Dan Hikes the Gorge Trail in Acadia National Park (Maine)

Gorge map

York is to the east of Portsmouth.  Notice how much of Maine lies north of Bangor.

Looking to break up my 215-mile drive from our home in York to Bar Harbor at the gateway to Acadia National Park, I stop off at the Armstrong Tennis Center in Bangor to play pickleball with these central Maine “experienced” players.

At the indoor courts, the cacophony of whacking plastic “wiffle balls” fills six pickleball courts is sweet music to my ears.  Within five minutes I am in a game of doubles with Lisa as my partner v. Mark and Doug.  “Experienced” enough to give them a decent game, I have just the pause from the road that I wanted after two hours of steady play.

Driving on an hour to Bar Harbor, I am primed for an afternoon of hiking with the Canadian, my friend Bill Buggie of New Brunswick, from our days at the University of New Hampshire.

Arriving at the Bar Harbor Motel just after noon, I chat up the hospitality worker, Kim.  In response to my question about hiking, she suggests the Gorge Trail, a family favorite.  On a sunny afternoon near 70F, it’s an ideal 2-3 hour hiking choice for the two of us, who coincidentally, are on either side of 70 ourselves.

Taking the Park Loop road, I squeeze my Toyota Prius into roadside parking for five vehicles.  Being the Thursday before Memorial Day Weekend, and still not in-season, we are ready for an afternoon dose of Vitamin N (i.e. Nature).

Crossing a small creek, we hike 0.2 of a mile to the Gorge Trail itself.  For ten minutes we have the sweet level dirt that allows us to walk side-by-side, catching up on our lives as “give it our best shot” parents, long-time husbands, quasi-athletes, and former classroom teachers.

Gorge 1 B on gorge trail

Bill creek crossing on the Gorge Trail

Gorge 1AA D on stones on gorge trail

Dan hiking in shorts and an IC tee shirt on the Gorge Trail

Skirting the Gorge Creek for nearly a mile, we hike the very manageable rocky assent that will lead us to Dorr Mountain.  Crossing the creek multiple times, we have granite steps of master trail builders at our disposal most every footstep of the way.  The climb through the gorge comfortably warms us as the ascent is never strenuous or risky.

Gorge 1A mini-falls on gorge trail

Eight foot cascade tumbling down the Gorge Creek


Gorge 1B steps of gorge trail

The artistic and functional steps of the Gorge Trail

Gorge 1C D on gorge trail

The mostly functional Gorge Trail hiker on a trail that was not as difficult as this picture makes it seem.

Reaching the intersection on this well-marked trail, we have Option A of scrambling up the steep and boulder-y Cadillac Mountain, a truly nasty skyward climb.  No fools, we choose Option B, the less severe mountainside to Dorr Mountain.  Slow and steady with some hand climbing, we summit guided by mountaintop cairns (piled rocks to mark the trail).

Gorge 2 stones to Mt Dorr

The less severe mountainside to Dorr Mountain

Gorge 2A view to Cadillac Mt

Looking to Cadillac Mountain from Dorr Mountain.  By the way, Cadillac Mountain is the first land in the continental United States that the rising sun shines on each morning.

Gorge 2B D and B on Mt Dorr

Billy and Danny on Dorr Mountain with the Atlantic Ocean in the background

Taking the North Ridge Trail down the rocky crag, we have sloping rock faces for ¾ of mile that have us shortening our stride and cramming our toes into the front end of our hiking boots.  As the heroes you know us to be, we just tough it out.

Gorge 3 smooth stones in descent

The toe crunching descent from Dorr Mountain


Gorge 3A B on descent

And the rocky descent coming down from Dorr Mountain

Completing this three mile loop in just over two hours, we are ready to chill with our game of choice (Scrabble) and our Robert Mondavi wine of choice (bourbon barrell cabernet).

Topping off our day in this Atlantic paradise, we walk a mile and a half into town to Geddy’s, where we celebrate a mountain well-climbed with their primo Burrito Grande.  (You may be thinking, Dan, no seafood in this coastal town?  I’ve got to say I’m not a fan of le lobstere or les clams.  My roots in Arizona have me pining for Mexican food any time I can get it.)

Gorge 4 Geddy's


11 thoughts on “Dan Hikes the Gorge Trail in Acadia National Park (Maine)

  1. The photographs and views from Acadia are stunning. So are those amazing stones that get you across the creeks!

    Did you stay overnight?

  2. Pingback: Dan Hikes Around Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park (Maine) – over60hiker

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