Cliffs Trail.

Start walking along the west side of Jordan Pond in a clockwise direction on the Jordan Cliffs Trail.  The trail starts climbing steadily up the east side of Penobscot Mountain. There are some nice views of Jordan Pond below in this section. 

After about a mile, you’ll come to a narrow wooden staircase down a 10-foot drop. The next section is challenging, with some narrow and exposed and exposed sections, and an iron rung ladder up a steep outcropping. 

At the top of the ladder is the junction with the Penobscot East Trail which climbs up to the summit of Penobscot Mountain.  It’s steep, but this 0.1-mile stretch has wonderful views from the edge of the cliffs and there are stunning panoramic views from the summit.   

From the summit, turn right and take the Deer Brooke Trail down, crossing a carriage road, to the edge of Jordan Pond.

Turn left to hike the full Jordan Pond Loop or right to take a shorter route back to where you started. When you get back to Jordan Pond House, you will have earned some popovers!  

Insider Tips

This trail is usually closed between early March and mid-August for peregrine falcon nesting.  Check the NPS website for current trail closures.

This is a very strenuous, challenging hike with a lot of narrow ledges with steep drop offs and numerous steep sections with tricky footing and lots of scrambling and climbing up iron rungs on the side of exposed cliffs.   It is considerably more challenging than the Beehive and not suitable for you if you’re afraid of heights, are not fit, have young children, or are an inexperienced hiker.

There are several intersections on this trail, so I recommend having a good handheld GPS with you to keep on track.  Invest in a good quality handheld GPS for hiking (see reviews and recommendations here).  Or get my top Garmin GPS right here.

Highlights

  • Challenging, adventurous hikes
  • Great 360° Acadia views over Jordan Pond, the surrounding woods and mountains, as well as the Cranberry Isles, Great Duck Island and Little Duck Island.
  • Start/ end at Jordan Pond House (and popovers!)

6. Jordan Pond Loop Trail, Acadia National Park

Distance: 3.3 – mile loop trail

Time: 1 – 3 hours

Rating: Easy with a couple rocky areas

Elevation change: 42 feet

Trailhead: Jordan Pond House

Counter Clockwise

After 0.9 miles, you’ll come to a small wooden footbridge over a feeder stream. Continue alongside Jordan Pond, crossing another footbridge and passing a couple of side trails that go up to the summit of South Bubble.  

The path goes over a rock slide area before turning into an elevated wooden boardwalk.  The planks can be a bit wobbly in places, and it’s narrow, so you may need to wait for people coming from the opposite direction to pass.  There are a few platforms to allow for passing, but not that many.   The last 0.25 miles of the trail is a well-manicured gravel path.

Clockwise

After 0.25 miles, you’ll get to a narrow, raised boardwalk made of planks that can be a bit wobbly.  There are some places where you can pass others, but mostly it’s one way.  

After the boardwalk, the trail passes over a couple of rockfalls where the trail is uneven.  After the rockfalls, you’ll pass a trail that goes up to the summit of South Bubble. The rest of the trail is pretty easy.  You’ll pass yet another trail up to South Bubble and cross a couple of wooden footbridges.  Eventually, you’ll loop back to Jordan Pond House.  

Insider Tips

You can walk the Jordan Pond Path in either direction.  However, the west side of the Jordan Pond Loop is part rocky path and part wonky narrow wooden boardwalk (that can cause ‘traffic jams’), so it’s not as easy as the eastern side.  

So, if you don’t want to hike the full loop, walk counter clockwise until you get to a path of rocks that take you over the water.  There are great views there. 

If you want to try the full loop, I recommend going clockwise, because the first half (the west side of the pond) is harder and can get more crowded, so it’s best to do it first.  

Because the Jordan Pond Path has uneven footing, stepping stones, and a small bridge, the trail is not accessible. 

This is one of the most popular Acadia trails, so go early to beat the crowds. The section on the west side over a boardwalk can create a bottleneck later in the day.  You’ll also have a better chance of getting a parking space if you’re not taking the free Island Explorer shuttle).

Highlights

  • The beautiful Jordan Pond
  • Start/ end at Jordan Pond House (and popovers!)

7. South Bubble Trail, Acadia National Park

Distance: 1.5 miles from Jordan Pond Path.  A 4.2-mile loop (5 miles if you add in North Bubble) from Jordan Pond House.

Time: 60-90 minutes + Jordan Pond Path

Rating: Moderate

Elevation change: 492 feet

Trailhead: Jordan Pond House

The Bubbles hike Acadia is one of the best hiking trails Acadia National Park has. However, there are in fact several routes to the summit of South Bubble Mountain, Acadia.

Most of them start at Jordan Pond House and the first part of the (counter clockwise) Jordan Pond Path. 

Just after the small wooden footbridge at 0.9 miles, take the path to the right and follow the signs for the summit.  The section to the summit is just 0.3 miles, but it’s steep and rocky and involves some rock scrambling and a couple of iron rungs.  At the top of the rock scramble are stairs built into the path.   The rest of the trail to the summit is easier.  

At the summit are wonderful views over Jordan Pond.   

Then look for the marker towards Bubble Rock, which is located down a short spur trail.  Bubble Rock is a large boulder perched precariously on the edge of the mountain.  

To complete a loop, continue along the main trail.  An optional short side hike takes you to North Bubble (an extra 0.9 miles).

It’s just 0.2 miles from the North Bubble junction down to Jordan Pond, but it’s steep down another rockslide. 

Insider Tips

The description above is hiking the loop in a counterclockwise direction. You can do this loop in reverse. 

The Bubbles trail includes some semi-technical rock scrambling, you can take the Bubbles Divide trail to the summit instead.

Highlights:

  • Rock scramble
  • Bubble Rock
  • Sensational views of Jordan Pond and the surrounding mountains

8. Great Head Trail, Acadia National Park

Distance: 1.9 miles round trip, with an option to shorten it to 1.3 miles (which I recommend)

Time: Approx. 2 hours

Rating: Moderate

Elevation change: 301 feet

Trailhead: The far (northern) end of Sand Beach

This is one of the best hikes to do in Acadia National Park if you want to get away from the worst of the crowds and enjoy stunning ocean views.

The trail begins with a steep climb up pink granite steps and some rock scrambling.  

When you get to the top, there are some beautiful views of Sand Beach and The Beehive. 

Keep an eye out for the ruins of a 1915 tea house near the top of the granite steps. In the early 1900’s, the Satterlee family built a stone tower that included a tea room and an observatory. There’s also a plaque dedicated to David Phillips McKinney who died on that spot in 1969.

The trail levels out and continues around the edge of the headland with dramatic views of the coastline and ocean. At the easternmost part of the trail is the highpoint of Great Head, where the tall cliffs offer amazing views of the ocean below. 

The trail then turns away from the shore and descends through the forest.  

Insider Tips

At a cedar post that marks a junction in the trail, you can take a shorter loop (1.3 miles) back to Sand Beach or a longer loop (1.9 miles) along the rugged coastline before heading back to Sand Beach.

Highlights:

  • Stunning ocean views
  • Historic tea house

9. Ocean Path Trail, Acadia National Park

Distance: 4.4 miles out-and-back (2.2 miles one way). 0.7 miles from Sand Beach to Thunder Hole.

Time: 2-4 Hours

Rating: Easy 

Elevation change: 374 feet

Trailhead: Just past the restrooms at Sand Beach

The Ocean Path is an easy, mostly flat trail that runs along the coastline, providing stunning views of the ocean and Acadia’s pink granite rocks along the way. It’s one of Acadia National Park best hikes for ocean views. 

The trail is lined with beautiful pitch pine trees much of the way.  You’ll often see lobster boats in the area bringing up traps, or sailboats in the harbor.  There are several short side trails leading down to the shore that are worth exploring along the way.  

From Sand Beach to Thunder Hole, the trail is a mix of concrete and packed gravel sections as it rises gradually up a small hill.  There’s a panoramic view across the entire ocean path coastline from the top.  

It then descends gradually to Thunder Hole. Thunder Hole is an underwater sea cave that can produce thundering crashes two hours before high-tide and when there are high winds. 

After Thunder Hole, the trail becomes uneven but remains gradual as it begins climbing up through a spruce/fir forest.  You’ll soon come to Monument Cove, a small rocky beach with large cobblestones. 

The path, which becomes more uneven, soon arrives at Boulder Beach, a section of shoreline covered in smooth bowling ball-sized rocks.

Next up are Otter Cliffs.  The 110-foot granite cliffs are the highest point along the Ocean Path and are popular with climbers.

To continue, you’ll need to climb up a granite staircase to a walkway parallel to the road that crosses over the cliffs and then go down another staircase on the other side.

Past Otter Cliff, the trail starts heading west to Otter Point, a great spot for relaxing on the rocks and exploring tide pools. 

Continue for a couple hundred more feet to the trail end at Otter Cove, where there’s a small staircase and a stunning view across the Otter Cove causeway with Cadillac and Dorr Mountain in the background.

Insider Tips

The first section to Thunder Hole is accessible.

While you can return the way you came, you can also hail the next Island Explorer shuttle so you only have to hike one way.

Highlights:

  • Thunder Hole
  • Ocean views
  • Tide pools
  • Otter Cliffs

10. Ship Harbor Trail, Acadia National Park

Distance: 1.4-mile loop

Time: 30 – 60 minutes

Rating: Easy

Elevation change: 65 feet

Trailhead: Ship Harbor Trailhead.  Off Maine 102A down the road from Seawall Campground and Wonderland Trail

The Ship Harbor Trail is one of the most enjoyable easy hikes in Acadia and is suitable for the whole family.  It’s a figure eight loop through beautiful forest scenery to the shore where there are plenty of tide pools to explore.  

The trail follows an old gravel road and is mostly flat with minimal rocks or roots. After a short distance, there is a fork.  This is the start of a figure 8.  If you take the right fork (either direction is fine), the trail soon gets to the shore and follows it around a small inlet.

It loops through some woods then turns around back to the shore and follows this until returning back through some more woods to the original trail.  

Insider Tips

There is a small parking lot at the trailhead.  The trailhead is not serviced by the Island Explorer shuttle, so get there early to secure a parking spot.

The trail is a short distance from the Bass Harbor Head Light House, so you can visit there just before or after hiking this trail.

There are vault toilets at trailhead, but they are not wheelchair accessible.

Highlights:

  • Forest
  • Tide pools
  • Lovely cove

Map of Acadia National Park Hikes

Click on each icon to see the trail maps.


Travel Insurance for Acadia National Park

You should definitely have travel insurance whenever hiking Acadia National Park.  Good travel insurance will cover you for trip cancellation, theft or damage if your property when traveling, medical help if you have an accident while hiking the best trails in Acadia National Park or medical repatriation if you need to get medi-vaced out.

A great insurance option is Travelex.  It has coverage for all you’ll need. You can compare Travel Insurance plans here or get a quote right now:

728x90 Get Quote

Happy hiking!

Do you have any other favorite hikes in Acadia National Park? I’d love to hear them. Join my private Facebook group National Parks Collectors and comment and let me know.

If you are planning to visit Acadia National Park, make your planning easy and stress free with a detailed itinerary. I have 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-day itineraries for Acadia that include all the park highlights, give you choices based on your preferred activity level, and take all the stress out of planning your trip. 

Check out the four Acadia National Park itinerary options 

You might also like:

>> Acadia National Park Guide
>> Planning a Trip To Acadia National Park
>> The Best Time to Visit Acadia National Park
>> The Best Airports for Acadia National Park
>> How to Get To Acadia National Park
>> How Long to Spend in Acadia National Park
>> The Acadia Cadillac Mountain Reservation System
>> Acadia National Park Vacation Rentals
>> Acadia National Park Campgrounds
>> Best Things to Do in Acadia National Park
>> Fascinating (and Useful) Books About Acadia National Park

FREE DOWNLOAD
Subscribe to monthly updates with tips for planning, travel inspiration and trip ideas and get instant access to the free PDF of this
Guide to the Best Hikes in Acadia National Park

If you liked this post about the best hikes Acadia National Park has, please share the love and Pin it to your Acadia National Park and Hikes boards for later!

Four Photos: Ocean, island, mountains, trees, and a man climbing on the rock, with the text in the middle. "10 Hikes Not to Miss in Acadia."
WHERE ARE YOU IN YOUR PLANNING PROCESS?

Are you just starting to think about taking a national parks trip? Get Inspiration
Are you starting to plan a trip to Acadia National Park? Read my Guide to Acadia National Park and Get an Itinerary for Acadia National Park
Are you looking for a place to stay near Acadia National Park? Find a vacation rental near Acadia National Park or Find a place to stay in Bar Harbor
Are you ready to book your trip? Use these Planning and Booking Resources
Do you want to read a book about Acadia National Park? Check out my Recommended Reading List for Acadia National Park

About the Author

James Ian Yosemite

James Ian is a national park, camping and hiking expert.

He has dedicated his life to travel, visiting more than 80 countries, all 7 continents and most of the national parks in the United States. With over 35 years experience in the travel industry, James has worked on cruise ships, at resorts and hotels, and as a travel planner who’s helped hundreds of people plan successful trips to US national parks. 

Based on his experience visiting our national parks multiple times, in-depth research and expertise as a travel planner, James has published detailed itineraries for most of the major national parks in the US. These itineraries, as well as in-depth park guides, comprehensive camping and hiking gear reviews and buying guides, and helpful packing lists and gift guides will help you have your own incredible trip to US national parks without stress and hassle.

As a national park expert, James has contributed to many publications, including USA Today, Time Business News, Savoteur, Best Trip, and Wired.

Read more…


Parks Collecting is a participant in the Amazon.com Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.