Miles of open ledges and picturesque views await you when you beat the crowds and take the journey by foot along the South Ridge Trail to the summit of Cadillac Mountain.
Acadia National Park, located on Mt. Desert Island, is one of the most visited National Parks in the United States. Many of the park’s points of interest can be reached via vehicle including the summit of Cadillac Mountain. Cadillac boasts the tallest summit on the Eastern Seaboard at 1532 ft. and is well known as the place where the sun’s rays first touch the continental US.
To access the South Ridge Trail travel outside the park on Rt. 3. Approximately 5.5-5.7 miles South of Bar Harbor following the signs for Blackwoods Campground. Once you come to the entrance of the campground on the left, the trail head will be 50yards more on your right. You can park along the shoulder of the road.
The South Ridge Trail begins its 3.5 miles as an easy ascent through the forest. Just shy of a mile the trail begins a more moderate climb and at the mile mark a spur to the right will take you to Eagle’s Crag. This lookout is a nice place to linger and take in the sights of the first clear view you have over Frenchman’s Bay and Otter Creek.
Soon you will reach the granite ledges with pine trees growing in available soil. You will wind your way up granite ledges for almost all of the next 2 miles to the summit. As you reach higher elevations, stopping to look behind you at the amazing view is irresistible. At the 2.3 mile mark you will have a short descent in to what is called the Featherbed, a high elevation bog. At this point you will also come across a trail intersection with the Canon Brook Trail.Once past the Featherbed you will reach the steepest part of the trail, a small climb out of the Featherbed and beginning of the last mile to the summit. This area is all open ledge with cairns to guide you along the way. You will soon see the road in front of you and a junction with the Bubble Pond Trail as the trail takes a right hand turn and parallels the road as you have a .5 mile hike through the forest again. Immediately you will encounter a rock that has some rungs in it to assist you in climbing over it. Follow the trail across a fire road and you will come out of the forest in to the hustle and bustle of the summit. Many well known pictures are taken from this vantage point. There is a gift shop and bathrooms here as well as a parking area for those who drove up. While the summit will be crawling with people, it is easy to get a space to yourself for a snack and drinking in of the beauty that surrounds you. Once finished, you can return back the trail you took up. This will make for a 7 mile round trip hike that will take you approximately 4 hrs depending on how long you linger.