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.
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)
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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).
Stunning views. Get up early and see the sun touch North America at it's very first spot.
Parking is awful. Lots of crowds if you arrive at the top midday.