Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Gorham Mountain Trail

Bar Harbor, Me   High: 77  Low: 57

This is an 1.8 mile total out and back Acadia hike to a 525 foot peak. There are fantastic views to be seen once you get to the top! But first, you have to find the trailhead, located on the Park Loop Road, turning left at the sign for Sand Beach. Follow the Park Loop Road for about seven miles. The trailhead and parking lot are just past the Thunder Hole area.

sample cairn at the top of the summit of Gorham Mountain
This was a cool, historical trail, marked by special historic cairns, which are stacked stone trail markers established in the style of Waldron Bates, an Acadia pioneer for the trail system. Cairns are the traditional, historical way to mark trails where there are no trees. Bates, back in the 1900's established cairns that have a distinct look to them....Like this one on the right....

You see this cairns all over the place all over the country--at beaches, on mountains, anywhere where there are rocks. They can be small, they can be tall.  People build them for fun, but sometimes they cause problems if people add them to the trails or mess with the ones that are already there that were made for hikers. People move the rocks, change them or reassemble them. Acadia is trying to discourage people from building them or tampering with the existing historical ones. Hikers depend on these for direction. Bate's cairns have a certain style with indicator rocks placed on a "bench" to mark the way. Acadia is hoping people will respect these historical cairns, as they are trying to re-establish them on the historical trails and they have mounted a campaign, "Leave no trace behind"--as in "leave the landscape alone"-- as part of their message.

Gorham Trail is considered a "moderate" trail by the park service. That means mild changes in elevation, and some physical effort to complete the hike, like climbing over rocks or uneven footing. A moderate trail also is traversed in about an hour to an hour and a half, says the park service. Uneven footing is definitely the case on this hike! The start wasn't too bad....

It starts to get rockier and wetter very shortly....If there has been rain lately, which we've had....

It may be a short hike, but you are climbing steadily to the top of Gorham Mountain. We used our hiking sticks and saw some spectacular scenery along the way to the top.
As you are climbing, you see the ocean and hear the buoy bell. Cool! We also saw what looked to be blueberries, but apparently, they are another berry called "bunchberries." At the intersection of the Cadillac Cliffs Trail coming into the Gorham Trail, there is a marker/plaque for Waldron Bates, the guy who developed the basic cairn style seen at the park.

You know, it's hard work getting in shape and staying in shape, but see how it pays off?....And Acadia is a great place to do that, with all the hiking and biking the carriage roads.

There's a lot of boulder climbing along the way....
But look what awaits you as you near the summit.....And we are not even at the top, yet!
Now we are, and here's what everybody does when they get to the top....Sit and admire the view! Once you get to the top, you can see Egg Rock Lighthouse and Frenchman Bay....We met this family at the top and the little boy just had to be the king of the mountain. He's pictured underneath this photo.

Sparky can't resist calling this photo below, "Kid Rock"....He was an energetic cutie, scampering all around the rocks and beating us back down the trail for part of the way. He was curious about our hiking sticks, asking why we used them. We later heard him on the trail on the way down tell his dad, "Old people don't have very good balance, do they, Dad." Nope, we don't!

To complete the hike, you can return the way you came (we did, the old knees were creaking a little!) or tack on another side trail a little further on the trail and add the Bowl Trail, the Beehive, or a loop back on the Ocean Path. We got enough exercise for today, it was getting late in the day, so back we went, retracing our steps...It was an AWESOME hike today....Short but sweet!


  1. What a wonderful hike!!! I find coming down the steep trails as hard, if not harder, than going up. I always lengthen my walking stick to help more on the way down:o)) Congrats on a good job...

  2. That looked like a pretty hard trail to me...and a great place to break an ankle. Pretty views from the top though. Glad to see Eldy along this time :)

  3. If that's a moderate trail, I really have trouble imaging what a hard one would be - (maybe the chains to hold on to). Since I broke my ankle and ruptured my achilles tendon, I am so leery of walking on rocks. But thank you for making the hike and taking such great shots.