Best Hike in Acadia National Park: Guide for the Top 5

Located along the rugged Atlantic coastline, Acadia offers many spectacular hikes across much of the park’s breathtaking landscapes. I will review the top five in this article. However, one stands out as the crown jewel – the best hike in Acadia National Park

These trails are filled with panoramic vistas, serene lakes, and stunning coastal views. Whether you seek an adrenaline-pumping ascent, a peaceful lakeside stroll, or a blend of diverse terrains, Acadia’s top five hikes promise an unforgettable experience.

1. Beehive Loop Trail

Fall colors along the Beehive Loop Trail in Acadia National Park
Fall colors along the Beehive Loop Trail in Acadia National Park.
  • Distance: 1.4 miles round trip
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Type: Loop
  • Ascent: 520 feet
  • Time: 2-3 hours
  • Highlights: Exhilarating heights and fabulous views, which include navigating iron rungs and narrow ledges.

Rated as the #1 hike in Acadia according to a 4.8 review rating by AllTrails, the Beehive Loop Trail features steep sections that require the use of iron rungs and narrow ledges to navigate. This unique feature adds an exciting element of climbing and scrambling to the hike, making it a favorite among thrill-seekers.

Safety is essential when tackling the Beehive Loop Trail, as it involves exposure to heights and requires surefootedness and a head for heights. It is important to exercise caution and follow the trail markers and safety guidelines provided.

Having said that, despite its challenging nature, the Beehive Loop Trail is relatively short, with a round trip distance of approximately 1.4 miles. However, the trek can take time due to steep sections, so allow yourself 2-3 hours to complete the hike comfortably.

2. Jordan Pond Path

clear waters of Jordan Pond on a warm summer day
The calm, clear waters of Jordan Pond on a warm summer day.
  • Distance: 3.5 miles round trip
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Type: Loop
  • Elevation Ascent: Minimal elevation gain; relatively flat
  • Time: 2-3 hours
  • Highlights: Impressive views of Jordan Pond and the surrounding mountains. Opportunity to spot wildlife along the way and enjoy refreshments at the historic Jordan Pond House.

As you travel the Jordan Pond Path, you’ll find yourself in a beautiful environment of pristine mountains and lakes. This well-maintained trail is relatively flat, making it very accessible regardless of your skill level.

Throughout the hike, you’ll take in striking views of the crystal-clear waters of Jordan Pond as the mountains reflect on the water. 

While walking along the trail, watch for the diverse wildlife that call this area home. You may spot various bird species, amphibians, or even a curious fox or deer.

A highlight of the hike is the historic Jordan Pond House, a charming restaurant and gift shop near the trailhead. It’s a great spot to take a break, enjoy a delicious meal or refreshment, and view the pond and mountains from the outdoor seating area.

3. Gorham Mountain Loop

view of the rugged shoreline and surrounding forests along the Gorham Mountain Loop Trail in acadia np
The view of the rugged shoreline and surrounding forests along the Gorham Mountain Loop Trail.
  • Distance: 3.3 miles round trip
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Type: Loop
  • Elevation Ascent: 525 feet
  • Time: 2-3 hours
  • Highlights: Lush forests, granite slopes, and scenic coastal vistas. Sensational views at the summit. 

This approximately 3.3-mile loop comprises a range of natural scenery and incredible viewpoints.

When you start the Gorham Mountain Loop, you’ll pass through lush forests as the trail gradually ascends the granite slopes. 

The hike is a perfect balance of challenge and accessibility, allowing you to enjoy the beauty of Acadia’s landscapes without overly strenuous sections.

One of the best parts of the loop is reaching the top of Gorham Mountain itself. The summit provides excellent views of Acadia’s extraordinary coastal and inland scenery. 

Continuing along the loop, you’ll explore the jagged coastline of Acadia National Park. The trail leads you to scenic overlooks, where the crashing waves, craggy shores, and distant islands create a beautiful coastal backdrop. 

4. Cadillac North Ridge Trail

The stunning 360° views of the mountains, forests, and ocean from the top of Cadillac Mountain. Tallest peak in acadia national park and on the east coast
The stunning 360° views of the mountains, forests, and ocean from the top of Cadillac Mountain.
  • Distance: 4.4 miles round trip
  • Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous
  • Type: Out-and-back
  • Elevation Ascent: 1,325 feet.
  • Time: 3-4 hours
  • Highlights: Beautiful views of the surrounding landscape, including the Atlantic Ocean, nearby mountains, and the picturesque coastline. The ultimate reward is reaching the summit of Cadillac Mountain, the tallest peak on the East Coast. It’s the perfect spot to witness awe-inspiring sunrises and sunsets. 

Starting from the trailhead, the Cadillac North Ridge Trail immediately begins a steady climb, gradually gaining elevation as you make your way up the ridge. The trail takes you through various terrains, including forested sections with moss-covered trees and exposed rocky areas that provide remarkable views of the surrounding landscape.

The summit of Cadillac Mountain has unparalleled vistas of the Atlantic Ocean, nearby mountains, and the picturesque coastline of Mount Desert Island. Again, this area is renowned for its awe-inspiring sunrise and sunset views, which paint the sky with vibrant colors.

Allow yourself around 3-4 hours to complete the hike. Be prepared for a moderate to strenuous trip with a total elevation gain of about 1,325 feet. 

5. Ocean Path Trail

beautiful rocky shoreline on the Ocean Path Trail
The beautiful rocky shoreline seen on the Ocean Path Trail.
  • Distance: 2.2 miles one way
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Type: Out-and-back
  • Elevation Ascent: Minimal elevation changes; mostly flat.
  • Time: 1-2 hours each way
  • Highlights: Dramatic coastal views, picturesque rock-strewn shores, crashing waves, and phenomenal ocean vistas. Great opportunities for photography and relaxation. Iconic landmarks like Thunder Hole and tranquil sandy beaches. Wildlife sightings, such as seabirds and seals, are also common, adding to the appeal of this scenic trail.

The Ocean Path Trail is a picturesque route that winds along the beautiful coastline of Acadia National Park. Stretching approximately 2.2 miles one way, this easy, out-and-back trail is a top choice for visitors seeking lovely ocean views.

The trail meanders along the shoreline, where you’ll find stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. The granite cliffs, sandy beaches, and evergreen forests also add to the beauty of this hike. 

Along the way, you’ll encounter popular spots such as Thunder Hole, where the crashing waves create a thunderous roar and spectacular splashes. 

Wildlife sightings are common along this trail, with seabirds soaring overhead and seals often spotted basking on the rocks. 

This hike is known for its accessibility and easiness, making it suitable for all ages and skill levels. The hike remains mostly flat and has very minimal elevation changes. 

Final Thoughts

The remarkable collection of hiking trails in Acadia showcases the region’s diverse beauty. From the exhilarating ascent of the Beehive Loop Trail (I believe the best hike in Acadia National Park) to the serene lakeside stroll of the Jordan Pond Path, each trail has its own unique charm and focal points. 

The Gorham Mountain Loop combines woodlands and coastal vistas, while the challenging Cadillac North Ridge Trail provides unmatched mountain views. The Ocean Path Trail offers a peaceful coastal experience, complete with crashing waves and rocky shores. 

Whether seeking adventure, tranquility, or magnificent views, these five best hiking trails in Acadia National Park deliver an unforgettable experience. Which one of these spectacular hikes are you most excited to take? 

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What is the best forest hike in Acadia? 

The best forest hike is the Jordan Pond Path.

What is the best trail map for Acadia National Park?

The official park map provided by the National Park Service is a great resource.

What are the hardest hikes in Acadia Maine?

The most challenging hikes are the Precipice Trail and the Knife Edge Trail on Mount Katahdin.

What is the most difficult hike in Acadia National Park? 

The Precipice Trail is considered the most difficult hike in the park.

What are the best cliffs in Acadia National Park? 

The best cliffs are found along the rugged coastline, with highlights including those along the Precipice Trail and the cliffs near Thunder Hole.

How hard is North Bubble Trail in Acadia? 

The North Bubble Trail is considered to be of moderate difficulty.

What is the easiest mountain to climb in Acadia National Park?

Cadillac Mountain.

What is the easiest trail in Acadia National Park?

The Jordan Pond Path would be considered the easiest hike. 

What is the best time of year to hike Acadia National Park?

During the summer and early fall months. 

What is the difference between the Precipice Trail and the Beehive Trail in Acadia?

The Precipice Trail is more challenging and exposed, featuring iron rungs and steep cliffs, while the Beehive Trail is slightly less difficult but still involves climbing iron rungs and narrow ledges. 

About Me

My husband and I have three precious daughters and live in the Kansas City, KS area. One of our favorite things to do is travel across the country visiting our extraordinary US National Parks!

Let us know what you think about our content and if you have any questions, suggestions, or have any favorite memories or tips you would like to share. We would love to hear from you!

Happy Travels! Sandy

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