Hiking in Acadia National Park in the peak of fall colors — it’s hard to beat that anywhere else in the NPS. Last week we shared a post about The Ocean Path, one of our favorite trails in the park. Today we’re posting about the Jordan Pond Path, another hiking gem in Acadia.
What did we love most about the trail (and think you will also?)
- A mix of packed dirt trails, carriage roads, and some wooden boardwalk.
- Easy hiking and a good route for families with kids.
- Start and end at Jordan Pond which has ample parking and restrooms
- Great views of the fall colors, a few of Acadia’s iconic bridges, and of course, Jordan Pond.
Planning to Hike Jordan Pond Path
About The Trail
The Jordan Pond Path is a loop trail in the central part of Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park. As the name suggests, the trail travels around Jordan Pond, offering visitors the chance to experience the peaceful Maine forests and inland lakes that attracted so many to Acadia in the first place.
Trail Distance: 3.3 round trip with options for spur hikes off the Jordan Pond Path.
The park service describes the trail as having limited elevation gain and well-packed for easy hiking. The trail can be very busy during
The trailhead for Jordan Pond Path is the parking area for the Jordan Pond House. The parking area can be very busy in the summer, so consider taking the free park shuttle to the trailhead. You can find the trail easily by heading from Jordan Pond House down to the shore of the lake and following signs in either direction.
We hiked the lake clockwise, although there is no preferred direction to hike. This gave us some elevation gain on the western side of the lake and then mostly flat terrain and marshy forest on the north/east sides of the lake.
- Hiking in Acadia National Park: The Ocean Path Trail
- 25 National Parks Like Acadia
- Camping in Acadia National Park: The Blackwoods Campground
- Acadia National Park Recap
- How to Plan the Perfect Maine National Park Road Trip
When to Hike The Jordan Pond Path
Given that Acadia is one of the most popular national parks in the United States and that it’s a small space, sometimes the trails here can feel crowded. The National Park Service notes that the Jordan Pond area is especially popular between 9 am and 3 pm when the park’s shuttles carry the bulk of the visitors. If you want to hike with fewer crowds, go out early or later in the day. Or travel to Acadia in the shoulder seasons (early May or mid-October).
Jordan Pond House is famous for its outdoor dining. While we didn’t take advantage of it during our stay in Acadia, you may decide to add afternoon tea and popovers along with your stroll on the Jordan Path Pond. If that’s the case, be sure to make reservations in advance.
Stops Along the Jordan Pond Path
As you’re trekking along the Jordan Pond Path, be sure to keep your eyes open for these Instagram-worthy stops along the way:
- The Bubbles – Before you depart on the trail, look across the lake and admire the Bubbles. The North and South Bubbles are two of the most prominent mountain features in the Jordan Pond area. The North Bubble (left when you’re standing at Jordan Pond House) stands at 872 feet. The South Bubble is slightly shorter at 766 feet.
- Carriage Road – If you haven’t spent time on one of Acadia’s carriage roads yet, this is your chance. On the western side of Jordan Pond, a carriage road will take you north towards the other end of the pond. It’s a gorgeous view of the Bubbles and the lake as it sits slightly higher than the lakeside trail. We recommend spending some time on both.
- Jordan Pond – Be sure to stop at several points along the trail and admire Jordan Pond. At 150 feet, it’s Acadia’s deepest and clearest lake. It’s also the second largest lake in the park at 187 acres. Jordan Pond is the public water supply for parts of Mount Desert Island, so wading, swimming, and pets are prohibited in the pond.
- Carriage Road Bridge – As you reach the northern edge of the lake, the trail will offer an opportunity for you to view one of the park’s famous bridges. There are 16 total bridges in the park, all built for the carriage road system between 1910 and 1930.
Watch for Wildlife
Be sure to watch for signs of wildlife along the shores of Jordan Pond. Many animals stop here for the water and will use the path as the easiest means to travel in the area. When we were there, we found lots of signs of beaver activity in the area.
Where to Stay when Hiking Jordan Pond
There are two options for lodging near the Jordan Pond Path.
For anyone looking to camp in the park, try the nearby Blackwoods Campground. We’ve written here before that the Blackwoods Campground is the perfect place to use as a base camp for an extended hiking itinerary. There is no backcountry camping available in Acadia, so Blackwoods is your best choice in the area.
If you’re not camping in Acadia, it’s best to use the gateway towns of Bar Harbor, Seal Harbor, or Northeast Harbor for lodging options. Small bed and breakfasts, inns, and larger hotels are available in these communities. By far the most options are in Bar Harbor, although Airbnb and vacation rentals are available throughout the Mount Desert Island area.
For our full itinerary of the area, check out our park summary:
Acadia National Park Recap