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Acadia National Park Highpoint - Cadillac Mountain - 1530 ft

20 Jun 2017, 12:00 pm. National Park Highpoint #10.

Our plan for this day, was for Dave, John, Tom, and I to warm up for Kahtadin by climbing Cadillac Mountain, the highest point in Acadia National Park, via the steepest trail, the Cadillac West Face Trail. The forecast was for poor weather.

We drove to the parking lot at the north end of Bubble Pond, and got ready for our hike. We crossed the north end of the pond, continued to the trailhead, and started up the trail marked with blue blazes. The trail soon had a bit of Class 3 climbing, which was followed by a lot of sloping granite slabs. The rock was very grippy, which was welcome as quite a lot of it was wet, and some parts of it were a bit exposed. As we gained elevation quickly on the steep trail, we had some good views to the west, of Bubble Pond down below. Before too long, the slope lessened as we reached the top of the ridge, and some cairns marked the trail.

At this point, we were shrouded in clouds. When we reached the South Ridge Trail, we turned left, and headed to the summit, still following blue blazes. The summit, a modest rocky area, is reached before you get to the road and the main viewpoint area. We did not go on to the viewpoint, since with the clouds there would be nothing to see, and we were not interested in crowds. We took some photos of the true summit, had a break and some snacks, and then started back down.

We first retraced our steps on the South Ridge Trail, this time heading south, through thick fog, until we reached the Canon Brook trail. There was a large group of hikers near the intersection, who we could hardly see through the fog. We turned right at the intersection, and started steeply down the Canon Brook Trail. This trail seemed to be less heavily traveled, we saw no other hikers on it. Large parts of the trail were covered by running water, at times it seemed like we were walking through a streambed. But despite the water and the steep descent, this was a much less exposed and treacherous descent than the West Face trail would have been. The Canon Brook Trail intersects the Carraige Road, but before the intersection the trail turns left and parallels the road. We cut off some of this by bushwhacking 50 yards or so to the road, then turned right, and followed the old road back to the parking lot.

Dave, Tom, and John crossing the slopey slabs on the West Face Trail, with Bubble Pond below.

Me on the summit of Cadillac Mountain. The antenna near the high point is barely visible through the fog.

The view from the summit was not especially entrancing in the fog.

Later that afternoon, after some relaxation in Bar Harbor, we drove back into the park, up the Cadillac Summit Road, to the official viewpoint. It was quite windy, but the clouds had finally cleared, and the view down to the ocean in the late afternoon light was outstanding. From the viewpoint we could see the communication tower near the true summit, which was clearly higher than the viewpoint area, but we felt no need to return to the true summit, but instead just enjoyed the bay views, which we had missed on our summit climb. This pleasant stop made a nice counterpart to the more rigorous hike earlier in the day.

Bay view from the top of the Cadillac Summit Road.


Hiking Acadia National Park, Dolores Kong and Dan Ring, 3rd edition, Falcon Guides, 2016.