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Precipice, Orange and Black and Champlain North Ridge Trail Loop

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Acadia National Park

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 is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from May until October.

Length2.1 miElevation gain1053 ftRoute typeLoop
HikingNature tripsBird watchingForestViewsWild flowersWildlifeRockyScrambleFeeNo dogs
Description
Waypoints (5)
Facilities
Contact
Getting There

Acadia National Park charges a fee to enter. Fees are $30 per vehicle or $25 per motorcycle. If you are entering on foot, horse, or bike the fee is $15 per person. You can also purchase a park specific annual pass for $55. The trail is closed between March 15 and August 15 due to falcon nesting. Please consult the park's website before visiting: https://www.nps.gov/acad/planyourvisit/conditions.htm 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.

Precipice Parking Area is located on the one-way loop road before the East Entrance Station. Trail may be closed up until mid-August due to nesting Peregrine Falcons... once the chicks are able to leave the nest the trail is opened. Parking may be an issue as even though there are ample spaces, this is a very popular trail in season. WARNING: This area is part of Acadia National Park proper, and even though it is located before the entrance station, you MUST have a park pass, or there is a good chance you WILL BE TICKETED. No restroom facilities at the trailhead.

Acadia National Park P.O. Box 177 Bar Harbor, ME 04609-0177 207-288-3338

Getting to Acadia: From Boston take I-95 north to Augusta, Maine, then Route 3 east to Ellsworth, and on to Mount Desert Island. For an alternate route, continue on I-95 north to Bangor, Maine, then take Route 1A east to Ellsworth. In Ellsworth, take Route 3 to Mount Desert Island. Getting to the trailhead: Trailhead is on the east side of Mt. Desert Island. From Hulls Cove Visitor Center take the park road to the one-way loop road (take left just before the road to the top of Cadillac Mountain). Go a few miles and the trailhead will be on your right (well-marked) BEFORE the entrance station.

Weather
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Reviews (1371)
Photos (1649)
Recordings (975)
Completed (2889)
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Taylor Burns
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Hiking

Always a magnificent trail. Best to do it on a dry day. Not long and you're rewarded with magnificent views East across the Schoodic peninsula. Go with at least one friend!

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Gene Porcelli
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Hiking

Short but extremely exciting hike/climb. Not recommended for beginners. If you want a good scramble but this one scares you, try Beehive. I made a video on YouTube of the hike, just search Maps With No Roads on YouTube if you want a look at what the trail is like.

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Morgan Peterson
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HikingGreat!

A one of a kind thrilling trail. I’m not going to lie I had a mental breakdown crying 3 times but it was so worth it. As long as you go slow on the bars, focus and ensure your footing you will be fine. I am overweight but I do exercise frequently and I was fine on the trail. You do need some upper body strength to pull yourself up. We did this in October and the leaves were falling which made the rocks slippery. You definitely need hiking boots with grips. The hardest obstacle was the first intimidator one. It doesn’t get harder than that. Good luck and enjoy this crazy experience!!

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Alex Katz
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Hiking

So fun! A bit scary and challenging at times but so worth it!

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Cassandra Sauceda
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Hiking

Definitely not as bad as some other people described. Be sure to bring gloves if you’re hiking this time of year because the bars are super cold to the touch and your hands will be freezing by the time you get to the top.

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Jamyn Edis
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HikingGreat!

Sheer terror

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Elisa Oliver
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HikingGreat!

Needed a little extra confidence on the wet rocks, but got stunning views all the way up. Short hike but worth the challenge.

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Julia With.a.y
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HikingGreat!

Based on reviews here we expected this trail to be harder and scarier, but it was definitely not as bad and views are definitely worth it! Seemed like the view got better the higher we climbed, and as long you have decent sneakers and not afraid of hights you should be fine given that there were metal rods to hold on to almost everywhere. Probably one of my favorite hikes in New England!

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Ivan Kokoulin
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Hiking

Awesome climbs and stunning views

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Ling Luo
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Hiking
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Ayush K
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Hiking
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William Joyce
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Hiking

Great trail, challenging in multiple places but the view is amazing. Highly reccomend this. If you have a fear of heights my advice is just remember that gravity always works the same and keep sure footing!

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Tom Jager
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HikingRockyScramble

My girlfriend and I took the day off work to do this trail and a couple others. Halfway through the climb I had wished that I was at the office instead... my mind changed by the end though because the views make it totally worth it. This trail has my respect. It is much tougher than Beehive, but a real thrill throughout that is mentally and physically challenging. The rings are placed pretty well, however a couple spots that might require a little creativity. I’m 6’3 and I would get through differently than my 5’5 girlfriend. Strongly recommend hiking shoes. If you have a pack make sure it is snug since a couple of spots could swing it around the side of your body and throw off your balance. Overall, a lot of fun and my favorite hike in Acadia!

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Johnny Yong
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I did this over 10yrs ago, and I thought it was relatively easy. Not for people who fear heights. Hold on tight!

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Sid Jain
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Hiking
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Brian Jansen
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Very cool, but definitely not for the faint of heart (and a couple of iron rungs have broken recently). Worth noting it is (according to Acadia National Park) maintained as a "non-technical climbing route" rather than a hike, and that means some sheer drops, narrow footholds, gripping rocks, etc.,. Wicked view, though, hell of a good workout, and a manageable challenge overall. One note is that this particular route involves descending part of the route, which Acadia doesn't recommend (and is more challenging than the ascent). To avoid, you can veer off at the Orange and Black trail for an easier trek down to the Acadia Loop Road, where you can walk back to your vehicle.

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Derilyn Gregory
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Hiking
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Chandlie Stratton
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HikingGreat!Scramble

I did this trail the second week of October. I was at the trail head before the sun rose and reached the top around the time the sun came up. This trail at sunrise was breathtaking. There were also hardly any people. Favorite trail in Acadia. 

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Nathan Wolitarsky
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Hiking

But slippery on the granite coming down. Otherwise, great!

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Ben Tseytlin
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Hiking

First obstacle is most physically challenging and a good test. As you get higher it does get mentally difficult due to steepness. Very fun and rewarding trail.

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Tim Van Nort
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Hiking

Great hike! Would have given 5 stars if I was able to enjoy the views, unfortunately for me the day we did this hike there was some heavy fog, although it was pretty cool with a feeling of hiking and climbing the ladders in the clouds. Not too difficult, if you’re comfortable on a ladder you’ll be fine

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Lisa Keevill
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HikingGreat!Scramble

Amazing hike!!! Been hearing that it’s harder than Beehive (we didn’t get to it due to weather conditions), but just have confidence (and a solid grip) going up on the iron rungs and you’ll be good to go! Definitely keep a close eye out for the markers and rungs, as I almost took my boyfriend and I off the side of the mountain at one point. Incredible views along the way and at the top! Also, we accidentally took the trail back down the way we came which was very strenuous, so follow the loop path down.

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Lee Collins
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Rock climbingGreat!MuddyRockyScramble

The most challenging climb in Acadia. A good indication of your technical ability to get through this trail it how well you get past the first metal rung. The maneuvers with the metal rungs quickly change from a challenge of skill to a mental fear of heights. I do not recommend this trail if you have a fear of heights. Please be aware of the weather before you plan to hike Precipice as rain or ice on the trail/rungs will make it nearly impossible to safely navigate the steep path. If you are up for the challenge there are some great views along the way and you’ll be proud of what you accomplished once you reach the top.

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Jessica Trzaski
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Hiking

Amazing!! Give yourself enough time to take in the views and make your way down. We got back right before 6pm and it was getting pretty dark real fast. Iron rungs and ladder made the hike very thrilling!!

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