13 Easy Hikes in Acadia National Park: Best Acadia Trails with Kids

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There are so many fantastic easy hikes in Acadia National Park that it’s hard to choose the best hikes in Acadia! This list compiles some of the best to give you a taste of various ecosystems and landscapes so you can enjoy the best of Acadia National Park with kids (or without!). We hope you enjoy these easy Acadia hiking trails!

easy hikes in acadia national park

Tips for Hiking Acadia Trails

Here are some tips before heading out on Acadia National Park hikes:

  • Pack plenty of water for Acadia trails, especially in the summertime. While the cool coastal breezes may disguise it, the sun can get quite strong so be sure to stay hydrated. We love this water bottle and this water bottle for adults. This hydration backpack for kids is a favorite. (Also available here.) My older kids LOVE this water bottle, and this and this are our favorites for toddlers.
  • Pack a good rain jacket or poncho when participating in Acadia National Park hiking. Quick storms are common and everyone will be happier if you have some sort of cover up. I love this long and waterproof rain jacket for women, this men’s rain jacket, and this kids rain jacket. Or these cheap ponchos are also great for travel, especially if the weather is warm.
  • We like to have sturdy hiking shoes when hiking in Acadia National Park for the often rocky and rugged terrain. My kids My kids love these hiking boots, and these are my favorite hiking boots for women and men.
  • Pack sunscreen and insect repellent for Acadia hiking! These are good to have on hand in any season. I LOVE this sunscreen because it smells amazing. I also love this kind for kids – it’s great for sensitive skin. This is my favorite facial sunscreen for myself. We like this bug repellent in areas that don’t have a high prevalence of disease-carrying mosquitos (we use Deet in Zika/dengue/malarial areas).
  • Take advantage of early mornings. Mornings are the best in the Acadia because they tend to be much less crowded.
  • Considering purchasing a National Parks annual pass in advance. The Acadia National Park entrance fee is $30, and the annual pass is $80. If you’ll be visiting some other parks during the year, it might be worthwhile to purchase the pass. And here is info on how to get a free annual pass if you have a 4th grade child!
  • Leave the area better than you found it. Be sure to follow good conservation practices while on hikes in Acadia National Park. This includes packing out ALL food and trash (including peels and anything biodegradable), never feeding wildlife, keeping a safe distance from wildlife, staying on marked trails, etc. Look for more info in the park booklets and signs! The Junior Ranger booklets are also filled with great information on protecting and preserving the parks.

13 Easy Hikes in Acadia National Park

All distances are round trip.

Beehive Trail Acadia or Bowl Trail (Highly Recommended)

Distance: 1.5 miles; 1.2 miles
Elevation gain: 508 ft; 400 ft
Accessibility: Not wheelchair- or stroller-accessible

This is our favorite Acadia National Park hike and truly one of the best hikes in Acadia. The trail itself is fairly short – under 2 miles round trip. But it’s amazing for adventuresome hikers and intrepid families. There are a number of exposed cliff faces that provide spectacular views.

The biggest draw of the Beehive hike, though, are the various stone staircases and iron rungs built into the side of the mountain. It’s so fun and definitely a bit of a challenge, so be careful and consider carefully whether any kids with you are up to the challenge in terms of fear of heights, following directions, and risk tolerance.

We did end up doing the Beehive hike Acadia with a baby in a carrier, but just make sure to keep them close and steady, as well as any little ones walking on their own. This trail is also a good and less dangerous alternative to the Precipice Trail, which is steeper and more exposed (and also typically closed in spring and early summer for peregrine falcon nesting).

Bowl Trail Option

Alternatively, if you’re exploring with younger children or those who don’t like heights, you may want to consider hiking up the back via the Bowl Trail instead of climbing the rungs and ladders of the Beehive Trail. You’ll still have the same incredible view at the end, but without nearly as much risk.

The Bubbles (Highly Recommended)

Distance: 1.6 miles
Elevation gain: 515 ft
Accessibility: Not wheelchair- or stroller-accessible

Enjoy one of the best hiking trails in Acadia National park with stunning views of Jordan Pond as well as the surrounding mountains on this quick trail that’s great for families. Expect some steep sections with steps. The North Bubble has even better views, but don’t miss the fun rock formation on the South Bubble, making it one of the best easy hikes in Acadia National Park.

Bar Island Trail (Highly Recommended)

Distance: 2.1 miles
Elevation gain: 216 ft
Accessibility: Not wheelchair- or stroller-accessible

Bar Island Trail is one of the iconic Acadia hiking trails. For a little over an hour before and after low tide, a sand bar appears connecting Bar Harbor and Bar Island. Kids will love exploring small tide pools and ends with views of the town through one of the best easy hikes in Acadia National Park. Keep a careful eye on the time, as if you get stuck on the island, you’ll have to wait about 9 hours for the next low tide!

Wonderland Trail (Highly Recommended)

Distance: 1.3 miles
Elevation gain: 78 ft
Accessibility: Not wheelchair- or stroller-accessible

Another great one to choose for great Acadia hikes is the Wonderland Trail Acadia. Kids who love sea creatures will love the opportunities for tide pooling on this beautiful Acadia National Park hiking trail. They’ll love tidepooling at low tide – just be careful with water swells and gentle with any sea creatures you find. Even at other times, it’s a pretty walk out to the water with plenty of rocks and shells to examine along the way.

Jordan Pond Loop (Highly Recommended)

Distance: 3.1 miles
Elevation gain: 42 ft
Accessibility: Not wheelchair- or stroller-accessible

Jordan Pond is one of Acadia’s most iconic spots, and this easy and flat loop around the pond showcases the best of it. Keep in mind there are some planked boardwalks as well as some uneven areas. You can also combine part of this trail with the South Bubble for a 1.5 mile and moderately strenuous hike.

Gorham Mountain Loop

Distance: 3.5 miles
Elevation gain: 583 ft
Accessibility: Not wheelchair- or stroller-accessible

This is one of those amazing Acadia hiking trails that is filled with panoramic views of the coast and mountains, and also involves some time next to the coast. It’s a great hike to experience the diversity of Acadia’s treasures. You can also switch to the Cadillac Cliff Trail for one section if you choose, which does involve rungs and ladders.

Beachcroft Path Trail

Distance: 2.1 miles
Elevation gain: 951 ft
Accessibility: Not wheelchair- or stroller-accessible

This is a great trail for beautiful views of Mount Desert Island and Frenchman Bay. Kids will love the granite steps – just watch the weather and avoid when wet. Beware that it gets steep and rocky near the end, but you’ll be rewarded with sweeping vistas.

Great Head Trail

Distance: 1.8 miles
Elevation gain: 265 ft
Accessibility: Not wheelchair- or stroller-accessible

This is a great hike for kids who enjoy a bit of scrambling. You’ll also enjoy beautiful coastal views and forested area, and have the opportunity to enjoy Sand Beach, as well. There are some steep drop offs, so keep little ones close by. It’s an especially great Acadia hiking trail in the fall, with beautiful foliage views (part of why we recommend Acadia in the fall in our best National Parks by month!).

Ship Harbor Trail

Distance: 1.4 miles
Elevation gain: 65 ft
Accessibility: The first loop is ADA compliant. Second loop is mostly flat with occasional log framed steps and plank trail. Restrooms (vault toilets) at trailhead are not accessible.

This short and flat trail is especially great if you have bird lovers in your crew. There are plenty of chances for kiddos who love climbing to scramble on rocks, or you can stick to the flat path if you prefer. You’ll find lovely views with several different habitats. Add it to your list of easy hikes in Acadia National Park!

Ocean Path Trail

Distance: 4.5 miles
Elevation gain: 374 ft
Accessibility: Ocean Path is accessible from the upper parking lot of Sand Beach to Thunder Hole. From Thunder Hole to Otter Point the trail becomes uneven and granite staircases help bring the trail past Otter Cliffs.

Experience some of the best views of Acadia and some of the most famous stops on one of the beloved easy hikes in Acadia. The trail from Sand Beach to Thunder Hole is 0.7 miles and accessible and a terrific way to experience both while enjoy the views in between. (The trail gets rockier past Thunder Hole to Otter Point, but the cliffs are also stunning and well worth walking to if you are able.) It’s a beautiful way to see the rocky coastline. This trail follows the road, so it’s also possible to enjoy the views on a scenic drive.

Cadillac North Ridge Trail OR Cadillac Summit Loop Trail

Distance: 4.2 miles; 0.5 miles
Elevation gain: 1128 ft; 52 ft
Accessibility: Not wheelchair- or stroller-accessible

Take a jaunt out to the highest point in Acadia National Park as well as the highest point on the entire eastern seaboard. You’ll enjoy gorgeous views of the entire surrounding area, especially at sunrise and sunset – though beware it is especially popular during those times, as well. It’s one of the best trails in Acadia National Park!

Alternatively, consider driving to the summit instead and taking the flat, paved 0.5 mile Cadillac Summit Loop Trail to explore the summit area. Note that advance reservations are required to drive up to the top during the summer months.

Jesup Path & Hemlock Path Loop

Distance: 1.7 miles
Elevation gain: 42 ft
Accessibility: The Jesup Path and Hemlock Path Loop is mostly accessible. Both trails are mostly level. The boardwalk is wide enough for a single wheelchair. There are accessible bathrooms across the parking lot from the trailhead.

If you’re looking for the best trails in Acadia, be sure to enjoy this boardwalk figure-8 loop that explores the Great Meadow. The beautiful white birch forest and interpretive signs are perfect for families with kids.

Bald Peak and Parkman Mountain Loop

Distance: 2.4 miles
Elevation gain: 741 ft
Accessibility: Not wheelchair- or stroller-accessible

Though reasonably short, this Acadia National Park hike with kids is fairly strenuous so best reserved for families who enjoy a challenge or who’ve had some practice hiking. You’ll get to summit not one, but two mountains with beautiful ocean views. Be aware of slippery granite during wet weather.

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