It was a cool, windy day when I took this hike on Sept 16, 2011. There was a bit of a chill in the office but once on the trail the cool air was very refreshing.
The 2.4 mile hike is an out and back and starts off with a walk through the woods. Soon you come to a granite stone path. It is remarkable to think that all of these perfectly shaped stones, that are quite heavy, were placed here by the people that built the trail over 100 years ago.
The stone trail becomes steeper with stairs and switchbacks until you reach the plateau at the top of Huguenot Head. Although a good hike, it does not seem like you have climbed so high so fast. Already the scenery is breathtaking.
After a short walk through a valley you come to the second half of the ascent. At this point it becomes more of a rock scramble as you climb Champlain Mountain. After the initial steeper rock sections it becomes more of a climb up a smooth large section of granite until you reach the top of Champlain Mountain. At this point you are very glad you stuck with it. The vistas are amazing! The view over Frenchman Bay is beautiful.
The top of the mountain is also the place where you end up if you climb the Precipice Trail or the Bear Brook Trail. After enjoying the view, the descent down the trail is relatively easy, just a few steep areas to watch your footing. The entire hike took about three hours and that included an hour at the top. I definitely recommend this hike for anyone in average condition. I hope to do it again soon!
The trail is located 2 miles outside of Bar Harbor travelling toward Seal Harbor on Rte 3. The parking area is just beyond the Sieur de Monts entrance to Acadia National Park. The entrance to the trail is a little beyond the parking area and across the street.
Ship Harbor Nature Trail
Ship Harbor Nature Trail is a relatively easy hike with some inclines and a few areas where you climb over some larger rocks. The 1.3 mile trail forms a figure 8 and can be taken to the left or the right at the initial fork. There is an intersection in the middle where you can again choose left or right.
We went on the left going out and came back along the shore. The hike starts off like a woodland path with a few mild stair sections and a couple of rocks to climb over. At the end the pink granite shore is very peaceful and a great place to spend some time.
The path back along the shore is a bit more aggressive but still relatively easy. The scenery along the harbor is very peaceful. A small stairway on the way leads down to a pink granite beach in the harbor.
The entire hike took us about 2 hours and half that time was spent enjoying the scenery.
Ship Harbor Nature Trail is 4.2 miles down 102A after you pass Southwest Harbor.