Acadia National Park and the surrounding area isn’t a known climbing mecca which makes it a crowd-free climbing zone full of undiscovered gems. Climbing in Acadia National Park offers a variety of fine climbs on small cliffs created during the last continental glaciation. Most of these cliffs are composed of solid coarse-grained pink granite.
The longest routes are three pitches, found at South Bubble and the South Wall of Champlain Mountain. Otter Cliffs and Great Head provide a spectacular setting for sea cliff climbing not commonly available elsewhere in the United States. Good bouldering can be found along the ocean between Sand Beach and Otter Cliffs, and near Blackwoods Campground.
Climbing instruction, guiding, and equipment are available locally.
Climbers assume responsibility for personal safety. On some routes local climbers maintain fixed protection or rappel stations. As always, evaluate them before using. At Otter Cliffs, the park maintains fixed anchors on top that must be used instead of trees to belay several climbs. Evaluate these anchors as well, and notify the park immediately of safety concerns. Climbers at Great Head and Otter Cliffs should know tides and weather forecasts; climbing at these areas is more difficult and dangerous at high tide or in heavy seas. Climb within your limits. Emergency phone: 207-288-8791 or 911.
New route development is defined as installing fixed protection (including piton use) or cleaning routes (route cleaning is the systematic and comprehensive removal of soils and vegetation from climbing routes). It is permitted only with the prior approval of the superintendent and only at the Precipice Wall, South Wall of Champlain, Jordan Cliffs, Beech Cliffs, Canada Cliffs, Great Head, Dorr Mountain (pinnacle), Enoch Mountain (upper area), and Mansell Mountain. The climbing advisory group reviews new route development proposals and makes recommendations to the superintendent. If approved, climbers will be issued a permit that covers fixed protection, route cleaning, and the use of a power drill. The advisory group also reviews proposals for the replacement or removal of fixed protection. New routes without fixed protection or route cleaning may be established freely. Effects of these new routes should be similar to those of a cross country hiker: no blazing or clearing of a trail, and largely incidental (not deliberate) effects from passing through. Removal of soils or vegetation from these new routes should be minimal.
A maximum size of 12 persons, including guides, applies throughout the park to all organized climbing groups. Groups of friends are not considered organized groups. Groups must make reservations for Otter Cliffs from Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day. Two groups per day may reserve Otter Cliffs. Organized groups of five persons or less do not need reservations. Group leaders should approach other climbers about sharing routes. For more information, visit the Acadia group climbing information page or call 207-288-8791.
Dogs are prohibited at climbing areas to the extent that they may not be tethered or allowed to run loose while their owner is climbing. Dogs must be leashed and attended at all times. Dogs can harass wildlife, disturb other visitors, damage vegetation, and accelerate erosion by digging.
Avoid using trees for belays to prevent continued soil erosion, especially at Otter Cliffs. Use established access trails and walk on solid rock to reduce impacts to soils and vegetation. In May and June, black guillemots nest at Otter Cliffs. Check for them and consider using other routes. Social trails are proliferating on top of Otter Cliffs because climbers are using vegetated areas as toilets. Use the portajohn in the parking lot or urinate in the intertidal area.