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Maine (Acadia and Side Trips)

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Precipice Trail – Acadia National Park, Maine

Precipice Trail is one of our favorite trails. It offers spectacular views and non-technical climbing. We have yet to encounter another equivalent hike/climb this easy but offer the same exhilaration as a real rock climb (true via-ferreta routes aside). On the other hand, you must have faith in the integrity of these 100 year old iron lugs. But as long as you don’t visit the trail often, the odds of having an iron lug dislodge from the rock is remote.

The precipice trail is sometimes closed when there are falcon activities nearby so call the park before your visit.  Obtain a park map and you will find the trailhead to the Precipice Trail clearly labeled.  Not far from the parking lot you will find a large yellow warning sign outlining the dangers of this trail. It clearly tells you that you should be in good shape and this is “not a hiking route” but a "non-technical climbing route".   That being said, if you are afraid of the heights and do not like to hike using all fours straight up a cliff wall, this is a good point to turnaround.

If you don’t know how you will react to this type of climbing, visit the Beehive Trail, this is a much shorter trail that is less challenging but offers a taste of what the precipice is in store for you. We hiked the Beehive Trail the day before and found it less exciting (on the way up) but offer similar view on top. 

The intensity of excitement builds as we hiked/climbed higher. Toward the beginning it was just a scramble up the boulders; pulling ourselves up a few ladders and ledges. About half way up the hike becomes a real climb. However, with a little bit of caution, all sections can be completed safely. Actually it’s more dangerous turning back once you have past the point of no return (last ¼ of section). The pull of the climb is magical. From here endless vistas of shorelines and hilltops extends as far as our eyes can see...

Tips: some climbers do not like the fact that you must trust the iron lugs instead of your own equipment. When climbing iron lugs, try to have 3 points of contact at all times and grab/step on different iron lugs (so if one breaks, the other will still hold). We saw at least 2 broken lugs on our way up. Try not to hike too early in the morning or if moisture is expected. Wear climbing/belay glove if possible to minimize slipperage.

Due to the popularity of this route, the usage of ropes and such may not be suitable. If there is a weaker climber in the group and may need some ‘encouragement’, use some sort of via-ferreta setup may boost their confidence; climb early in the day to avoid crowds. See the TIPS page to learn more.

Distance:  ~ 2 miles roundtrip 
Elevation: 1000 feet     
Gain/Loss: 1000 feet (almost straight up at some sections)
Difficulty: Moderate
Rating: 9 out of 10 (at the Precipice, you'll change!)


Side Trips (to match Photos)

1) A roadside pond in Baxter State Park. While you are here, hike the "Very Strenuous" Mt. Katahdin. We were short on time and therefore did not attempt the hike. Until next time... ;)

2) Beach Mountain Fire Tower hike is a leisure hike with moderate elevation gain. Stay to the right! Flying Mountain is another good trail that offers solitude and vista across the bay; the trailhead is a small parking lot to your left before entering the priviate road.

3) Schoodic Point is located across the main island. The hike along the shore offers solitude and grand vista.






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