Acadia National Park maintains more than 125 miles of hiking trails, from easy strolls around lakes and ponds to rigorous treks with climbs up rock faces and scrambles along cliffs. Although most hiking trails are on the east side of the island, the west side also has some scenic trails. For those wishing for a long climb, try the trails leading up Cadillac Mountain or Dorr Mountain. Another option is to climb Parkman, Sargeant, and Penobscot mountains. Most hiking is done from mid-May to mid-November. Snow falls early in Maine, so from as early as late November to the end of March cross-country skiing and snowshoeing replace hiking. Volunteers groom most of the carriage roads if there’s been 4 inches of snow or more. You can park at one end of any trail and use the free shuttle bus to get back to your starting point.
Distances for trails are given for the round-trip hike.
Acadia Mountain Trail. If you're up for a challenge, this is one of the area's best trails. The 2½-mile round-trip climb up Acadia Mountain is steep and strenuous, but the payoff is grand: views of Somes Sound. If you want a guided trip, look into the ranger-led hikes for this trail. Rte. 102, Acadia National Park, ME, 04609. 207/288–3338. www.nps.gov/acadia.
Ocean Path Trail. This easily accessible 4.4-mile round-trip trail runs parallel to the Ocean Drive section of the Park Loop Road from Sand Beach to Otter Point. It has some of the best scenery in Maine: cliffs and boulders of pink granite at the ocean's edge, twisted branches of dwarf jack pines, and ocean views that stretch to the horizon. Be sure to save time to stop at Thunder Hole, named for the sound the waves make as they thrash through a narrow opening in the granite cliffs, into a sea cave, and whoosh up and out. Steps lead down to the water, where you can watch the wave action close up, but use caution here (access may be limited due to storms), and if venturing onto the outer cliffs along this walk. Ocean Dr. section of Park Loop Rd., Acadia National Park, ME, 04609.