The Mountains Are Calling

Acadia National Park contains more than 120 miles of historic hiking trails, many of which were established by local village improvement societies beginning in the early 1890s. In 1915, in fact, there were over 200 miles of trails on Mount Desert Island, but as the Car Wars ended on the island, people turned instead to building roads.
The earliest planned trails in what is now Acadia included memorial paths, sponsored by individuals who then could dedicate them to anyone. Innovative trailblazers on the island have included Waldron Bates of the Bar Harbor Village Improvement Association, first to incorporate iron rungs, ladders, and stone staircases into his routes; Rudolph Brünnow of High Seas, who figured out how to get up the Precipice; and George B. Dorr, Acadia’s first superintendent, who planned a number of routes from Sieur de Monts Spring to the summit of what is now called Dorr Mountain.
Because of the park’s relatively small size, the average one-way hike is only about a mile. Trails constantly intersect, though, and a longer hike easily can be designed to cover a variety of environments across several mountain summits, and then return by a different route to the starting point.
Trail Rating System: Acadia National Park rates each of its trails from E (easy; mostly level ground), M (moderate; gradual inclines with uneven footing), and S (strenuous; steep, rocky inclines), to L (look out! I mean, ladder; strenuous, with iron rungs or ladders added so you can cross narrow ledges or cliff faces).
A trail’s length, of course, is no indication of its difficulty. The 0.5-mile stroll across to Bar Island (E) is much different than the 0.6-mile Ladder Trail (L) up the east face of Dorr Mountain. And the 3.2-mile hike around Jordan Pond (M), one of the longest in the park, takes much less effort than the 3.5-mile climb up the South Ridge of Cadillac Mountain (S).

An extensive trail guide by Visit Acadia is now underway and will be live within the next few months. In the meantime, we invite you to utilize the trail guide sponsored by Maine Trail Finder below. And we encourage you to support their efforts, if you utilize their guide, by making a donation to this free, online resource.

Hiking in Acadia National Park