Hike Up to Cadillac Mountain Through The North Ridge Trail

4 miles 1530 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Cassidy Gardner

Hike to the top of Cadillac Mountain, the highest point along the North Atlantic Seaboard and witness the scenic views of Bar Harbor and Frenchman Bay.

The Cadillac North Ridge Trailhead is accessible through Paradise Hill Road once you enter the park through the Hulls Cove Entrance. When driving on route 3 in Bar Harbor, keep an eye out for a sign that says "Acadia National Park Hulls Cove Entrance, Visitor Center Right Lane". Stay in the right lane and drive a little farther down and the lane turns into the Hulls Cove Entrance. Take a left onto Paradise Hill Road and follow that road for about 3 miles until you get to a fork in the road. At this point you are going to go to the stop sign and take a left onto Park Loop Road. After about a half a mile there will be North Ridge Trail parking on the left hand side so I would recommend staying in the left lane.

Note: This is a one way road so if you aren't careful you might pass the parking area and you will have to drive all the way back around through the park. 

The trailhead will be on the right side of the road across from the beginning of the parking area. Keep an eye out for the small wooden sign that reads "North Ridge Trail, Cadillac Mountain". Right next to it will be a few stone steps that start the trail up the mountain. 

This is a beautiful hike but it can be pretty difficult at times. It is uphill and there are many points throughout the trail where it gets pretty steep and you are climbing up huge rocks, some of which are slanted at different angles. This is why I recommend hiking boots. I don't own hiking boots (yet) and the sneakers I wore were not designed for this type of activity as they don't have the right type of support or grip. The trail is easy to follow however because every 10 to 15 feet the rocks along the path are marked with blue paint. There are also cairns scattered throughout which was very helpful. A majority of the trail is narrow with sections going through wooded and rocky areas. Keep an eye out for the many scenic views along the way. I highly recommend taking a camera and a tripod if you have one. About three quarters of the way up the trail changes to open rocky terrain. There is breathtaking scenery in almost every direction. Once you get to the end of the trail you will come to stone steps that take you up to the summit of Cadillac Mountain. You'll see quite a bit of parking as Cadillac Mountain is also accessible by car. There are a few different walkways at the summit that give you views in every direction. When I got to the top I found a rock to sit on and I ate the food that I packed while looking out at Bar Harbor and Frenchman Bay. 

For me hiking up the trail was harder because it was steep, uphill, I was carrying my hiking backpack and it was very hot outside. I had to stop a few times along the trail to catch my breath and drink some water. I am not used to mountainous, rocky terrain being from Florida and I am not yet as experienced of a hiker as I would like to be. I will say there were definitely points where I felt like I wanted to quit and start heading back down the trail because of how exhausted I was, but I knew once I made it to the top it would be well worth it. 

When hiking back down the North Ridge Trail it is very important that you take your time and be extra careful. It's obviously downhill and very steep. You take the same route down the mountain using the stone steps by the parking area. The trail is easy to follow as it is marked with blue paint and cairns but again it is crucial that you go slow and watch your footing. It will be even easier to see views of Bar Harbor and Frenchman Bay as you will be facing them while you hike down. 

All in all this was an excellent hike and undoubtedly a challenging one but I will absolutely be coming back to do it again.   

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Photography
Hiking
Forest
Scenic

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Great Hike & Views

Great hike up and down Cadillac via the North Ridge Trail. Little bit of dirt and pine needle covered trail, but mostly rock.

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