Pilgrim's Inn

Panoramic view from rocky mountaintop, with water and distant islands, and a couple resting on a rock in distance taking in the view

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Wonderland Trail, and More, in Acadia National Park

Scott and I get to enjoy Acadia National Park when it is very quiet, during the time when Pilgrim’s Inn is closed. We have had some fun day trips hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and just driving around, stopping to take photos. A stay at Pilgrim’s Inn makes for a great day trip to Acadia and back.

Here are some hikes we like, and some other tips too!

  • No matter what you do and where you go, the park is wild, but most likely you are not. The weather can change quickly. Please be smart.
  • Know your ability, wear layers, check conditions in advance.
  • Pack layers, water, snacks, first aid kit, bug spray.
  • Charge your phone. Tell someone where you are going.
  • Spend some time on the NPS Acadia National Park website. You can learn so much. Its more than just the views. This is America’s most accessible National Park!
  • In 2021, NPS will require advanced, online vehicle reservations to reach some areas of Acadia National Park.
  • Please be aware that some areas are breeding grounds for birds and animals, and do close during breeding season. This may affect your visit. Either way, Acadia National Park is huge, with so many great things to see and do.

To start out easy, Wonderland Trail features woodlands, lichen, moss and granite. This out and back hike rewards hikers with with rocky shoreline to explore before heading back. It is located on the lower western part of Mount Desert Island, not too far from Bass Harbor. It’s a quieter spot with a charming, winding drive to get there. The Trailhead parking is located on Route 102A. Wonderland Trail is about 1.5 miles round trip. It is an old gravel road, but Scott and I snowshoed it so we didn’t know that! There is little elevation change. It is family-friendly, easy hike. Be sure to take in all the flora and fauna, there is much to be discovered along the way!

Next up, in the moderate to strenuous category, is The Beehive Loop Trail. You will find amazing panoramic ocean views from the top.  It is approximately 1.5 miles, but climbs 450 vertical feet via rock stairs, metal ladders and rungs, and boulder scrambling. This is a popular trail. Go on a sunny, dry day. The Beehive is located across the park loop road from Sand Beach, so you will need a vehicle reservation to get there.

One Thanksgiving Friday, we decided to venture out for a big adventure, to hike The Precipice Trail. I kind of thought Scott was crazy to suggest this one, as I tend on the clumsy side. But we gave it a go and it was exhilarating. I felt like I had earned some serious hiking cred!

The Precipice is a strenuous hike, about a mile,  and 1000 vertical foot rise up a cliff face. At the top of Champlain Mountain, you can rest, relax, soak up the sun and fresh air, and take photos of the vistas over Frenchman Bay. You don’t go down the way you came up. The North Ridge Trail takes you on a much milder route back down, which is approximately 2 miles. The upward part of The Precipice is a challenge, but doesn’t require climbing gear. You will climb rungs and ladders, cross narrow ledges, and likely encounter some slippery terrain.

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