Sunset in Acadia National Park near Monument Cove, Maine, Photo by Diana Robinson

11 Best Day Hikes in Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park Overview

Below are the 11 best day hikes in Acadia National Park! Acadia is made up of 3 regions: Mount Desert Island (MDI), Schoodic Peninsula, and Isle au Haut. All of my favorite trails are located on MDI but the other 2 regions are worth the visit as well. Isle au Haut is the only region that cannot be accessed by your vehicle, you’ll have to take the Mail Boat from Stonington. It is recommended to go late August to early October as the fall foliage makes the park come alive! 

Nearest Metro AreaBangor, ME
Area Size49,075 acres
EstablishedJuly 8, 1916
Hiking Trails125 miles

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Trailhead Traveler’s Recommended Hikes in Acadia National Park

1. Acadia Mountain Loop 

Great views of Somes Sound as you hike the namesake of the park makes this easily one of the best hikes in Acadia National Park. Continue on the St. Sauveur Mountain to make the loop a little longer and see a little more! The trailhead is located off Route 102 to the east side of Echo Lake.

  • 3.8 miles – Loop
  • 900′ gain
  • Strenuous
Somes Sound from Acadia Mountain
Somes Sound from Acadia Mountain, Photo by David Goehring

2. Cadillac Mountain South Ridge Trail 

You can also ascend Cadillac Mountain, one of the highlights of Acadia, from the North Ridge Trail. However, the South Ridge is my suggested way to go. The summit is a popular spot to watch the sunrise and will be crowded. The trailhead is located off Route 3 near the Blackwoods Campground.

  • 7.4 miles – Out and back
  • 1700′ gain
  • Strenuous
Images of Acadia.  View from Cadillac Mountain, looking south, morning.  Acadia National Park, Mount Desert Island, Maine.
View from Cadillac Mountain, Photo by Peter Rintels

3. Beehive Loop 

Utilizing iron rungs and ladders to get up the steep cliff this trail offers great views of the coast – take the Bowl Trail back once you make it to the top to make the loop. The trailhead is located 100 feet north of the Sand Beach Parking Area.

  • 1.6 miles – Loop
  • 400′ gain
  • Moderate
Beehive Trail, Acadia Nat'l Parl
Beehive Trail, Photo by daveynin

4. Precipice Loop 

Another popular Acadia hike that features iron rungs and ladders. This isn’t a trail for those scared of heights as you have to inch your way along the narrow precipice. The trail is usually close mid-March to mid-August to protect nesting peregrine falcons. Once you’re at the top take the Orange and Back Path back to the parking area as going back the way you came would only get in the way of others working their way to the top. The trailhead is located in the Precipice Parking Area off of Ocean Drive.

  • 2.3 miles – Loop
  • 1000′ gain
  • Strenuous
Photo by Fredlyfish4, distributed under a CC-BY-SA-4.0 license

5. Dorr Mountain Ladder Trail 

The ascent of Dorr Mountain is aided by 2 sets of steel ladders and several granite steps. Fantastic views from the top of Dorr Mountain. The trailhead is located at Sieur de Monts Spring behind the Spring House.

  • 3.3 miles – Loop
  • 1100′ gain
  • Strenuous
Acadia from Dorr Mountain 3
Acadia from Dorr Mountain, Photo by Wayne Hsieh

6. Penobscot Mountain Loop

Before or after you take the Jordan Pond Path, you should hike this loop. The summit of Penobscot Mountain offers some of the best panoramic views in the park. The trailhead is located on the west side of the Jordan Pond House.

  • 5.2 miles – Loop
  • 1000′ gain
  • Strenuous
Photo by Sbork, distributed under a CC-BY-SA-3.0 license

7. Bubble Rock Trail 

This trail splits the North and South Bubble Mountains taking you to South Bubble where the 14 ton Bubble Rock sits at the edge. Makes for a great photo. The trailhead is located near a parking lot off Park Loop Road.

  • 1.1 miles – Out and back
  • 300′ gain
  • Easy
Bubble Rock - Acadia National Park
Bubble Rock – Photo by Lee Coursey

8. Beech Mountain Loop 

This short loop offers some great views without too much uphill hiking. You’ll pass by the Beech Mountain Fire Tower along the way. The trailhead is located near the parking area at the end of Beech Hill Road.

  • 1.1 miles – Loop
  • 300′ gain
  • Moderate
View of Beech Mtn Firetower
View of Beech Mtn Firetower, Photo by daveynin

9. Jordan Pond Path 

Easy and fun loop that runs along the edge of Jordan Pond. The trailhead is located near the popular Jordan Pond House.

  • 3.2 miles – Loop
  • No elevation
  • Easy
Photo by Navya Sriramaneni, distributed under a CC-BY-SA-4.0 license

10. Ocean Path 

This leisurely trail takes you past Sand Beach to Thunder Hole to the Otter Cliff. Here you’ll likely see rock climbers making there way up the cliff as waves crash below. The trailhead is located next to Sand Beach near the Beehive trail .

  • 4.2 miles – Out and back
  • 200′ gain
  • Easy
Ocean Path Trail window
Ocean Path Trail window, Photo by Angi English

11. Bar Island Trail

This trail can only be accessed at low tide and makes for one of the more unique trails in the country. The trail is actually a sandbar that is only exposed for 3 hours – you’ll have to get back from Bar Island before the tide returns. The trailhead is located at the end of Bridge Street in Bar Harbor.

  • 1.5 miles – Out and back
  • 100′ gain
  • Easy
bar island, acadia national park
Bar Island, Photo by Patti

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Featured Image: Sunset in Acadia National Park near Monument Cove, Maine. Photo by Diana Robinson

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