Beech Cliffs Ladder Trail

The trails in Acadia National Park are numerous and offer a variety of settings and challenges for the day hiker. One of these features I had heard about are the Ladder Trails. The more popular ones are the Precipice and the Bee Hive trails, but there are also two more, Dorr Mountain Ladder Trail and the Beech Cliffs Ladder trail on the quiet side of the island.

It took me a while to feel comfortable hiking solo on the trails of Acadia National Park. Not so much for personal safety from others, but rather I was concerned that if I hurt myself along the trail that I wouldn’t be able to get help. The cell service has improved from the interior of the island from previous years, still a little spotty but most certainly better than before. Also, on the lesser used trails, there is invariably someone else out there discovering their own adventure.

So for this trip I’ve decided to venture out on the trails, and so far I’ve gotten out four times. Each trail offers different things, whether it’s seaside, lakeside or mountain side, each one is charming in its own right.

As with many trails here, many are root and rock filled so paying attention to each footstep and keeping your balance helps from taking a tumble. I usually hike with a pair of hiking poles, but as I’m carrying a camera on these adventures, the poles have stayed at home and I’ve taken the challenge to work on my balance. This time I lightened my load and brought my Olympus OMD EM1 Mark II with 12 – 100mm Pro lens. I use a cross body strap so that the camera is easily accessible.

Parking at the end of Beech Cliff Road in the Beech Cliffs parking area, I began the hike going down the mountain, first on the Valley View trail, then connecting to the Canada Cliffs trail the ends at the Echo Lake Parking area. One can also start this hike at Echo Lake and go up the ladder portion first then return back on the Canada Cliffs trail. Overall it’s a short but challenging 2 mile hike with a 400 foot elevation gain.

Going down the mountain was great. Peaceful, serene, green, beautiful..easy. Going up the mountain was much more difficult. It was a hot and humid day and it began to suck my energy quickly (didn’t help that I’m fighting a cold). Luckily I had packed a small lunch and plenty of water, so I refreshed myself before the cliff climb as indeed, there are four metal ladders that are to be climbed to get up to the top.

Yes, I climbed that.

The trail was beautiful along the way and I stopped to marvel in its beauty (to catch my breath)

One thing that was an incredible surprise was the stunning views the overlooks offered on this section of the trail. Overlooking Echo Lake, Acadia and St. Sauveur Mountains, Southwest Harbor and Greening Island and off into the distance the Atlantic Ocean the view is truly spectacular. Even better were the plentiful wild blueberry bushes at the top. A mountain bonus!

This is a wonderful and challenging hike with fabulous views that make it well worth the effort. Come to the quiet side of the island and enjoy the mountains.

7 replies »

  1. Well done for venturing on your own, Emily. You’re a very brave lady indeed. I love the idea of those ladders and I think I would really enjoy that hike. Lovely photos, as always: hard work brings its own rewards.

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