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Cadillac Summit, Otter Cliff, and Gorham Mountain Trails?

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Austin, Texas
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Cadillac Summit, Otter Cliff, and Gorham Mountain Trails?

My husband and I are going to visit Acadia in two weeks. We will be able to visit the park for only 1 1/2 days. We want to make sure that we are seeing the best of the best in our short time there. From my research, the Cadillac Summit, Otter Cliff, and the Gorham Mountail Trails offer the most spectacular views. Is that correct?

Acadia Mountain Trail is listed as strenuous. Is it terribly difficult? Would you recommend Gorham Mountain or Acadia Mountail Trail?

Is there anything else that is a must-hike while we are there? We both are in our late twenties and love to hike.

Thank you for your help!

Lehigh Valley, PA
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1. Re: Cadillac Summit, Otter Cliff, and Gorham Mountain Trails?

If you click on "Things to DO" On the left here, you will find some hike recommendations and descriptions.

Here's a recommendation for a hike that we did a couple of years back. We parked at the Sand Beach parking lot (the shuttles won't be running in two weeks. I know. We are arriving on 6/14 and the shuttles don't start running until 6/21). From Sand Beach take the Ocean Drive Trail. It is about 2 miles from Sand Beach past Thunder Hole and on to Otter Cliffs. The cliffs are agreat place to stop and rest for a moment and take in the view. Heck the views are spectacular the entire walk. As you start retracing your steps back along the same path, keep and eye out for the sign post directing you across the Ocean Drive into a parking lot and to the trailhead for the Gorham Mountain Trail. Do the hike to the top. Soak in the view and continue on (do not retrace your steps) to the intersection with the Bowl Trail. Turn right on the Bowl Trail and rock hop your way back down to Ocean Drive right at the Sand Beach parking lot.

Now if you really want to add a nice piece to the hike (heck your young; we did this and we're in our mid 50s), you can start by going down to Sand Beach, crossing it and taking the stairs to the tarilhead for Great Head Trail. Its a beautiful loop of less than two miles bringing you back to the stairs where you recross the beach and go back up to the parking area and connect with Ocean Drive Trila as described above.

Cadillac Summit is s very easy, very short hike around the top of Cadillac Mountain. The views re nice. The place will be very crowded. It always is. As by the way, will be Ocean Drive Trail. They are both very popular.

There are so many wonderful hikes in Acadia that I could go on and on. Again check the "Things to DO" link.

Bar Harbor, Maine
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2. Re: Cadillac Summit, Otter Cliff, and Gorham Mountain Trails?

The best hike for spectacular views, in my opinion, is to hike up the north ridge trail of Cadillac, cross the summit, and hike down the south ridge trail. It's about an hour up and about two hours down. Most of the south ridge is open granite with a great view out to the islands, until the last mile when you are again in the woods. Unfortunately, you need two cars to do this hike because the shuttle buses will not yet be running when you are here in two weeks. If you could park your car at the finish of the hike and get someone to give you a ride around to the trail head of the North Ridge, that would be great.

I'd recommend hiking Acadia Mountain over Gorham just because it will offer a completely different view than the views from Cadillac. Acadia Mountain will give you a view of Somes Sound and the west side of Mount Desert Island. It isn't a particularly difficult hike, although it is fairly steep coming down.

Another hike you might want to do is the Beehive trail. It has a few iron rungs and short bridges. It's definitely steep. But the views over Sand Beach are great.

Then you might try a stair trail just to see what they are like. I'd suggest the Beachcroft Trail up Hugenot Head. It's not very long and quite close to the village of Bar Harbor.

Bar Harbor, Maine
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3. Re: Cadillac Summit, Otter Cliff, and Gorham Mountain Trails?

I would also recommend the Acadia Mountain. You will see the views from Gorham Mountain from lots of other points of interest and the views from Acadia Mountain are spectacular.

My husband and I hiked up the Ladder Trail on Door Mountain yesterday and it was awesome. It's a steep trail (lots of granite steps and a few iron rungs), but short. We made the hike a loop by taking a different trail back down to the North end of the Tarn (the trail starts at the South end of the Tarn - which is a small lake), so we had to backtrack to our car, but we prefer loops to out and back trails.

If you do the Beehive (which is also fabulous), you can go back down the back side and take a small detour to go to the Bowl which is a mountaintop pond that offers great views.

Happy Hiking. You really can't go wrong. All of the hikes are great. We've never taken one that we didn't like.

Austin, Texas
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4. Re: Cadillac Summit, Otter Cliff, and Gorham Mountain Trails?

Paflyfisher, thank you for your advice! On your first recommendation (parking at the Sand Beach), how long do you think that hike will take? It sounds just right for us!

bonniemaev and lovingbarharbor, thank you for recommending acadia mountain over Gorham trail. We will take your advice! How long do you suppose the acadia mountain trail will take?

Bar Harbor, Maine
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5. Re: Cadillac Summit, Otter Cliff, and Gorham Mountain Trails?

I guess the Acadia Mountain hike takes about two hours. When cwvoigt talks about coming down "on the seat of your pants", he means that there are places where a teenager might just jump down two or three feet to continue on down the trail over a rock outcropping. But a more cautious (read "older") hiker would sit down on the trail and then make a little jump to continue on down the trail. It's not like you it's so steep that it is a sliding board.

One of the hiking guides says this about the descent from the top of Acadia Mountain: "the eastern side of Acadia Mtn drops in sharp spurts over stretches of smooth rock. In straight ahead fashion the trail drops over 600 feet in less than half a mile."

That sounds dramatic. But, really, it's quite doable. I've done it several times at age 50+.

As for Thunder Hole, it is right along the side of the Loop Road. There is a parking lot there for people to leave their cars, cross the Loop Road on a crosswalk, and then watch the waves. It's really not all that special. Worth a ten minute stop. The little inlet only booms at mid-tide on a stormy sea.

Austin, Texas
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6. Re: Cadillac Summit, Otter Cliff, and Gorham Mountain Trails?

That sounds excellent. Thank you for your advice and reassurance that we can tackle the Acadia Mountain Trail! Also, thank you for clarifying the Thunder Hole. It just seems neat from the photos that I have seen.

New Jersey
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7. Re: Cadillac Summit, Otter Cliff, and Gorham Mountain Trails?

We will be arriving in just about a month for our first trip to Maine. I'm just wondering if any of these trails are OK for younger kids, our younger two will be 9 and 6, and how about the Grandma with so-so knees who is 50-something, lol ??

Kim

Bar Harbor, Maine
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8. Re: Cadillac Summit, Otter Cliff, and Gorham Mountain Trails?

I've seen young children on many of the trails. The Grandma with so-so knees, though, should be careful. The descents are especially hard on aging knees. Never, never do the Deer Brook Trail. I know I'll never do it again!

Acadia has trails for all skill levels. The carriage roads are a nice hiking alternative to the rocky trails. Wonderland and Ship Harbor are easy and recommended for everyone. A wise thing to do is stop at the big Acadia National Park visitor center just north of Bar Harbor. They have a scale model of the mountains of Acadia and rangers on hand with good advice. Plus lots of books and maps.

Austin, Texas
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9. Re: Cadillac Summit, Otter Cliff, and Gorham Mountain Trails?

cwvoigt recommends the Map Adventures version for Acadia National Park. Can we get this map at the Acadia National Park visitor center?

Bar Harbor, Maine
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for Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park
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10. Re: Cadillac Summit, Otter Cliff, and Gorham Mountain Trails?

I'm not sure what the visitor center is carrying this year; I know that you can get it at Cadillac Mountain Sports and at Sherman's book store, both in Bar Harbor.

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