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Hike the Precipice Trail at Acadia National Park

Bar Harbor, Maine



2.6 miles

Elevation Gain

850 ft


Added by Zinnia Xu

A thrilling and strenuous hike up the exposed cliffs of Champlain mountain filled with iron rung aids, iron rung ladders and rock scrambles. With an almost vertical 850-elevation gain, this is the most daring hike in Acadia National Park!

The precipice trail is a 1-mile hike with 850ft elevation gain to the summit along the cliffs of Champlain mountain that is almost vertical enough to be classified as a climb. This trail has many exposed cliffs with iron rung ladders and rails to help you ascend to the top. There are also various sections of rock scrambling. If you are looking for a difficult, thrilling hike, this is definitely the top choice. Those who are afraid of heights, not comfortable with rough terrain or accompanied by small children should avoid this hike.

The trail is located on Park Loop Road a couple miles past the entrance. Parking is available in the parking lot and on the main road. The trailhead is visible from the parking lot. The trail starts with a warning sign dissuading those who may not be prepared for the hike.

After a short walk, you will reach the first obstacle--a boulder with two iron ladder rungs to help you climb over. This is one of the most difficult obstacles, strength-wise, in the trail. If this section was too difficult, consider turning back.

After this section, there is a big boulder field that requires rock scrambling as well as sections where you climb under and around boulders. There will be iron rungs in the harder sections. Next, there are granite steps along the cliff-side leading into the crux of the hike. A series of iron rung ladders and railings that go straight up the face of the cliff. This is the scariest part of the hike but also the most memorable and rewarding. Be careful climbing this part--one person at a time. But also remember to take a break and don't forget to take in the view!

After this section, you reach the top of the mountain. Take a break at the top for a snack or lunch. Make sure you bring a camera to capture the amazing views of the island. When you are done enjoying the view and your bravery and valor for accomplishing this hike.

To return to your car, just hike down the Champlain North Ridge Trail to the Orange and Black trail. Do not try and climb down as it's more or less a one way trail.


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