Champlain Mountain Trail
|Distance||2.1 miles (3.4 km) mapped|
|Estimated Time||2 hours one way|
|Elevation Change||633 feet (193 meters)|
|Total Ascent||689 feet (210 meters)|
|Trail Markers||blue paint|
|Maintenance Rating||well maintained|
|Dog Friendly||on a leash|
For directions to the park go to the Acadia National Park page. Please consider using the free bus system in the park to assure you aren't driving around in circles trying to find a place to park. If you do use the buses make sure you plan your hikes so you don't miss the last bus of the day.
When in the park you will need to display a park pass. The best way to get a park pass is at the Sand Beach Entrance Station on the Park Loop Road. From Bar Harbor travel south on Route 3 (Main Street) for 1.7 miles (2.7 km) and then turn right into the park entrance. This short access road will take you to the Park Loop Road. Turn right onto this one-way road. Drive for 2.6 miles (4.2 km) and you will come to the Entrance Station. Buy a pass and continue to drive on the loop road. Make sure you enjoy all the spectacular views along the way. For more details on park fees go here.
The main access point for this trail is near the Bowl at the top of the Beehive Trail and the Bowl Trail. To get to these trails drive for half a mile from the gatehouse to the access road to Sand Beach. The Beehive and the Bowl Trails start across the road from this access road.
Not far past the gatehouse you will probably start to see cars parked along the road. Once the parking lot at Sand Beach is filled, cars park along the road. Remember that this is a one-way road, so you can't go back if you don't find a parking spot. On one of our visits we drove around the whole park three times to find a parking spot for the trail. Needless to say it was a bit frustrating so we learned to use the bus system the next day. The bus system is very easy to use, and free.
This trail can also be accessed from the Beachcroft Trail and the Precipice Trail near the peak, and the Orange and Black Path about halfway down the North Ridge.
The other end of this trail is accessed from the Park Loop Road just past Beaver Dam Pond. There is no parking near this trailhead so if you hike this part of the trail you will either have to go back the way you came or hike back on the road. When we hiked the mountain we descended on the Orange and Black Path, crossed the Park Loop Road and then returned on the Schooner Head Trail.
Champlain Mountain is a long, rounded granite mountain similar to the other major peaks in the park but Champlain Mountain has something that the other don't. Champlain Mountain has uniterupted views of Frenchman Bay and the Mount Dessert Narrows.
The trail starts at the Bowl and follows the shores of this small pond on a boardwalk. The views of the pond, with Champlain Peak in the background, give a feel for the hike ahead.
The trail begins to climb through a patch of woods but soon comes out on a granite ridge with views of the bay and back to the Bowl. The trail is steep in a few sections but nothing that would constitute a scramble. Soon the trail comes to a plateau and crosses open faces of granite interspersed with clumps of the low growing pitch pine.
One section of the trail goes more to the left providing views to the west of Dorr Mountain and Cadillac Mountain. At the peak you will find a sign in a pile of rocks. The Precipice Trail climbs up over the cliffs between the peak and the bay. Heading west will take you down the Beachcroft Trail to the Sieur de Monts Nature Centre at the base of Dorr Mountain.
The Champlain Mountain Trail continues and steadily descends along the north ridge. The trail once again alternates between wide open granite faces and patches of pine. If conditions are clear you will see Bar Haror straight ahead and the Jackson Labority at the base of the mountain. The Jackson Laboratory is where some really smart people are trying to cure cancer and several other nasty diseases.
About half the way down the mountain the Orange and Black Trail drops over the cliff towards the bay. This is where we got off. The Champlain Mountain Trail continues down the mountain to the Park Loop Road near Beaver Dam Pond.
Other Trails in the Park
- Trail Last Hiked: October 8, 2016
- Page last updated: April 16, 2020