Precipice, Orange and Black and Champlain North Ridge Trail Loop

HARD 742 reviews
#6 of 179 trails in

Precipice, Orange and Black and Champlain North Ridge Trail Loop is a 2.1 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Bar Harbor, Maine that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October.

Distance: 2.1 miles Elevation Gain: 1,049 feet Route Type: Loop

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

bird watching

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

no dogs

The trail is closed between March 15 and August 15 due to falcon nesting. The Precipice Trail is a difficult and very steep loop trail using iron rungs and ladders on exposed cliffs providing spectacular views of Acadia National Park. The trail opens after nesting Peregrine Falcons leave the nest. The hike is not recommended during wet conditions, or if you experience vertigo; also not recommended for small children.The trail starts up steps and through some boulder scrambles. While officially a non-technical hike due to strategically placed iron rungs, ladders and rock ledges, this is really a climb that requires you to be able to navigate some tricky spots by pulling yourself up (e.g. the very first example of this might even be the hardest). If you are careful and pay attention, this will be a great and thrilling experience. Leave hiking poles behind, as you won't need them and they'll just get in the way. One of the very best short hikes in Acadia, similar to what you get on Katahdin's Knife Edge.

Awesome trail! Went up Precipice and down north ridge to orange and black trails for a loop. Ice in some spots made for a little slower travel but micro spikes not needed. Great 360* views from the top!

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

Loved this trail, however a LOT harder/scarier than I had anticipated after doing Beehive the previous day. I did it in sneakers but would have been more enjoyable in hiking boots. There are a lot of ledges and iron rung ladders and scrambling. No matter how much i was freaking out while scaling the side of this mountain, the view at the top made it worth it!It was quite cold at the top after resting. The way down via Champlain North Ridge to Orange and Black to loop road was much easier and faster. Highly recommend if you can get over the whole potential of falling to your death thing!

hiking
1 month ago

Be advised this should be taken for experienced hikers on vertical cliff ascent as ladders from the rock are the main course with small ledges occasionally along the way. not good for persons with fear of heights. This trail does provide amazing views if you enjoy this type of ascent. Caution when wet as it gets slippery. You can take the orange/black route if you want to get the views from the top of champlain mountain without the vertical ladder climb to the top. I am giving it 4 stars only because I did have some issues with safety along the way. But I can say it was the most accomplished id felt in a long time after completing this hike!

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

WOW - gorgeous, feel like we hit this trail at the perfect time. Amazing fall colors and minimal people. A fun scramble/climb to the top with unbelievable views the whole time. The rocks do get slippery even with proper footwear so be aware. Hands down favorite hike in Acadia.

hiking
1 month ago

This is my favorite hike in the park (so far). I love the challenge/obstacle course that the vertical climb provides. The climb is tiring pretty quickly and is a good bit tougher than the Beehive Trail climb. Be VERY careful if it's wet out!

hiking
scramble
1 month ago

hiked this one after a decent overnight rainfall event. Started at the trail head about 10a and much of the rock had dried but not all. you can do it. bring shoes with good traction! beware leaves on the ground! be diligent about foot and hand holds! the nps has installed some very useful railing. with some caution this is a very challenging and doable hike. totally worth it.

hiking
1 month ago

One of the most challenging and rewarding trails I’ve ever done. Bring water.

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

Two playful, thoughtful, crazy trails with stunning views and unforgettable routes. Do it as an adventuresome date with someone you want to laugh with! I suggest nice weather to enjoy the exposed vistas as you climb and to avoid the wet rungs on Precipice, but misty would be cool as hell as well.

So fun! Not as hard as other reviews claim, iron rings are placed well and once you get what footing and hand placement will work best it’s totally doable for anyone.

Such a beautiful and thrilling hike! Took my partner and I about 3 hours to do the loop, with several quick stops and a snack break at the top. Definitely a hike that requires being on all fours at times and planning your steps carefully. We absolutely loved it. The fall colors are incredible!

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

In a word: exhilarating. Calling this a “trail” is hogwash, though. This is a pile of rocks, narrow ledges, and iron rungs that happen to lead to a summit. DO NOT attempt this trek if you are afraid of heights, or are not an experienced hiker/climber. Wear hiking boots or hiking shoes- no sneakers. There are two sections of narrow ledges with a massive drop behind you- you scoot along the ledge while holding onto an iron bar that is drilled into the rock face in front of you. Don’t look down! I would not have been able to complete this trek without the assistance of my husband- I am 5’2” and he is 6’2”. At least 5 times I had to use his bent knee to reach the rung or ledge up. If at any point during the first half mile you feel uncomfortable, TURN AROUND. The last .5 mile to the summit is where all the action happens- all ledges and ladders! At a certain point during the final half mile, you CANNOT safely turn around, and have to keep going up. Don’t push yourself if you are concerned at all with your ability to complete the climb- there are several alternate routes to the summit. Be safe, people! Take pics!

This is definitely not a trail for people with a severe fear of heights. It will be challenging if you have some fear but it's definitely manageable. Probably the best hike I've ever done though. Amazing views and sense of accomplishment once finished!

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

One of the best hikes I have ever done. It was too foggy to see the view during my hike.

Straight up on climbing bars, some are gone in places, walking on cliff edges, more of a mountain club than a hike. If you still want to summit without this part take the South ridge trail up and the North ridge trail down. Accidentally went all the way down Orange and Black to the road instead of merging back down the Precipice and had to walk the half mile back to the parking lot. Crappy day, 1/10 weather. Got down before the storm rolled in but there was 0 visibility from the top unfortunately. NO DOGS OR KIDS!!

hiking
scramble
1 month ago

Lots of reviews that scared me because I am only 5ft. Height recommendations were at least 5’3”. I would agree: Don’t hike alone if you are less than 5’3”. You will need a helping hand; but it is doable and with proper caution, it won’t be much different or more difficult if you were taller. I have sweaty palms so I used gloves for some gripping onto the rungs. Some obstacles were easier for me because I am shorter (bf is 6 ft). Be calculated. Plan your footing before you go for it. It is relatively safe, but many variables that can make the experience different or more difficult. Views during the hike and at the summit are spectacular. You will have rewarding views while climbing the rungs, or boulders and not only at the summit. Have loads of fun!

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

Super nice trail - challenging, but doable! It was too foggy to see anything from the top, but I still think it was worth it. I would only do this in dry weather to avoid problems with slipping though. We did the hike starting at 7.50 and were back at the car 3 hours later - it was perfect because going down the last part of Precipice we met A LOT of people going up whereas we had it all to ourselves!

hiking
scramble
1 month ago

Precipice trial. Amazing trail. A bit technical on rock faces. Not for those afraid of heights. And not for those that are not fond of rock hopping and/or scampering. The trail was quite busy. Come early! As early as you can. This weekend of Columbus Day 2019, the crowds were out of this world. Crazy. It was like August out there. Bring water and for those that sweat a lot, an extra set of shirts/tops. I descend via the north ridge trail. Very easy descend. Do not try to descend the precipice the same way you come up. It’s really not suited for going down. All the metal hand holds imbedded in the rocks were designed for going up. Not down. It took me 1:45 to finish. I started at 9:15 am. I was slowed a bit. I say count on 2-3 hours depending how busy it is.

Best hike in the park! The views, the challenge, the reward... do it early because this is also one of the most popular hikes and by mid-day it’s heavily trafficked with a lot of bottlenecks.

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