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Champlain Mountain via South Ridge Trail

Acadia National Park

Downeast + Acadia, Maine

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Champlain Mountain via South Ridge Trail

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  • Looking across the Bowl toward the other half of the trail.- Champlain Mountain via South Ridge Trail
  • Looking at the Bowl and the Atlantic from above.- Champlain Mountain via South Ridge Trail
  • A boat and its wake.- Champlain Mountain via South Ridge Trail
  • The view over Mount Desert Narrows.- Champlain Mountain via South Ridge Trail
  • Signage for the trail.- Champlain Mountain via South Ridge Trail
  • Looking out to the water from Champlain Mountain.- Champlain Mountain via South Ridge Trail
  • A frog relaxes in a small puddle at the top of the mountain.- Champlain Mountain via South Ridge Trail
  • The summit cap on Champlain Mountain.- Champlain Mountain via South Ridge Trail
  • An abandoned lighthouse on a small island visible from Champlain Mountain.- Champlain Mountain via South Ridge Trail
  • A tree grows from the rock on the summit.- Champlain Mountain via South Ridge Trail
  • Champlain Mountain seen from across Newport Cove, Acadia National Park.- Champlain Mountain via South Ridge Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Great views. Easy climb. Well marked.
Cons: 
None.
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Region:
Downeast + Acadia, ME
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes, with restrictions
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,000.00 ft (304.80 m)
Parking Pass: 
National Park Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
5.00 mi (8.05 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
50.00 ft (15.24 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

At 1,070 feet, Champlain Mountain is Acadia National Park's second highest peak (Cadillac Mountain sits at 1,528 feet). It's closer to the Mount Desert Narrows, and it provides much better views of the water. It also has the great bonus of thin crowds, which is very different from the packed Cadillac summit. 

From Park Loop Road, access the Beehive Trail across from the popular Sand Beach and follow it to the Bowl Trail. You'll pass junctions for the Beehive and Gorham Mountain, but ignore them and continue until you reach the shores of the Bowl, a picturesque pond carved by glaciers. Relax here and then go left, following the trail around the Bowl.

The trail will slowly turn north and begin to ascend, running up the smooth granite of the mountain. To the west, Cadillac and Dorr will appear almost as impressive as the ocean view to the east. Continue up the rock, following numerous cairns and blazes. It's fairly straightforward until just under the summit, where some minor scrambling is needed. At the summit, experience Mount Desert Island in its full splendor, and take in the fantastic views. 

Follow your steps back down the mountain, and make sure to keep good footing on the slick stone. This hike is best attempted in dry weather; any moisture makes the granite as slippery as ice. 

Note that Park Loop Road is closed December through April.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(1 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(20 within a 30 mile radius)

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