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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, rock climbing, and nature trips and is best used from May until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 7.5 miles Elevation Gain: 2,247 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

forest

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

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.

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.

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!

hiking
3 days ago

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.

hiking
rocky
scramble
4 days ago

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.

hiking
scramble
4 days ago

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.

hiking
rocky
scramble
4 days ago

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

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.

hiking
5 days ago

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!

rocky
scramble
9 days ago

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.

hiking
11 days ago

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

12 days ago

Nice Hike. Trails are well marked and maintained.

hiking
rocky
scramble
18 days ago

Did this for sunrise. Spectacular views after sun came up. Started trailhead at 2am. Reached summit at 4am, just me and black lab. Made it 48 minutes before official sunrise and predawn sky was amazing. Well marked trail which was great as it was very dark & relied on headlamp for entire hike up. Had a tough time helping my 85# dog up the 1 iron rung, we went around on way down using short walk around on road. Did eagle crag on the way down. highly recommend the hike.

hiking
19 days ago

It is open. We got an early start to avoid the afternoon heat. Great hike with tons of money views. Well worth the angry legs!

hiking
25 days ago

This trail is open (we went June 13, 2020). Really good hike with great views and water features.

hiking
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

This hike is for those is search of beauty. It is only sleep at the very beginning and the has a ladder near the top. Once you leave the tree line you have spectacular views from every vantage point. I had heard the park was closed. I called the park and the recording didn’t say the park was closed, the signs and recorded message said the Acadia facilities were closed. Was pleased to be able to hike in my favorite place ANP.

hiking
blowdown
muddy
rocky
2 months ago

One of my favorite hikes. Although Acadia is technically closed (thanks COVID), this trail is available on the outskirts. Some blowdown from recent storms but manageable even with our dog. This trail does have a one point towards the end that dogs would need assistance with (steep rock with rungs), so unless you’re able to physically lift them, use the road to finish the trail to summit. Ice wise the trail is clear. Bring a windbreaker, much of the trail is exposed and pretty windy.

hiking
3 months ago

Fabulous hike through forest then opening up to exposed granite for much of the second half. Sunny path with beautiful views of ocean and islands along much of the trail. Most of the ice is gone. Did not need spikes.

Great hike. Be warned that it’s pretty much impassible without some form of spikes in the winter. Half of the hike is very exposed so I would recommend having something to break the wind. I’d also suggest hiking the loop portion in clockwise fashion.

hiking
rocky
5 months ago

I recommend this trail for those seeking beautiful views, a strenuous workout, and the sense of accomplishment that comes along with the completion of a trail of this caliber. The trail is lengthy but the benefit of its length is that during the hike one will encounter distinctive forms of scenery throughout the entirety of the trail. The trail may take longer than expected given various obstacles including large rocks that require climbing over and occasionally, a lack of trail markers. There are numerous forms of wildlife that one can expect to see with this trail. Given the amount of time that it takes to complete this trail and the challenge level, I recommend starting the hike early as well as packing sunscreen, sunglasses, an adequate amount of water, and a map.

hiking
snow
5 months ago

Snowy day but we did It anyway. Great trail, well marked even in the snow. Starts gradually, and then it gets rocky and moderately challenging. Lots of roots in the beginning and some wash out here and there but that’s expected. Some rock scrambling. But there were many carins to ensure our path was easy to keep on. Would love to do it again in the fall. Yacktrax helped a lot with ice.

hiking
rocky
scramble
8 months ago

challenging

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