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Cadillac Mountain South Ridge Trail Loop

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Acadia National Park

Cadillac Mountain South Ridge Trail Loop is a 7.5 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Bar Harbor, Maine that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 7.5 mi Elevation gain 2,247 ft Route type Loop

Dogs on leash

Hiking

Forest

Views

Waterfall

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Rocky

Scramble

Description
Waypoints (2)
Facilities
Contact
Tips
Getting There

NOTE: Although dogs are allowed on this trail, users have reported that there are some very rocky, steep sections that may be difficult for your dog. Cadillac Mountain is the tallest mountain on the eastern seaboard of the United States. The true summit is to the left where the South Ridge Trail opens onto the gravel access road. Look for two survey benchmarks established by the US Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1856 and 1954. The South Ridge Trail is a gradual climb, but it has the advantage of not coming close to the Cadillac Summit Road until the end. The trail briefly descends to a small pond called The Featherbed, where there is a wooden bench for taking a break and enjoying the pond.

Facilities at the summit.

National Park Service Acadia National Park P.O. Box 177, Bar Harbor, ME. 04609 Phone: (207) 288-3338 acadia_information@nps.gov

There is a $10 car fee to enter the park.

If starting from Bar Harbor, follow State ME Route 3 south of town. The trailhead is located on the right just past Blackwoods Campground which is on the left. Parking is along the shoulder of the road. There is no road sign for the trailhead.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (591)
Photos (861)
Recordings (430)
Completed (1421)
Greg Riss
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 5, 2020
HikingGreat!

This hike had a great variety of terrain types! It had a range of easy to very challenging sections, and took us (semi regular hikers) about 6 hours. The loop route after the summit stands out in particular as a very challenging uphill scramble. The summit is the busiest part of the entire trail, but we are visiting during COVID. Recommend bringing plenty of water.

Austin Fitzpatrick
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 4, 2020
Hiking

Great hike with my pup. Nice calm uphill clear to the summit with one quick 10ft incline (metal rung to assist). Steep uphill on the brook trail on the way back. Phenomenal views. Started around 630am so traffic was minimal. Really started running into people on my last mile. Would hike again.

View Austin's Recording
David Carp
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 2, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful Pretty steady Only big steps are at the end

View David's Recording
Anthony James
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 1, 2020
Hiking

Awesome hike

View Anthony's Recording
Mark Sluka
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 1, 2020
Hiking

Highly recommend but not for beginners. The ravine sections are pretty steep!

View Mark's Recording
Tyler Morrison
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 30, 2020
HikingGreat!Scramble

CAUTION DOG OWNERS: I would **not** recommend this trail for most people hiking with dogs. It's moderate for humans, but there are one or two specific scrambles that might ruin the day for your pups, unless they are… A) Incredibly athletic and fleet footed. B) Easy enough to pick up. We began our hike at the unmarked trailhead on Rte. 3, outside the entrance to Blackwoods Campground. The weather and trail conditions were perfect and the trail lives up to its "Moderate" rating. My wife and I brought along our 2 yr old Chow mutt who loves hiking and our 10 month old Great Dane puppy and everyone was having a blast for the first 75% of our ascent to the peak of Cadillac Mountain. However, there is one pretty substantial rock scramble in the last ~¾ mile that's a BEAST. We're talking about 8ft of elevation change in three hops. For humans, this isn't a huge issue in either direction thanks to the metal handhold drilled into the rock, but for dogs it could be VERY treacherous. Luckily, both of our adventure pups were able to climb it with a bit of encouragement, but we didn't feel comfortable asking them to negotiate that on the descent — especially as tired as everyone was. I ended up having to stay with our pups at a picnic table outside the gift shop while my wife basically ran back down the trail to retrieve our call. She's a super woman and everyone ended up the day safe and sound, albeit exhausted. 10/10 would recommend this trail as long as you plan ahead!

View Tyler's Recording
Lauren Bledsoe
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 26, 2020
BugsRockyScramble

Our hike up to Cadillac summit was pretty easy. A nice gradual incline doable for almost anyone including pups. It was very sunny today, most of the trail up is exposed so a hat and SPF is a must on sunny days. Trail was marked extremely well. Once at the summit we hit the gift shop for our national park stamp and a rootbeer. Perfect. meandered around the top briefly as crowds were just too much for me. Made our way down the Gorge trail to A-Murray and it was steep down for a while. Gorgeous views. It was steep down for a bit less than a mile then we hit the uphill climb-unrelenting. All the way down to the Canon Brook trail was steep. There are portions where the trail isn't marked well where I had to go ahead a bit and check for markers. We found it easily enough, you just have to pay attention. I would rate the trek down from Cadillac as moderate to hard. Hard for people who aren't used to the consistent steep uphill climbs. Very pretty trail. Very buggy today on the Canon Brook walking through the forest along the creek bed. I wluld definitely recommend this trail to anyone. Very fun, scenic and had a bit of everything.

Paul Dornfeld
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 22, 2020
HikingRockyScramble
View Paul's Recording
Luis Molgaard
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 20, 2020
HikingGreat!

Loved it. Like others have said if you do the loop the actual hard part is after you've reached the top. Going down was challenging. I got a little lost when I was on the Canon Brook trail that leads back to the southern ridge trail. (It was after I had climbed the steep granite section) So, just be mindful of the trail markers and download the map. I was lucky I had service so I just used google maps and my compass to get back on the path. Little side adventure for me...Took me a total of 5 hours as a young 20s male. This includes me hanging at the top for 45 min. Also, it gets windy/cold, but for me the wind and breeze felt nice. It wasn't icy cold for me, but it's summer so probably worse in the other months.

Chris Petrini
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 15, 2020
HikingScramble
View Chris's Recording
Robert Petkus
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 7, 2020
Hiking

Nice but we were unprepared. Got cold and extremely windy at the top. We were freezing in shorts and short sleeves like a bunch of idiots. Aborted before completing the full loop. Legs felt like noodles on the way down. Will eventually do again but leave earlier and wear better clothing.

View Robert's Recording
Cassandra Pallai
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 6, 2020
Hiking

Great and scenic path up, would rate the up leg as easy to moderate. If you avoid doing an out and back, following the Canon Brook trail on the way down, the downhill rock scramble and ensuing granite uphill is significantly more challenging. Overall very enjoyable!

View Cassandra's Recording
Heidi Pernia
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 6, 2020
Hiking

The first portion the trail up to Cadillac mountain offered great views and is easy to moderate and could be hiked by most with some level of fitness. Beware a lot of visitors at the top but you can use the restrooms and visit the gift shop if you like. The rest of trail was much more difficult and was moderate to hard. Involved a lot of climbing down rocks along a ravine for over a mile. This section is not marked well and cell phone reception spotty. After the ravine the trail goes up again a granite rock hill along the stream which was slippery and wet in places.This trail does require a good level of fitness to finish. We stopped a lot to take pictures and enjoy the view at the top and it took us about 5 hours for 2 fit adults and 2 teenagers. I would not recommend brining a dog on this hike. The granite would be tough on their paws and they would have great difficulty navigating the rocky section in places where climbing is necessary. Overall it was an enjoyable hike.

Roxane Debaty
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 5, 2020
HikingRockyScramble

I second everything Bobby R says—we are 2 27-Year olds who hike every Sunday and while the first piece straight up to Cadillac Mountain was a gradual uphill, the way down was a veritable jigsaw of rocks into a gorge and coming back up was an hour’s worth of scaling a (at times) slippery granite facade. However, with good hiking shoes and attention to where you step it’s totally doable and BREATH-TAKING.

Bobby R
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 4, 2020
HikingScramble

Beautiful hike. One of the best I’ve taken on the east coast. Varied terrain from taller pine forests near the base to open rocky clearings near the ridge line, capped by an awesome sweeping view of the bay from the summit. BUT I will say that this is definitely not a moderate hike in difficulty by my and my wife’s estimation. We are in our early 30s and exercise regularly and recently did an arduous 8 mile hike to Macchu Picchu and this hike was easily as difficult, not only due to the 7.5 mi/2100 ft elevation gain, but some of the terrain, including the descent from the Cadillac mountain summit, which takes you for an hour over boulders near a stream that were slippery and mossy. Would definitely recommend and do again, but would encourage people to think of it more as a difficult hike.

Isabel Martinez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 4, 2020
HikingRockyScramble

Beautiful trail, clearly marked, colllldddd for the first 3 miles ... worth the hike

View Isabel's Recording
Scott F
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 4, 2020
HikingNo shade

04Jul2020 Today was a cool 62F summer day with fog. The Cadillac South Ridge Trail is a well marked moderate hike with lots of great views along the way to the Cadillac summit, where you will find restrooms, water and a gift shop. Don’t forget a hat and sunscreen on hot/ sunny days since most of this trail is exposed to the sun. From the gift shop head right on the paved parking lot sidewalk, the Gorge Path post trail marker will be off in the distance on your right 3/4 of the way around the parking lot loop. This trail has a steep boulder decent, I rate it towards expert. Next trail marker turn right onto A. Murray Young Path, which is a nice moderate descent with peaceful water flowing along the trail with lots of tree shade coverage. The next trail marker is blindly on your right. Turn right onto Canon Brook Trail. This trail I would rate toward expert, it’s a steep incline with lots of steps and flat rock face slopes with water flowing down the slopes. Dangerous trail during wet conditions. At the top of the slopes look back for a great view. Next trail marker is where you have completed the loop, head left back onto Cadillac South Ridge Trail toward the trail head where you started. Overall this is an excellent hike with lots of great views with multiple challenges. Enjoy it! and B-Safe.

View Scott's Recording
Lawrence Coppin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 3, 2020
Hiking

Awesome trail. Very well marked. We took our Boston terrier who made it all the way to the top without any problems. Bring suncream as it’s quite exposed to the sun up on the slopes!

Ana Luiza Boiati Machado
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 30, 2020
RockyScramble

The place is beautiful, but please be aware if you are planning to do the full loop. If you are going clockwise the trails is mostly uphill, well marked and my group and I would consider it moderate up until Cadillac Mountain. After Cadillac things get harder. I wouldn't bring pets or kids and the second part of the trail should be considered hard. Going down in the rocks was challenging but the real challenge was to climb slippery rocks close to the falls. I don't know if the conditions were worse than usual, but it was really slippery. On top of that, the trail was not well marked and we had a hard time finding the right path at least 3 times. It took us 7.5hs to complete the full loop while we were expecting to complete it in about 4h.

Rob Campbell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 28, 2020
Hiking

Great trail to the top of Cadillac Mountain. It's easy to follow and there's a lot of cool scenery. Around 5 miles in there's another uphill leg that's a real thigh-burner. Highly recommend this trail

Darren McNamee
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 27, 2020

Nice Hike. Trails are well marked and maintained.

Mohamed H.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 20, 2020
HikingRockyScramble
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