1-Minute Hike: Parkman Mountain in Acadia National Park

By Sarnacki, Aislinn | Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME), March 4, 2015 | Go to article overview

1-Minute Hike: Parkman Mountain in Acadia National Park


Sarnacki, Aislinn, Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME)


Difficulty: Moderate-strenuous. The hike to the summit of Parkman Mountain is about 3 miles up and back, including the short walk on the carriage roads to the trial. People often make it into a loop hike by also visiting nearby Balf Peak and descending a trail on the south side of the peak for a hike that is just a tad longer. The trails are rocky and fairly open to the elements much of the way. There are several steep sections.

How to get there: Drive onto Mount Desert Island on Route 3 (Bar Harbor Road). At the intersection after the causeway, veer right onto Route 198 and drive 4.3 miles; veer left onto Route 198-Route 3 and drive 3.9 miles and turn left into the Parkman Mountain Parking Area, just before the road passes Upper Hadlock Pond (also on the left).

Information: Parkman Mountain rises 941 feet above sea level on the east side of Somes Sound on Mount Desert Island and is one of the many scenic hiking locations of Acadia National Park. From its slopes, hikers can enjoy wide open views of the mountainous island and the ocean beyond.

Starting at the Parking Mountain Parking Area, follow the wide path past an outhouse and into the forest. The path soon meets a carriage road, a wide recreational path used by hikers, bicyclists, horseback riders and skiers. Turn right and walk a short distance on the carriage road until you reach an intersection. Turn left and walk along the carriage road for about 0.25 mile and you'll see a cedar post sign for the Parkman Mountain Trail on the left.

The sign states that it is 1.3 miles to Parkman Mountain summit and 1.5 miles to Bald Peak.

The trail climbs to cross another carriage road, then heads into an evergreen forest and up the mountain. Painted blue blazes on trees mark the trail, which ascends gradually with a few steep areas. Views open up early on in the hike as the trees become more stunted.

As the terrain opens up, the blue blazes are painted on the bedrock rather than on trees. Therefore, if you're traveling the trail in the winter, you will likely lose the trail near the top of the mountain because snow will cover the blue blazes on the bedrock. Nevertheless, the first half of the trail makes for a nice short winter hike with stunning views.

About 0.75 mile up the trail, you'll meet a trail intersection between Parkman and Bald Peak, according to the second edition of "Hiking Mount Desert Island," a pocket guide by Earl D. Brechlin. If you turn left, you'll soon reach the summit of Parkman Mountain at 941 feet above sea level. If you turn right, you'll soon reach the summit of Bald Mountain at 974 feet above sea level.

If you want to visit both peaks and make it a loop hike, go to Parkman Peak first, then Bald Peak. From there, you can descend finish the hike on a trail that travels down the south side of the mountain. The trail ends at a carriage road, where you'll turn right to hike along the carriage road back to Parkman Mountain Parking Area.

An interesting fact: Parkman Mountain used to be called Little Brown Mountain. George Dorr, the park's first superintendent, renamed it Parkman Mountain in the early 1900s. In fact, he introduced new names to several peaks on the island in an effort to draw attention to historical figures, according to "Pathmakers: cultural landscape report for the historic hiking trail system of Mount Desert Island" by the National Park Services. Parkman Mountain is named after Francis Parkman (1823-1893), famous historian and author.

Dogs are permitted on this hike if kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet at all times. Pet owners are responsible for removing all pet waste from campgrounds, picnic areas, parking lots, roads and other developed areas. While the trails up Parkman Mountain are OK for dogs, some trails in Acadia are not recommended to pets and some trails are closed to pets altogether. To see this list, visit www.nps.gov/acad/planyourvisit/pets.htm.

All visitors to Acadia National Park are required to pay an entrance fee upon entry May through October. …

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