Champlain Mountain Hike

It was a beautiful bluebird day when Jess, DD and Willow set off to Acadia National Park to hike Champlain Mountain. The initial plan was to hike in the White Mountains and bag another winter 4,000 footer, but the weather down south was iffy. So we opted for a lighter day in Acadia, which we consider our backyard. Bonus, we can “sleep in,” meaning we don’t need to leave until 9:30 am. It usually takes us about an hour to get to Acadia and depending on where we park it could take a bit longer.  For this hike, we parked near Sieur De Monts, off of Route 3 and crossed the road to the trailhead. We chose this trail because we could access it easily with the Park Loop road closed. The road is closed Dec – April.

Capture

We packed up and started in because brr!! it was cold. But once you get moving, you get hot and it wasn’t long before we needed to remove some layers. The trail begins with a series of stairs and is pretty unique. There’s a lot of granite to take in –  the rock walls are fascinating. There had to be a lot of volunteer hours donated to this trail because there are so many placed stones guide you up to the summit. The trail is said to have been built as a memorial trail – named after the estate of the Bar Harbor summer resident who funded construction- and was built over 100 years ago. We encountered practically fall like conditions on the trail, complete with fall leaves. This trail is known for switchbacks.

This trail is a nice challenge and so pretty. If you’re looking for a shorter hike, it has a nice trail to take up to a granite overlook (Huguenot Head) that overlooks The Tarn, Dorr Mountain and has a pretty cool view of Route 3. It has a great perspective with nice views and a great trail for kids or dogs.

We took a short break to check out the views, then continued our trek towards the summit. Our journey was a bit more difficult than normal because of the slippery conditions. The snow and ice had melted because we had highs in the 40s-50s this week – so the rocks were pretty slippery. It was a bit stressful and we needed to bushwhack at some points, but that’s all part of the thrill of hiking, right?  The next part of the trail was pretty strenuous, which is why you don’t see many photos. It’s pretty much straight up the rock face, no boulders, just incline with scrambling required.

We took some time to enjoy the bluebird skies and that we were alone at the summit – this is why we hike. There are great views of Frenchman’s Bay from the summit.

It was pretty windy up top as you can see and we had already planned for lunch and bloody marys at one of our favorite spots – Side Street Cafe – so we decided to head back down because we were hungry!

We stopped for a quick Go-Pro photo shoot at Huguenot Head. I have too much fun sometimes. I love the remote feature of my GoPro and I don’t use it as often as I should.

The descent down the steps was a bit more fulfilling than the climb up. You could really stop and take it all in on the way down. The landscape is different than what you typically see in Maine – this is why Maine never ceases to amaze me.

Here’s another really cool article, it tells more about the history of this trail, and shows the boulder that I am pointing to above. “This is the location of one of the often-shown pictures of George Dorr, the first superintendent of what is now Acadia National Park.”

We capped off our adventure with AMAZING bloody marys and lunch at locally owned (like most businesses in Maine) Side Street Cafe, which is open mostly year round. They are open for lunch and dinner. Great ambiance, service, and selections. Definitely, check it out when you visit Bar Harbor!

Trail Stats:

Length: Approximately 2.2 mile loop

Elevation gain: 994 feet

Summit: 1,058 ft.

Time: Approximately 10:45 am – 12:45 pm – 2 hours or so, depending on how often you stop for snacks and photos. It is a very beautiful trail and I would plan for lots of photos.

Gear: Nothing overly special for this hike – we didn’t need our spikes. Although, we could have used a bit more traction with the wet rocks. Gloves were a necessity and wool socks, but you can probably assume that if you’re hiking in the winter :)! I wore some Old Navy Performance Fleece under my overly awesome cat shirt that my sister sent me. It’s pretty windproof, so it was a great choice. I always love my polar fleece ear warmer headbands from Mato + Hash – I have them in every color available. Long Johns and water resistant leggings and the gloves were from my Cairn box. (OB-SESSED.)

References:
Maine Trail Finder

Joe’s guide to Acadia

REI Hiking project – cool stats!

Well, that’s all for this adventure! Until next time…

Love + Light from Maine –

DD

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