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3 Acadia National Park Hiking Trails You Can’t Miss

Acadia National Park is a friggin’ wonderland.

A jaw-dropping, mind-blowing, adrenaline-pumping, soul-feeding wonderland.

From the top of the Precipice Trail, you can get the view of a lifetime out over the park and even the town of Bar Harbor.

It’s one thing to visit the park and stay at a hotel nearby and drive through the park for some gorgeous views and Instagram-worthy pics. That works for some folks.

That doesn’t work for me.

With our RV lifestyle, we are naturally more “in tune” with, and in touch with, our natural surroundings. Outdoor living is an important part of our adventurous existence.

But it’s about more than sitting around a fire and cooking s’mores in the evenings. We love to get out there and trudge through our environment, get muddy and sweaty and nasty and leave a part of ourselves out there among the trees and the moss.

So when we visited Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, Maine in July 2018, we knew we had to find some solid trails to explore while visiting the park. And boy did we ever!

3 Acadia National Park Hiking Trails

Here’s the deal: If you are really into national parks and great hikes, Acadia deserves a spot at or near the top of your list. No doubt about it.

But believe it or not, there are at least 145 trails that you could explore in that national park alone. 145 trails! (Incredible what natural wonders we have at our fingertips in this country.)

AllTrails.com has been a go-to online stop for us as we have researched and considered different trail possibilities around the continent during our 15 months (so far) of travel.

And according to AllTrails, all three of these hikes are in the Top 10 you will find if you visit Acadia National Park. Yeah, that’ll do.

You can check out our video that covers all three of these Acadia National Park hiking trails also:

Did you know this National Park is one of the best parks for kids? DQ Travel has rounded up some of the best hikes in Acadia National Parks for kids here.

Recommended Hike #1: Great Head Trail Loop

Our first day in the park, we headed straight to Sand Beach and enjoyed a little dinner snack on the sand while enjoying a stellar sunset. Yeah, great start.

But the next day, we were ready to dig in and get a bit dirty and really see what this park had to offer. So we set out for our first trail: Great Head Trail Loop

Great Head Loop Trail boasts some absolutely spectacular views of the ocean, but the tide pools are just as fascinating and will pull you right in.

Jumping off from Sand Beach, a very popular spot for park lovers, the Great Head Trail Loop is a moderate excursion that totals 1.6 miles if you complete the entire thing. Great vantage points of the cliffs and ocean and plenty of opportunities to scamper around on the coastal rocks and get great photos of tide pools, crashing waves and even sea life.

Out on Great Head Loop Trail, it makes you feel like jumping for joy. This teenager certainly feels that way, at least. Such incredible natural beauty.

This trail is ranked #8 out of 145 trails in Acadia National Park by AllTrails.com . Since we didn’t do all 145 trails in the park, we are just going to defer to their judgment on this one.

All we know is that it was an beautiful experience and we highly recommend it!

Recommended Hike #2: Precipice Trail

Great Head Trail was absolutely a great hike. But if you want some heart-pounding thrills as you scale the side of a mountain and hold on for dear life, Precipice Trail is the trail for you.

Me and my two boys decided to tackle this one on our own after a few days exploring other areas of the park. We set out nice and early in the morning and hit the trail around 8:00 am. (Our RV park was about an hour from the trail head.)

Precipice Trail provides some fantastic views of the area and some heart-pounding moments along some cliff edges as well. Hang on tight!

Here’s what you need to know: It is not for the faint of heart even though it is only 1.4 miles round trip, and it is not recommended for young children. There are signs warning of serious injury and death as a possibility on this trek so be sure you are ready to go all in on this one.

There are sections of the hike where you have to climb over giant boulders and carefully navigate your way through narrow passages between and under these boulders.

And there are other sections where you are climbing ladder rungs up the side of a cliff or tiptoeing along the edge of a cliff with metal handles in the rock to hold on to and save you from tumbling down the mountain.

It. Is. Epic.

Only 1.4 miles, but…

And here’s the truth: By the end of this hike (took us about 3 hours total, including time at the top to enjoy the view), we felt more exhausted than we had on previous 8-10 mile hikes!

From the top of Precipice Trail, you can get a jaw-dropping view of the entire area, including the town of Bar Harbor, Maine in the distance.

Yeah, it’s that intense. It is fantastic, but you have to know what you need to prepare yourself for before hitting the trail. Bring plenty of water!

**Important Note: This trail is normally closed from Mar 15 to Aug 15 due to peregrine falcon nesting in the area, but we lucked out this year and they had just opened it back up the day before our hike in late July. Be sure and check the trail status before you head out.**

AllTrails ranks this trail as #3 out of 145 trails in Acadia, the highest ranking out of these three trails we got to hike. I’m not exactly sure how it could get much better than this hike, but at #3, this one is not to be missed, folks!

Recommended Hike #3: Ocean Path Trail

After the thrill and exhaustion of Precipice Trail, we decided to spend our last evening in the area with a much tamer trail suitable for the whole family.

Ocean Path Trail turned out to be exactly what we needed. When we arrived on a very foggy evening, we were mesmerized by the mystique that the fog cast over the landscape.

At Monument Cove, you can get a great view of some unique rock formations. Or you can just stand on the edge of the coast and stare in blissful silence.

In all honesty, we just hiked a small portion of this trail, from Thunder Hole to Monument Cove. The entire trail is a total of 3.9 miles out and back, but you can do any size section of it that suits you and I guarantee you will get everything you bargained for and more.

There was just so much to take in and enjoy along the coast line on that foggy evening that our two hours went far too fast and the light started fading.

Monument Cove has some truly unique rock formations that you will truly enjoy, regardless of the weather.

Rock formations like this one at Monument Cove are truly exceptional and offer hours of enjoyment in Acadia National Park.

But what we did see was truly magical, as you can pick up from the video (which still can’t do it justice, obviously).

AllTrails ranks Ocean Path Trail as #7 out of 145 trails in Acadia National Park, so you know it’s not too shabby. 🙂

You Really Can’t Go Wrong with Any Acadia National Park Hiking Trails

So yes, these are our top three picks for hikes in Acadia. But this is based on our own personal experience only. Well, and the top 10 rankings from AllTrails.com I guess.

If we had hiked more, you can bet we would be recommending more hikes. And some might have even rivaled these hikes.

The bottom line is you just have to get out there and soak up some Acadia. The video and the pictures give you a taste of the experience, but being there is truly surreal, and any hike would make that just as true.

Get out there, get dirty, get your hike on and keep on TREKKN!

Three Acadia National Park hiking trails that are not to be missed.

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  1. I’m not sure the picture of the boy jumping off the cliff at Great Head is at all accurate or appropriate. I’m 100% sure that image must have been photo shopped since I have hiked that trail numerous times and know for a fact he’d be jumping to his death. Neither photo of Great Head looks true to life. Nice try ,, but if you would simply portray the real beauty in all its grandeur and simplicity,, without camera tricks or photo doctoring,,, it should truly be enough. Acadia needs no editing of any kind.

    1. Hi Kim,

      I truly loved Acadia National Park. It was one of my favorite stops during our 17 months of RV travel and I plan to go back and spend more time. Acadia is a treasure, and I have no intention of dishonoring it with my images.

      The picture of my son is simply him jumping up into the air while standing on the rock. It’s a fun picture he wanted to take, and I love it. There are no tricks involved.

      The picture with the green vegetation in the pool at Great Head is also one of my favorites. Yes, it’s possible I might have enhanced the green in that pool to make it stand out a bit, to try and convey the vibrant image I experienced firsthand. But looking at it now, I’m honestly not sure that is the case. It actually looks very “true to life” when I look at it now. But either way, I was moved by this place and I am hopeful that my images will move others to visit and experience the same stunning beauty.

      I am sorry if you are not in agreement on all of my images. We each have our personal preferences, but we can definitely agree that Acadia is a must-visit location. I wish you nothing but the best in your explorations!


  2. Love the idea of this trip and the hiking recommendations. What campground did you use? We’d like to same do a similar trip.

    1. Hi Dani, it really was a great trip and we could have stayed put for several weeks if we had the chance. No doubt about it.

      We stayed at Patten Pond RV Resort (a Thousand Trails facility) and really enjoyed it. Sits right on a beautiful lake, but it was about a 45 min drive or so into the park from there. There may be other really good campground choices much closer to the park, but since we were Thousand Trails members, that was the one that worked for us.

      Let me know if you have any other questions, and I hope your trip comes together beautifully in 2021!

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