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- The network of hiking trails in the western
section ranges from very easy (smooth paths) to
strenuous (steep grades with many steady climbs).
Among the most readily accessible and easiest
are the Wonderland and Ship Harbor trails. Wonderland
is an abandoned roadway which leads to a spectacular
coastal area with pebble beach and tidal pools.
The Ship Harbor trail is a circular nature walk
with 13 stations describing the current physical
features and the natural and personal history
of each site.
- Western Mountain,
- Then, there is Western Mountain, listed among
the most strenuous climbs in the park. Composed
of two summits, Bernard and Mansell, the trail
network in this area passes over rock slides,
through birch forest, marshland and heavy evergreen
forests. Both summits are wooded, so extensive
views are rare. This area can be reached from
the Seal Cove Road, which is partly public and
partly park maintained and connects Southwest
Harbor with the Seal Cove area.
CAN YOU DO WHILE AT ACADIA?
- Bernard Mountain (1071 ft./326
m.), Mansell Mountain (949 ft./289m.),
- This area has two main summits - Bernard to
the west and Mansell to the east. Both summits
are wooded, and extensive views are rare. There
is access from the north via the Western Trail
into Great Notch. From the south, there are many
choices: Great Pond Trial, Perpendicular Trail,
Sluiceway Trail, or South Face Trail. You can
reach all of the south approaches from the parking
area at the foot of Great Pond near the pumping
- Western Trail,
- This trail's main value is that it provides
access to the western mountains from the north.
There are no open vistas. To reach the trailhead
go about 1 mi. east from Route 102 on the Great
Pond (Long Pond) fire road. The fire road crosses
just north of Seal Cove Pond and heads toward
Pine Hill. The Western Trail starts on the east
side of the road about .1mi. beyond the Pine Hill
turnaround and parking area.
- The trail trends southeast and rises by easy
grades to a junction with the Great Pond Trail
(left) 1.9 mi. from the fire road. It ends in
Great Notch at 2.3 mi. The Great Notch gives access
to both western mountain peaks.
- Great Pond Trail (Long Pond),
- This excellent footpath starts at the pumping
station at the foot of Great Pond. It follows
the west shore of the pond for 1.5 mi., then bears
west away from it. Turning south, the trail passes
through a beautiful birch forest and follows Great
Brook to a junction with the Western Trail. With
this route to the Western Trail you can reach
the complex of trails on the mountain and from
there complete a circuit back to the pumping station.
- Perpendicular Trail,
- This trail, ascending Mansell Peak, starts
from the Great Pond Trail on the west shore of
Great Pond .2 mi. north of the pumping station.
It follows a steep course up the east slope of
Mansell, crossing a rock slide. The trail is very
steep, especially at the start, and much of it
runs over stone steps. The upper portion has an
excellent view southeast. At an open ledge near
the top, watch for a sign marked "path,"
where an abrupt turn left leads down sharply into
woods and marsh before the trail goes up to the
actual summit. The summit is wooded.
- Sluiceway Trail,
- This trail starts at Mill Field on the western
mountain fire road. (to reach Mill Field, follow
Seal Cove Road west from Route 102 in Southwest
Harbor. The pavement ends at the Acadia National
Park border. Take the first right off the dirt
road, bear right at the first fork, and left at
the second fork. The road ends at Mill Field).
The trail runs north .6 mil to a junction the
Sluiceway Trail swings northwest and climbs rather
steeply, to a junction with the South Face Trail
.4 mi. further. To reach Bernard Peak, follow
the South Face Trail (south) for 0.2 mi.
- South Face Trail,
- This trail also starts at Mill Field on the
western mountain fire road. (For directions to
Mill Field, see the Sluiceway Trail description.)
As do many of the trails on the western mountains,
it runs through a magnificent spruce-fir forest
and affords fine views of western Mount Desert
Island and Blue Hill Bay. It leads west .5 miles
and then rises north to Bernard Peak at 1.7 mi.
and ends at Little Notch at the junction with
Sluiceway Trail .2 mi. beyond.
- Beech Mountain (839 FT./256M.),
- Beech Mountain lies between Echo Lake and Great
Pond (Long Pond on some maps). Its summit is easy
to reach from either the Beech Cliff parking area
or the pumping station area at the foot of Great
Pond. Beech Mountain can also be climbed on its
southwest flank, beginning at the south end of
Great Pond. An added attraction near Beech Mountain
is the Beech Cliff-Canada Cliff area just to the
east of the Beech Cliff parking area. These rugged
cliffs offer spectacular views of Echo Lake.
- Canada Cliff Trail,
- This trail offers access to the top of Beech
Cliff. It starts at the Beech Cliff parking area
located at the end of the NPS road to the public
swimming area on the south shore of Echo Lake.
It climbs quickly via switchbacks and ladders
to a junction with the Canada Ridge Trail north
to the Beech Cliff Trail and proceeds out on the
top of Beech Cliff for views of Echo lake and
the ocean and islands to the south. This route
also provides access from the east to Beech Mountain
and Great Pond.
- Beech Mountain Trail,
- The trail leaves the northwest side of the
Beech Cliff parking area and forks in 0.1 mi.
The trail to the right (north) is 1 mi. long and
provides a beautiful vista of Great Pond before
climbing to the summit. The trail to the left
is 0.6 mi. long and climbs more steeply to the
summit of Beech Mountain, with its fire tower.
The two trails can be combined to form a scenic
- Valley Trail,
- This graded path is a convenient link between
the Great Pond area and the Beech Cliff parking
area, which is located in the notch between Beech
Cliff and Beech Mountain. It also permits a circuit
or one-way trip over Beech Mountain, since it
provides direct access to the South Ridge Trail.
- The trail enters the woods on the east (right)
side of the service road that skirts the east
shore of the south end of Great Pond. The entrance
is about 0.3 mi. north of the junction with the
road to the pumping station. (or, park at the
pumping station, take the trail east, go right
at a fork in 40 or 50 yards and cross the service
road in about 0.3 mi.)
- By easy grades over wooded slopes, the trail
runs north briefly and then swings east before
entering a series of switchbacks on the south
slopes of Beech Mountain. At about 1 mi. there
are remains of the old road to Southwest Harbor
and the Canada Ridge Trail comes in from the right.
Continue directly ahead (north) 0.2 mi. to the
Beech Cliff parking area.
- Acadia Mountain (681 ft./207m.),
- Acadia is the only summit on Mount Desert with
an east/west ridge trail along the top. The views
of Somes Sound are noteworthy. Some prefer to
climb from the west, dropping down to Somes Sound
from the east promontory. Flowing into Somes Sound
at the base of the mountain is Man O'War Brook,
where 19th-century frigates renewed their water
supplies, taking advantage of the deep-water anchorage
close to the shore.
- Acadia Mountain Trail,
- Leave the car at the Acadia Mountain parking
area on the west side of Route 102, 3 mi. south
of Somesville and 3 mi. north of Southwest Harbor.
The Acadia Mountain Trail begins on the east side
of Route 102, across the road from the parking
area. Go left at the fork 0.1 mi. down the trail.
- The trail ascends the west slope, soon leaving
woods for the open rocks and frequent views. It
passes over the highest summit and reaches the
east summit, with views of Somes Sound, at about
1 mi. The trail then descends southeast and south
very steeply to cross Man O'War Brook. There is
a junction about 50 yards beyond. (Somes Sound
is about 100 yards east from here.) Go west at
the junction and proceed past trails to St. Sauveur
and Valley Cove, which diverge left in about 100
yards. Go on through a field for 200 yards to
the east end of Man O'War Brook fire road. Follow
the road west over gradual grades about 1 mi.
back to Route 102, 50 yards north of the parking
- St. Sauveur Mountain (679
- This mountain can be climbed from the north
via the Man O'War Brook fire road (NPS fire service
road from Route 102), from Route 102 on the west,
and from the Fernald Cove Road on the south. There
are good views of Somes Sound from Eagle Cliff,
just east of the summit.
- St. Sauveur Trail,
- This trail is an easy route to the summit of
St. Sauveur Mountain from the north,. Follow the
Acadia Mountain Trail description to reach the
trailhead. Go right at the fork 0.1 mi. down the
- The path runs south through evergreens and over
open slopes, rising constantly but not too sharply
for 1 mi. to a junction with the Ledge Trail on
the right. From there it is 0.3 mi. to the summit,
where the St. Sauveur Trail joins the Valley Peak
- Ledge Trail,
- This trail begins at St. Sauveur parking area
on the east side of Route 102 about 0.2 mi. south
of the access road to the AMC Echo Lake Camp (private).
- The path enters the woods and rises over the
ledge to its end. It meets the St. Sauveur Trail
0.5 mi. from the highway and about 0.3 mi. northwest
of the summit.
- Valley Peak Trail,
- This trail leaves the west side of the Valley
Cove truck road a few yards north of the parking
area at Fernald Cove. It rises steeply northwest
through shady woods over Valley Peak (the south
shoulder of St. Sauveur Mountain) and skirts the
tip of Eagle Cliff, with outstanding views of
Valley Cove below and the mountains to the east
of Somes Sound. On the summit of St. Sauveur,
at 0.8 mi., the St. Sauveur Trail comes in on
the left. The Valley Peak Trail continues fairly
steeply down the northeast shoulder of St. Sauveur
to end at a junction with the Acadia Mountain
Trail near Man O'War Brook and the east terminus
of the Man O'War Brook fire road.
- Flying Mountain (284 ft./87
- Guarding the entrance to Somes Sound, this
low peak offers perhaps the greatest reward on
the island for a small effort. The reward for
a few minutes' climb to the open top is a fine
panorama of the Sound, Southwest Harbor, Northeast
Harbor, and the islands to the south - the Cranberries,
Greening, Sutton, Baker and Bear.
- Flying Mountain Trail,
- This scenic trail over tiny Flying Mountain
leaves the east side of the parking area at the
Fernald Cove end of the Valley Cove truck road
and rises quickly to the summit. It follows the
summit ridge north to a point overlooking Valley
cove, then descends quickly and steeply through
spruce woods. At the edge of Valley Cove, the
trail follows the shore north over rock slides
and under forbidding Eagle Cliff to end at a junction
with the Acadia Mountain Trail at Man O'War Brook.
- At Valley Cove, the north terminus of the truck
road can be located up the bank about 75 yards
south from the water's edge. For an easy return
to the Fernald Cove parking area, follow the road
south for about 0.5 mi.