Precipice Trail

HARD 342 reviews
#3 of 148 trails in

Precipice Trail is a 1.4 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Bar Harbor, Maine that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from August until March.

DISTANCE
1.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
931 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

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 out and back (or 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.

hiking
18 hours ago

This happened to be my first hike in Acadia. Was fun and also the fact that there is no going back helps - you just climb and finish it! :)

hiking
1 day ago

This trail was amazing! Noted as the most dangerous trail in Acadia National Park, the Precipice Trail is not recommended for children, those who are afraid of heights or anyone out of shape. Trail is nearly all vertical, ascending more than 1,000 feet. It is almost a mile straight up, easy in the beginning and gets more and more difficult the higher you go. Mid-way you begin using ladders to ascend, then for the last third of the climb it is all iron rungs drilled into the side of the mountain, overlooking sharp cliffs! The scariest hike I have ever been on, but totally worth the time and energy!

2 days ago

Great hike, definitely recommend it for the able bodied. I’m hardly the most in shape but was able to do this hike with breaks. Get here early (before 10AM) so you can find parking and avoid the big crowds. I took the long way down through Champlain north ridge and then making a right on Orange and Black trail. I took it all the down to the road and caught the bus back to the parking lot. You can also walk along the road back to the parking lot. Total time for 3-3.5 hours at a leisurely pace, stopping to snack.

hiking
6 days ago

One of the most incredible hikes I’ve ever done! It is certainly challenging and not good for those with a fear of heights... but an experience not to be missed! Once up, it seems safest and the best idea to go down north ridge and then black/orange trail.

hiking
7 days ago

This was a great experience! I am excited to share it with my family (of adult children)!

hiking
10 days ago

The more difficult bigger brother of the Beehive Trail. This trail has so much upper arm work between the ladder rungs and the boulder climbing to get to the top. If you are afraid of heights there are a few skinny areas I wouldn't recommend looking down. This is a full body workout kind of trail but it is so much fun! For sure an experience you don't want to pass up.

hiking
14 days ago

Beautiful, adventurous hike with incredible ocean views on top. The cliff walks are amazing. You have to go under the rocks too at one place. This has more iron rungs than bee hive trail. Really loved this one and want to show this to my friends when I visit next time. I came down via north ridge.

18 days ago

Come early as the trail got pretty crowded when we went in the late morning. This definitely isn’t the type of trail where you can pass people at will as parts of the trail are straight vertical. Great views towards the end as the cliffside exposes you to a great view of Bar Harbour as well as all the Porcupine islands

hiking
18 days ago

great trail. lots of climbing. awesome views

19 days ago

Crazy fun and thrilling. Don’t do it backwards I did it that way today with 2 more friends was not a very good idea. Demands high skills and balance if done revers, not with the risk.

23 days ago

Hiked this back in July- don’t head down the rungs, just up them! Great way to ease my fear of heights. Amazing views.

hiking
24 days ago

Ladders and rungs are correct. Challenging hike. Poles will get in the way. Really foggy when I went.

rock climbing
25 days ago

I did this hike by myself as part of my me time and I REALLY LOVE IT! It was HARD but very satisfying type of hard lol.

I started hiking around 8:30am which was a great time because there wasn’t so much traffic. Take your time and enjoy every challenge and adrenaline rush you get on this trail and enjoy the view instead of “I can’t wait to see the top” kind of thing. Take snacks and some electrolytes lol. I only took a water bottle and I forgot snacks and I didn’t eat breakfast too

hiking
26 days ago

Incredible views, and definitely a sense of accomplishment when you get to the top!! The way up is difficult but there are places to stop and take a breather along the way.

hiking
28 days ago

“Wow” is all I have to say. You will feel so accomplished once you reach the summit. The views are incredible. This hike is HARD. Definitely need to wear proper footwear. Pace yourself going up! There are a lot of iron rungs and dangerous situations so beware. Definitely not for the faint of heart or if you fear heights. If you want to give it a go and try the trail and you can Hess back down the much easier orange and black path. Very rewarding though. Type “precipice trail” in google maps and it’ll take you right to the parking lot.

28 days ago

Potentially my favorite hike I’ve ever done. The views are so gorgeous the entire time with just enough danger to keep it interesting.

hiking
1 month ago

Did this hike in the thick of tourist season (2 days ago) and it's very popular so be warned. Ended up having to wait as a family climbed up with a guide who didn't leave way for folks to pass so there was a backup with many of us having to wait after each segment for at least 25 minutes. Minus the waits, did this hike in about 35 minutes (incl summit to Champlain Mountain). Precipice Trail technically ends before Champlain Mountain and you can choose to head down the Orange/Black trail or continue on to summit.

This is listed as a hard hike, but if you're an avid/experienced hiker this is definitely more on the moderate side in my opinion (but this is based on comparing it to previous hikes I've done). Combination of rock scrambles, rock steps, and iron rungs/ladders as you gain in elevation over a short distance is what makes the hike intense for some. If you aren't comfortable with heights, be warned that you'll be on cliff edges at some point (with iron rungs to hold on to) but nevertheless, this isn't for the faint hearted. You get great views as you eventually get above the trees, but the best views are if you continue onto Champlain Mountain. Bring a hiking trail map to figure out which way down is the best depending on your plans. If you end up on the other side of the mountain and miss the Orange/Black trail (like me and a couple did), you can take the free shuttle back to the parking lot no problem.

hiking
1 month ago

Intense, fun, and amazing. This was an awesome trail. With it's steep 1 mile climb to the top after bouldering for 1/2 mile this is something to be proud of when you complete it. The trail is well marked and well maintained. Tracked 3.3 miles doing the small loop back to the road then down the road back to the parking lot.

1 month ago

Amazing hike. I did it with my two younger sons. Would recommend not to do the hike if you have anybody under the age of 10.

hiking
1 month ago

Excellent, but need to be in decent shape and have a sense of adventure. As others have said, do not take kids and you must wear hiking shoes. One in our group has on running shoes which supported him fine but the soles were torn up by the end. This is climbing and rock scrambling more than a hike. We got there at 9am and found parking, but trail was starting to get crowded. Views from the top were amazing, also a nice breeze and perfect picnic spot to rest at the top. We came back along North Ridge to Black & Orange which meets up with the bottom of Precipice back to the parking lot. If you are tired, I'd suggest just taking the .2 Mile trail down to Park Loop Rd and walking back along the road. Orange & Black is all rock stairs, up and down, along the side of the mountain. Not easy after the climb up. This is one of the most difficult trails I've ever hiked, a bucket list hike for sure.

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail for boulder scrambles. There are definitely a few sections that aren’t for the faint of heart. If you fear heights, take the Orange & Black path to Champlain Ridge Trail

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail. I went early to beat the crowds - 5:30am in the summer - worthwhile, as it most likely backs up with traffic due to the amount of ladders and tight spaces.
Definitely more of a climb w/ Great views at the end for reward.

rock climbing
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

The hike was challenging but well worth the effort. Amazing views always Ng the way and at the top!

hiking
1 month ago

Sweet Scramble Hike! Myself, my bride and 12 and 9 yr old boys. Boys loved it. Couple of areas of exposure made them a bit nervous, but steel rungs to hold onto proved to be the support they needed. Took a little over an hour to the top and we took the ridge trail down.

hiking
1 month ago

This was crazy cool, fun, and challenging. I was stupid and tried to do it alone. Some hikers asked that I join them so I did. Do it at your own pace and it’s totally fun. Some parts are “scary” but it’s totally in your head. Wear good hiking boots.

1 month ago

sketchy for sure. lots of exposure. don't do if you are scared at all. don't take little kids. not worth the risk. but def one of the coolest hikes I have ever been on. took the loop to beehive and back to the beach. if u like a little adventure don't skip this. you will love it

1 month ago

The trail is open. We hiked on July 24 and it has been open for a while. Very hard climb. Definitely hard.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike if you don't mind heights or climbing vertically up rungs. The views on the way up and at the summit are fantastic. I went up Precipice, down Beachcroft, and then walked two miles back to the Precipice trail head. Maybe not the best way to do it, but Beachcroft is a nice easy trail to take down.

Also, while I saw a lot of people climbing in running shoes and sneakers, I highly recommend good hiking shoes.

hiking
2 months ago

Must have been in better shape when I did this vs. my Monadnock hike because while difficult, I was not as tired...

Certainly a hard hike though. The heights were ok with the rungs to hold onto but still a bit frightening.

A wonderful end to my first vacation on MDI.

Load More