Cadillac Mountain – Acadia National Park, Maine

cadillac21

Cadillac Mountain via the South Ridge Trail, Dorr North Ridge Trail, and Schiff Path – Acadia National Park – Bar Harbor, Maine
Distance: Roughly 6.5 to 7 miles
Type: 1 way (shuttle buses at each end)
Difficulty: 7 of 10.
Total score: 10 of 10.

Terrain – a mountain.  Actually, a few mountains.

Trailheads –  Blackwoods Campground – 44° 18.330’N,  68° 12.436’W

Directions – State Route 3 – Bar Harbor, ME.  I strongly recommend the shuttle bus.

Parking – if you aren’t camping at Blackwoods, take the shuttle bus to the campground, then hoof it to the trailhead (not very far)

Standouts – stunning views. Get up early and see the sun touch North America at it’s very first spot.

Markings – wooden signs and cairns.

Description: Summer is here, so I’ll have one last reminisce about last summer’s trip to Maine before I start pining for this August’s trip to Shenandoah, The Smokies, and Mammoth Cave. Of course, I saved the best for last, one of the greatest hikes I have ever been on – Cadillac Mountain.  I didn’t get to do this one in it’s entirety again last summer, but I’ve included the full hike I did back in 2008.

Start by catching the shuttle bus to Blackwoods Campground (unless you are staying there already). We left our cars at the Visitor’s Center, went into Bar Harbor, then were dropped off at Blackwoods – all free with your entrance fee.

The South Ridge Trail starts at the back of the campground. Get hiking! In about 3/4 of a mile, you’ll hit the park loop/Rt 3.

Head for the back of the campground.

Head for the back of the campground.

Just follow the signs.

Just follow the signs.

Crossing Rt 3.

Crossing Rt 3.

From here, it’s a 1 mile climb to Eagle’s Crag, the first highlight on your hike.  Climb, climb, climb through the woodlands, being careful of the rocks.  We didn’t get much of a view at Eagle’s Crag due to fog, but you might.  From here, it’s another 2 1/2 miles to the summit.  You’ll be above the treeline soon, and that’s when the fun will really start.  The fog began to clear and we had stunning views of Mt. Desert Island all around us.  Instead of describing them, I’ll post about twenty pictures.

Official Acadia signs.

Official Acadia signs.

Starting out.

Starting out.

Where eagles can't see particularly well.

Where eagles can’t see particularly well.

Trail marker.

Trail marker.

Side trail to view point.

Follow the blazes.

Fog begins to lift.

Fog begins to lift.

Trees give way.

Trees give way.

And views start to emerge.

And views start to emerge.

cadillac14
cadillac16
cadillac17

1.2 miles to the summit.

1.2 miles to the summit.

cadillac19

More up.

More up.

cadillac22
cadillac23

Getting very close.

Getting very close.

As the hike gets more fun.

As the hike gets more fun.

cadillac26

Almost there!

Almost there!

This will sound weird, but the summit is almost anti-climatic.  Why?  Because there’s a road that heads for it, and a huge parking lot, and a billion cars.  You’ve had views mostly to yourself all the way up (we didn’t see anyone outside of our group), now you are surrounded by tourists.  Still, enjoy the views, you’ve earned them! (Disclosure: when I went back in 2013, we drove to the top four or five times.  The views are just that good.)

From the top - fog still lifting from the Porcupine Islands.  The next night, the Troop kayaked around those islands.  At night.  With the water glowing from weird bacteria things.  And the sky on fire with stars and raining meteors.  Why aren't you in Acadia right now?

From the top – fog still lifting from the Porcupine Islands. The next night, the Troop kayaked around those islands. At night. With the water glowing from weird bacteria things. And the sky on fire with stars and raining meteors. Why aren’t you in Acadia right now?

I've gotten decent over the years at cutting people from shots.

I’ve gotten decent over the years at cutting people from shots.

But I assure you, there are a lot of them.

But I assure you, there are a lot of them.

After refilling out water bottles from one of the troop leaders who drove up the mountain, it was time to go crashing down the other side.  We took the Dorr North Ridge Trail down for just over half a mile, stopping at the next major junction.

What goes up, must go down.

What goes up, must go down.

And down much faster.

And down much faster.

cadillac34
cadillac35
cadillac37
cadillac38
cadillac39
cadillac40

Junction.

Junction.

Our plan here had been to continue onward to the loop road.  But then our head scout who had planned the trip decided it would be much more fun to go up and over another mountain.  And so we did, taking the Schiff Path out to Sieur de Mont Springs and the nature center.  This last 1.5 miles was just as awesome as the rest, with some great rock walls and awesome views.

cadillac42
cadillac43
cadillac44
cadillac45
cadillac46
cadillac47

I didn't want this hike to end.

I didn’t want this hike to end.

Almost there.

Almost there.

Steps near the end.

Steps near the end.

Sadly, all amazing things must come to an end.  We caught the bus back to our cars, soaking in what we had seen (the adults) or laughing like banshees (the Scouts).

Overall recommendation: One of the best hikes I have ever, ever, ever been on.  Worth the 10 hour drive to Maine just for this hike.

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Hiking, national parks, Outdoors.

3 responses to “Cadillac Mountain – Acadia National Park, Maine

  1. Pingback: Acadia National Park – 2013 | South Jersey Trails

  2. Thanks as always! Doing this in September when we visit Acadia for 6 days.
    Funny- We camped at Mullica River 2 days after you, last weekend! Hiked in from Batsto, it was great- even in through the storm.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s