·

Don’t Miss These 10 Easy Hikes In Acadia National Park

A wooden path littered with bright red leaves winding through the forest in Acadia National Park

The great thing about visiting Acadia National Park is that you can enjoy some of the most beautiful and iconic views from short and easy trails!

Nestled along Maine’s rocky coast overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, there is no shortage of trails in the park for people of all skill levels, ages, and abilities.

After multiple visits to Acadia and countless other National Parks, we are giving you the ultimate list of the easy hikes in Acadia National Park you will want to add to your trip itinerary!

These easy Acadia hikes allow you to enjoy some of the best views in the park, including Jordan Pond, the views from Cadillac Mountain, and where the ocean meets the coast along the scenic Park Loop Road.

Let’s dive in and get you hiking!

Acadia National Park Quick Facts

Location: The main portion of the park is located on Mount Desert Island near Bar Harbor Maine (this includes Cadillac Mountain). The park also extends onto Isle Au Haut, and part of the Schoodic Peninsula on Maine’s mainland

Yearly Visitors: 4 million visitors a year, top 10 of the most visited parks run by the National Park Service in the U.S.

Best Time to Visit: We recommend visiting in early June or early October (foliage time!) during the shoulder seasons for great weather and smaller crowds. Peak season in Acadia is June-September, and the offseason is November-April

What to Explore: 158 miles of hiking trails, 45 miles of historic carriage roads (great for biking), and the 27-mile scenic drive along Park Loop Road. The park covers about 49,000 acres of land or 76 square miles.

Entrance Fee: $35 for a 7-day vehicle pass. National Park Pass accepted (the best deal if you plan to visit more than 2 National Parks in a year)

A great place to start when you visit Acadia National Park is the Hulls Cove Visitor Center! Learn about the park, talk to a ranger, pick up a trail map, and plan your perfect itinerary.

The 10 Best Easy Hikes in Acadia National Park

Park Loop Road winds its way out to the Otter Cliffs in the distance at Acadia National Park

As avid hikers, we categorize easy hikes as the perfect trails for when you are looking for a simple stroll.

These can be trails that are short in distance, slightly longer trails that are mostly flat without much elevation gain, or paved trails that are highly accessible.

Easy trails are great for hiking with young children, older adults, or when you just need a break from more strenuous hikes!

Check out these amazing easy hikes in Acadia National Park:

1. Ocean Path

Stone blocks creating the Ocean Path along the Atlantic Ocean in Acadia National Park

Ocean Path is a perfect way to see a few of the picturesque stops and overlooks along Park Loop Road along one fairly mild hike! Starting at the shores of Sand Beach, wind your way along Park Loop Road, hitting infamous stops like Thunder Hole, Otter Cliffs, and Otter Point.

We loved hiking Ocean Path at sunrise as the trail was quiet and free from passing cars and crowds, and we had the opportunity to soak in the rocky cliffs in the orange glow of the early morning sun.

We also recommend trying to time this hike with high tide (it is best when ocean swells are larger, such as during storms), to give yourself the best chance to hear the thunderous clap that gives Thunder Hole its name!

Note that if you hike Ocean Path during peak hours in the park, there will be a lot of traffic passing by alongside you on Park Loop Road!

The rocky coastline of Acadia's Otter Cliffs along the Ocean Path in the orange glow of a morning sunrise
Otter Cliffs

Ocean Path Hike Details:

  • Distance: 4.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 374 feet
  • Duration: 1 hour

2. Cadillac Summit Loop

Atop the highest point in the park, the Cadillac Summit Loop is a short and easy Acadia National Park hike that packs a big punch!

Up on the top of Cadillac Mountain, you get stunning views all around, with panoramic vistas overlooking the park and out onto the Atlantic Ocean.

In order to access this easy hike, you will need to drive up to the Cadillac Mountain summit.

Female hiker and dog enjoying expansive panoramic views from Cadillac Mountain's summit in Acadia National Park in Maine

For 2024, reservations are required between May 22-October 27 to drive your vehicle to the Cadillac Mountain Summit.

Reservations must be made online and are in addition to the fee to enter the park.

The NPS website states that vehicle reservations are sold on a rolling basis:

  • Thirty percent of vehicle reservations are made available 90 days ahead of each date
  • The remaining 70 percent are released at 10 am ET two days ahead.

During our visit, we fell into the category of needing to snag a reservation 2 days prior.

It took us two tries, but ultimately we were successful!

Here is everything you need to know to secure your Cadillac Mountain reservation:

Cadillac Mountain Sunrise Reservation

  • Vehicle reservations for sunrise are only allowed once per vehicle every 7 days.
  • You can enter up to 90 minutes after your reservation time
  • Cost: $6.00 per vehicle, not refundable within 48 hours of reserved time

For Cadillac Mountain sunrise, a good goal is to arrive at the summit at least 30 minutes in advance of sunrise time. If you want to enjoy some of the darkness and stars, you might consider getting there even earlier. This is a great start to the day and you can enjoy the Cadillac Summit loop in those first hours of daylight!

Cadillac Mountain Daytime Reservations

  • One reservation allowed per vehicle per day
  • 30-minute reservation window
  • Cost: $6.00 per vehicle, not refundable within 48 hours of reserved time

Daytime reservations are a great option if you want to drive up to Cadillac Mountain’s summit as a stop along your scenic drive along Park Loop Road. The panoramic views are beautiful, from the floating islands to the views of Bar Harbor and the sparkling ocean that stretches as far as the eye can see.

Cadillac Summit Loop Hike Details:

  • Distance: 0.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 55 feet
  • Duration: 10-15 minutes

3. South Bubble Trail

As you are driving past Jordan Pond on Park Loop Road and heading back toward Bar Harbor, look up to the left and you will see Bubble Rock, a large boulder that seems to be teeter-tottering and clingy on for dear life at the edge of a cliff.

To get a better look, you can hike up South Bubble Trail and see this glacier-placed boulder that has been perched with epic views of Acadia.

This is an especially great spot to take in the colorful foliage that takes over the park each fall!

Male hiker pretending to push Bubble Rock over the cliff in Acadia National Park

South Bubble Trail Details:

  • Distance: 1.2 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 301 feet
  • Duration: 30 mins – 1 hour
View overlooking Jordan Pond at Bubbles Trail Summit in Acadia National Park

4. Jordan Pond West Side Trail & Jordan Pond Path

If you are looking for a beautiful walk along a tranquil lake after eating a few warm popovers at the Jordan Pond House, you won’t want to miss this one.

The Jordan Pond West Side Trail starts at Jordan Pond House which has a fair amount of parking (although it is also one of the busiest spots in the park as it is a starting point for several trails).

Blue waters of Jordan Pond lead up to the white house of Jordan Pond House sitting on a hill in the opening between thick forests of green trees in Acadia National Park

The trail is flat and traverses many fun “boardwalks” (made of trees) as you work your way to the northern point of Jordan Pond.

We loved hiking along the serene Jordan Pond and specifically chose the West Side Trail as we were able to continue on for a larger hike up to Penobscot Mountain around the halfway point of Jordan Lake.

Female hiker walking along the wooden boardwalk along Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park

Jordan Pond West Side Trail Details:

  • Distance: 3.3 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 49 feet
  • Duration: 1 hour

You can also hike a complete loop all the way around Jordan Pond via the Jordan Pond Path trail, which is the same mileage as hiking up the west side trail and back.

5. Ship Harbor Trail

Ship Harbor Trail is a great stop after visiting Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse down in Southwest Harbor.

A parking area right off Route 102A marks a quiet trail that leads you through the shade of towering trees before opening up to a pristine blue harbor.

This is a flat trail that offers great views of the clear water in the shallow harbor and lots of rocks to admire. We found the trail empty on an early morning, but you may find it busier if you hike it later in the day due to its proximity to the lighthouse.

View from Ship Harbor Trail in Acadia National Park

Ship Harbor Trail Details:

  • Distance: 1.4 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 65 feet
  • Duration: 30 minutes

6. Bar Island Trail

Have you ever wondered what walking along the ocean floor would be like?

For 1.5 hours before and after low tide you can do just that right from downtown Bar Harbor.

Downtown Bar Harbor seen from within the trees on Bar Island

During this timeframe around low tide, a sand bar is exposed connecting the town of Bar Harbor to Bar Island. Explore what is uncovered by what the water leaves behind, explore the wooded island, and soak in spectacular views of Bar Harbor and Frenchman Bay.

On our trip out to Bar Island, we also enjoyed a deer sighting and exploring the remnants of an old home sight that once inhabited the island.

Exposed path to Bar Island during low tide in Bar Harbor Maine

Bar Island Trail Details:

  • Distance: 2.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 216 feet
  • Duration: 1 hour

Directions: Head down Bridge Street (you will see the Bar Harbor Club on the corner) and follow the path over to Bar Island!

Be sure to check the tide charts so that you do not get stranded over on Bar Island!

7. Jesup Path

Jesup Path is one of our top recommendations for an easy trail in Acadia National Park.

It is particularly gorgeous and colorful in the fall season, but also comes to life with wildlife in the spring and summer.

If you start this trail from the Sieur de Monts entrance and parking area (which we recommend), you will pass Sieur de Monts Nature Center, Sieur de Monts Spring, and the Wild Gardens of Acadia before starting on the boardwalk trail through Acadia’s wild and beautiful nature.

Jesup Path Trail Details:

  • Distance: 2.2 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 78 feet
  • Duration: 45 minutes – 1 hour

8. Bass Harbor Lighthouse

A short trail that is more about the scenery and photography than the hiking experience.

Built in 1858, Bass Harbor Light is an iconic lighthouse and a classic staple of Maine’s coastal landscape. Located on the southwest corner of Mount Desert Island in Tremont, this historic light is one of three under the management of Acadia National Park. 

With beautiful postcard-worthy views comes high traffic. As one of the most visited places on the western side of the island, expect long lines while waiting to enter a small parking lot that is full most of the day.

As is true of most places you might visit in Acadia, plan to arrive early or late to avoid long traffic lines waiting for a parking spot and large crowds on this short trail.

Bass Harbor lighthouse sitting along the rocky coast of Maine

Bass Harbor Trail Details:

  • Distance: 0.4 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 62 feet
  • Duration: 10-15 minutes

9. Frazer Point via Frazer Creek Bike Path

This is the perfect easy trail in Acadia National Park to do if you are camping at the beautiful Schoodic Woods Campground.

Starting right from the campground, you can meander through the trees down a wide trail leading you over a bridge with water rushing below and across the street to Frazer Point.

The stone lined street of Schoodic Loop road winding through green trees and past an ocean inlet

On this quiet side of the park, this is the perfect spot for a picnic or a relaxing few hours by the water just enjoying the views.

Frazer Point via Frazer Creek Bike Path Hike Details:

  • Distance: 2.0 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 183 feet
  • Duration: 45 minutes
A woman and her dog sitting on rocks overlooking the ocean after an easy hike to Frazer Point in Acadia National Park

10. The Carriage Roads

Acadia National Park’s Carriage Roads are a winding network of 45 miles of broken stone roads. Developed as a motor-free way to move through Mount Desert Island, these were gifted to Acadia National Park by John D. Rockefeller.

Here, hikers, bikers, and riders on horseback converge among beautiful views of the park and amidst waterfalls, crystal clear streams, and historic stone-faced bridges.

Set up in connecting loops with an easy-to-follow numbered system, there is plenty to explore and many paths that take you along some of Acadia’s best attractions.

View the entire map of the Carriage Roads here!

While this is a great place to walk and hike, we also loved biking in the shade of the tree-lined carriage roads.

Honorable Mention

The last easy hike in Acadia National Park you should consider is a peaceful stroll along Little Long Pond.

Technically just outside the park boundary on the south side of Mount Desert Island (15 minutes from Bar Harbor), the trail here does connect to the Carriage Roads, should you want to venture out a bit further into the park!

Little Long Pond

Calm waters of Little Long Pond in Acadia National Park with mountain views in the distant

In addition, Little Long Pond has an off-leash area that is a great place to bring your dog for a romp in the grass or a hike where they can be off-leash, and perhaps even a dip in the water.

This was one of our favorite finds near Acadia National Park and one of Azalea’s favorite stops as well!

Official Little Long Pond Loop:

  • Distance: 2.2 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 177 feet
  • Duration: 50 minutes

This is a suggested loop, but you can wander around this area away from the set trail as well!

With all of these great easy hikes in Acadia National Park at your fingertips, you are guaranteed to fall in love with this amazing park. The best way to experience all that makes Acadia National Park so special is out on the trails!

PLAN YOUR TRIP TO ACADIA NATIONAL PARK

Places to stay near Acadia National Park:

Acadia National Park Campgrounds:

Other Bar Harbor Area Accommodations:

Private Campground:

If you are looking for the perfect one-stop shop for comparing RV parks and glamping options and prices with instant booking, we highly recommend Campspot.

Our other favorite resources for finding great campgrounds and campsites and reading reviews include CampendiumRV Life (which we also use for trip planning and as an RV safe GPS), and iOverlander.

RV Rentals: If you are looking to get closer to nature but don’t have an RV, consider renting one through RV Share. We used this service when renting out our Casita and found them to be high quality and easy to use!

Another great option is glamping or nature-centric stays. Here are some great options near Acadia National Park:

You can explore all Bar Harbor area accommodations and compare prices on Booking.com, which is a great resource for unique stays at the best rates.

Another great way to experience the magic of Acadia is with a guided tour:

Looking for other Acadia National Park Resources as you plan your trip? Check out our other guides!

Or get some inspiration to visit these other amazing East Coast National Parks or check out these 16 National Park sites in the southeast!

Some of the links on Fulfilling Travel are affiliate links. We may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you if you make a purchase, contributing to the site's upkeep while ensuring our travel recommendations remain freely accessible. Read our disclosure policy to learn more.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *