The Precipice Trail

Acadia National Park, Maine

Distance0.8mi
Elevation Gain1,398ft
Trailhead Elevation105ft
Top1,053ft
Elevation Min/Max105/1053ft
Elevation Start/End105/105ft

The Precipice Trail

The Precipice Trail is a hiking trail in Hancock County, Maine. It is within Acadia National Park. It is 0.8 miles long and begins at 105 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 1.7 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,398 feet. Near the trailhead there is a parking. The trail ends near Champlain Mountain (elevation 994 feet). This trail connects with the following: Orange & Black Path and Champlain North Ridge Trail.

The Precipice Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"A short, rugged hike up a cliff to the summit of Champlain Mountain. The Precipice is an exhilarating but challenging climb, even more difficult during wet weather or in ice and snow. Dogs are not allowed, and the hike is difficult for children. General location: Near the Sieur de Monts entrance to Acadia National Park, Mount Desert Island."

"A dramatic and strenuous cliff climb to the top of Champlain Mountain, this is arguably the most difficult trail—and one of the most spectacular—in all Acadia.

Signs caution that the unprepared have been seriously injured or died on this trail; heed the warning.The trail may be closed during peregrine falcon nesting season, spring through late summer, but you may be able to participate in a peregrine watch instead."

The Precipice Trail Reviews

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8/20/2009
Great trail. Have not seen many trails like this in New England area. Fun climbing the rungs and there are a couple of hairy spots where there are no rails. Really a worthwhile experience.
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8/29/2008
Really fun! Not too long (no more than 2 hours to summit). Great views from top. Loved the man-made ladder features. I felt like a mountain goat living on a cliff! Advice to others, though: Don't descend the precipice trail, only go up it, then walk down on one of the ridge trails.
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8/12/2008
This is a must hike. Don't leave mt desert island with out doing this one not for over 50 years of age
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10/26/2007
Best trail in Acadia. Go on a dry day and be prepared to climb to the top. Afraid of heights don't try it not much room to turn around.
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9/10/2007
I loved this hiking/climbing trail, one of my favorite climbs ever. However, this trail can be traumatic to those afraid of heights especially on a clear, fogless day. I would only recommend this trail to those fearless of heights and would not recommend this trail to those with small children. Otherwise, get ready for an adrenaline rush.
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8/4/2007
Excellent exhillerating trip up on a crystal blue morning 6:30 am. One of my favorite climbing trails, not for people afraid of heights on a clear day! My whole family did trail with me.
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8/7/2006
Excellent Trail... amongst the best I have ever climbed. Strenuous for sure, and not for those with any fears of heights, but a great challenge with breathtaking views that get better and better as you go up. The trail opened up again in early August after being clolsed for 6-7 weeks to allow for the Peregrine falcon nesting. Seeing the falcons was a bonus just prior to setting out. 4 babies and the 2 parents were still in the area but will be expected to depart by September. Climbing with my 10 year old son, we took 65 minutes with reasonable 2-5 minute breaks every 10-12 minutes for photographs and water on the way up and 25 minutes for the descent and another 15 minutes to return along the loop road. We came down the Bear Brook trail which although excellently maintained is now a bit tainted as it descends straight toward the Jackson labs which resemble a shopping mall from above and disrupts an otherwise pristine view of Acadia Bar Harbor, and Frenchman's Bay. The other downside of this descent is the mile long walk back along the park loop road. Leaving the car south by the sand beach and the "Beehives" and descending via the bowl would likely be a more enjoyable route. This trail would require significantly more caution when wet as the footing is along stone and even iron rungs, braces, and ladders frequently.
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3/21/2006
What a thrill! If you are not afraid of heights and want a challenge, this is it. Going up was not as bad as what I feared, with iron rungs in place when you needed them. Returned the difficult way by the East Face Trail. It is a LONG rewarding way to get back to your car, almost as challenging as going up.
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6/24/2005
Excellent climb, but without gear. Incredible views and some fun going down a sheer face. People do fall from this "trail" and a couple have died. Just be smart about it and don't hike it when slick.
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12/24/2002
In Acadia National Park, there are plenty of magnificent views to be had as well as plenty of people with whom to share them. Looking for the road less traveled, my Mom and I chose this hike to avoid the crowds and slow walkers. Listed as "strenuous" on the park''s trail list, this hike requires moderate fitness and appropriate clothing that allows flexibility (i.e. jeans are a bad idea). More of a non-technical climb, the base of the trail is covered with large boulders requiring you to jump from boulder to boulder to avoid very slow going. Further up the trail, sheer rock faces are made climbable for the novice rock jock by the addition of ladders and wrought iron rods hammered into the mountain. Narrow ledges also must be maneuvered in order to reach the mountaintop. These features combined with fantastic views of the surrounding cliffs, park and waterways make this hike a must for any adventure seeking Acadia National Park visitor. For those less inclined towards the adrenaline rush, an easier but longer alternative trail is available that wraps around the mountain. This second trail has a gradual gradient and easy slope good for going down with exhausted mothers.
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The Precipice Trail Photos

Trail Information

Acadia National Park
Nearby City
Acadia National Park
Parks
Difficult
Skill Level
Acadia National Park
Local Contacts
USGS Acadia National Park and Vicinity Map
Local Maps