Best Hiking Trails Near Bar Harbor

June 6, 2024

Finding a great place to hike near Bar Harbor, Maine, is easy with so many unique trails to explore. Whether you want to stroll along the beach or trek steep inclines, Bar Harbor’s proximity to Acadia National Park makes it the ideal location for hiking and exploring the coast.

Bar Harbor’s Weather and Geography

Bar Harbor has humid and warm summers, crisp and dry autumns, cold winters and warm, wet spring seasons. June through August are the best months to visit, as temperatures are warm and days are typically sunny. The town rests on a peaceful hill overlooking the harbor and small islands, but it is only a short drive from Acadia National Park’s awe-inspiring mountains.

Hiking Tips for Bar Harbor

Bar Harbor features trails for hikers of various experience levels. From quick, easy paths to unique treks and inclines, there is a trail for everyone. Consider the following tips before embarking on a trail to ensure the safest, most enjoyable journey:

  • Avoid hiking steep paths in rain, snow or damp weather.
  • Take plenty of water and snacks with you.
  • Check each trail’s typical conditions and terrain to ensure you have the hiking experience and ability.
  • Wear closed-toe shoes or hiking boots with good traction.
  • Check your skin and clothing for ticks after completing each trail.

Looking out over the Atlantic ocean from the summit of Cadillac Mountain, Bar Harbor Maine, USA.

What Is the Most Popular Hike in Bar Harbor?

Bar Harbor’s most popular hike is also the toughest hike in Acadia National Park. Beehive Trail is an exciting loop trail that leads to spectacular views of the Gulf of Maine, Thunder Hole and Sand Beach.

How Hard Is Beehive Trail?

Beehive Trail is a challenging trail, making it ideal for experienced hikers seeking an adventure. You can expect to encounter the following features:

  • Iron rungs
  • Steep inclines
  • Granite staircases
  • Exposed cliff faces and steep drop-offs
  • Uneven, rocky terrain

The Beehive Trail is an excellent opportunity to test your body and mind while enjoying the great outdoors. The steep climbs lead to rewarding views and a sense of accomplishment as you complete this thrilling trail. Since the path features steep drop-offs and narrow ledges, ensure you have steady footing and only attempt this hike in dry weather.

Best Hiking Trails Near Bar Harbor

While Beehive Trail in Acadia is Bar Harbor’s most popular hiking trail, the area features several can’t-miss trails to try during your visit. Consider the following best hiking trails near Bar Harbor, Maine:

Precipice Loop

Similar to Beehive Trail, Precipice Loop Trail is a 3.2-mile challenging path featuring rocky terrain, granite slopes and stairs, iron rungs, narrow ledges and steep cliff drop-offs. This round-trip trail is an exhilarating adventure if you enjoy heights and have steady footing. It is safest during dry weather, so you should plan to hike it on a clear, sunny day.

To find Precipice Loop Trail, enter Acadia National Park at the Hulls Cove entrance, follow Park Loop Road and turn left onto the one-way road toward Sand Beach. Begin the trail from the Precipice parking lot.

Gorham Mountain Loop

Gorham Mountain Loop is a milder adventure than Beehive Trail and Precipice Loop Trail, but it features some exciting challenges and stunning views from the Gorham Mountain Summit.

If you are looking for a little more of a challenge, you can add the Cadillac Cliff trail section that features rungs and ladders to your hike. This 0.3-mile section starts at an intersection in the Gorham Mountain path and involves some rock scrambling, sea cliffs and granite stairs before returning to the Gorham Mountain Loop.

To hike the Gorham Mountain Loop, make your way to the Gorham Mountain parking lot. The trail begins at the lot’s southwest corner, and a carved stump marks the trailhead.

Gorge Path Trail

The Gorge Path is a moderately challenging trail that takes you on an adventure through a rocky, narrow gorge, past towering cliff walls and up steep granite steps. This 2.5-mile round-trip hike involves some fun rock scrambles and stream crossings, and it is safest on dry days due to the trail’s rocky sections.

You can begin this hike at the Gorge Path parking area accessible from Park Loop Road. If you want to embark on a longer hike, you can start at the Kebo Brook trailhead off Paradise Hill Road, proceed for 0.4 miles and turn right onto Gorge Path.

Thunder hole in Acadia, Park Loop Road, Acadia National Park, Maine

Ocean Path Trail

If you’re looking for the most beautiful trail in Acadia, Ocean Path Trail offers some of the area’s best scenery. It is a relatively easy path where you can enjoy magnificent ocean views and listen to waves crashing against seaside cliffs. This 4.4-mile round-trip hike starts at Sand Beach and continues on packed gravel and concrete surfaces until you reach Thunder Hole.

At Thunder Hole, you can walk out on a rocky platform overlooking an underwater sea cave. If you visit two hours before high tide on a day with high winds, you can witness the powerful waves and listen to the thundering crashes along the entire trail.

Beyond Thunder Hole, the trail’s terrain becomes more rocky and uneven as it takes you through a lush fir and spruce forest. You will eventually arrive at Otter Cliffs, which is the path’s highest point and an opportunity for unforgettable views. After taking in the incredible scenery, you can continue the trail downward and end at Otter Point or Otter Cove.

Bar Island Trail

If you’re looking for easy hikes in Bar Harbor, Bar Island Trail is another mild hike full of beautiful scenery. This 1.9-mile round-trip hike starts on Bar Island, continues along the beach and takes you through a peaceful forest and meadow. You will eventually reach a summit with a gorgeous view of Bar Harbor.

Note that this trail is only accessible an hour and a half before or after low tide. This is when the water recedes away from the path’s beach section.

Cadillac Summit Loop Trail

Cadillac Summit Loop Trail is a quick, easy hike to an amazing view. This 0.5-mile loop takes about 15 minutes to complete, and it is perfect for families. Consider taking this path at sunrise or sunset to catch the sky’s magnificent hues behind the coastal landscape.

To find the Cadillac Summit Loop Trail, enter Acadia National Park through the Cadillac Mountain entrance and continue south on Park Loop Road. Turn left at the Cadillac Mountain sign, and follow Cadillac Summit Road to the parking area. If you visit the area during tourist season, you will need to make an online reservation to drive to the Cadillac Mountain summit.

Additional Things to Do in Bar Harbor, Maine

While hiking is one of Bar Harbor’s most popular activities, you can also enjoy the following attractions and excursions in the area:

  • Sightseeing boat tours
  • Whale-watching tours
  • Biking
  • Historical Native American exhibits at Abbe Museum
  • George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History
  • La Rochelle Mansion
  • Guided electric bike tours
  • Ecology tours
  • Rock climbing lessons
  • Moose safari tours
  • Whitewater rafting
  • Golfing

Stay at Kampgrounds of America While Exploring Bar Harbor’s Best Hiking Trails

Hiking in Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park is an unforgettable experience. Whether you stroll along the shoreline to reach peaceful lookouts or challenge yourself on your way to the tallest summits, exploring this area is a blast.

KOA provides a fun, relaxing place to rest your head after a long day of hiking. When you stay at Bar Harbor / Oceanside KOA Holiday, you can enjoy convenient campground amenities and exciting recreational activities such as bike rentals, train rides and tie-dye events. Reserve a stay at KOA to start your Bar Harbor hiking adventures.

About the Author: Kampgrounds of America

Kampgrounds of America is the largest system of open-to-the-public campgrounds in the world, with over 500 locations across the United States and Canada. Founded in Billings, MT in 1962, KOA’s family of campground brands – KOA Journey, KOA Holiday and KOA Resort – today serve more than a million camping families each year. KOA is dedicated to “connecting people to the outdoors and each other” by providing people with a variety of camping experiences and the information they need to make the most of their camping trip. Read more of their camping and travel resources by visiting

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