Precipice Trail

#9 in Best Things To Do in Acadia National Park
Precipice Trail picture
Dawn McClennen/Getty Images

Key Info

Park Loop Road

Price & Hours

Free
24/7 daily

Details

Hiking, Free Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
3.8scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 3.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

The Precipice Trail is one of the most rewarding hikes in the park, as long as you have the guts to attempt it. The challenging, 2-mile round-trip path has visitors scrambling up the side of Champlain Mountain by iron rungs and ladders fixed to exposed cliffs, all for a scenic summit and unparalleled view of Sand Beach.

Unfortunately, the trail isn't one size fits all. Recent travelers warned that the trail isn't well-suited for visitors who are afraid of heights. If you're on the fence about whether you're up for the challenge, reviewers suggest you try tackling Beehive Trail first. And to avoid being stuck behind fellow hikers, start your climb early.   

The trail's head and parking area is located north of Sand Beach on Park Loop Road. Keep in mind that there are seasonal trail closures from mid-March to mid-August to protect the nesting peregrine falcons. Check with a ranger or on the National Park's website for more details.

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More Best Things To Do in Acadia National Park

Cadillac Mountain1 of 8
Park Loop Road2 of 8
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Cadillac Mountain

Standing about 1,530 feet in height, Cadillac Mountain wins a lot of superlatives. Not only is it the tallest mountain in the park, but it's the tallest mountain on the North Atlantic seaboard and the first point of the United States to greet the rising sun's rays from Oct. 6 to March 7. Whether you hike up the Cadillac Summit Loop Trail or drive up the 3.5-mile narrow access road, go early. As the only attraction in the park that can be reached by car, Cadillac tends to draw crowds. If you do arrive by car, you should drive slowly, especially as the roadside cliffs get steep. Along the road, you'll find several small observation areas: take advantage of those before you reach the top, where the crowds and tour buses congregate.

Recent travelers said a trip to Acadia isn't complete without a stop at Cadillac Mountain, but caution the area gets crowded, especially on the weekends. For the ultimate vistas, set your alarm clock and try to catch a sunrise here; visitors assure it is a spectacular sight to see. If you're visiting during the winter months, you'll have to take the Cadillac Summit Loop Trail; the park closes down the access road for the winter season. Pack blankets and hold on to your hats, too, as it gets chillier as you ascend.

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Kristi rugg/National Park Service
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