The Precipice Trail, Acadia National Park

Distance: ~1.6 mi (2.6 km) round trip
Highest elevation: 1,058 ft (322 m)
Elevation gain: 958 ft (292 m)
Date: November 24, 2010

The east face of Champlain Mountain.  The Precipice Trail goes up this.

The Precipice is perhaps the best and most challenging trail in Acadia National Park.  The trail ascends nearly 1000 feet up the vertical eastern face of Champlain Mountain.  I did this hike on a chilly and windy November day when there only a couple other people in the park and none on this trail.

The trail along the cliff face

The trail begins at the Precipice trailhead on the Park Loop Road south of Bar Harbor.  The trail begins gaining some elevation for a short distance until you reach the bottom of the cliff.  Next comes the best part of the hike when you reach ladder rungs inserted into the granite of the cliff.  You also have to  walk along several narrow exposed cliff edges, only a few of which have railings, in order to reach each following set of ladders.

The view from about half way up the Precipice

The views from this trail are fantastic and are well worth it.  During my visit the prevailing winds were coming from the west, so the lack of wind and plenty of sun made for fairly pleasant hiking conditions on the ascent.  But I quickly reached the summit where the wind was drastically stronger.

A puddle at the top of Champlain Mountain

I decided not to descend the Precipice but rather follow the Bear Brook Trail down the gentle north slope of Champlain Mountain.  Before reaching the bottom of the Bear Brook Trail I turned east onto the Champlain East Face Trail and then took the cutoff to the park road.  I followed the road a short distance back to the trailhead because much of the Champlain East Face Trail has been closed for several years due to earthquake damage.

The view north from the Bear Brook Trail




© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.







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