Precipice Trail

#3 of 126 trails in Acadia National Park

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The Precipice Trail is a difficult and very steep out and back (or loop) 1.8 mile RT trail using iron rungs and ladders on exposed cliffs providing spectacular views of Acadia National Park.

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Nicholas Pouliot (67)

2 Completed2 Reviews

Molly Demoss (111)

2 Completed2 Reviews

C R (36)

1 Completed1 Reviews

Michelle Rozich (348)

5 Completed1 Reviews

My favorite hike at Acadia!

Kerry Fields (97)

15 Completed1 Reviews

One of the most exciting hikes I have been on. No special equipment needed just be ready for a rigourous and mentally trying trail.

Robert Starkey (168)

17 Completed7 Reviews

Short but intense hike. Went up a year ago with my 18 yr old son and was amazed by the people we saw going up this trail. What I mean is unprepared hikers. This is not a hike for sandals and footwear of that sort. This is a hike for more experienced hikers. And a very good one!

Allison Palmer (47)

2 Completed2 Reviews

Please note: Precipice Trail is open from October through December due to habitat restoration, specifically for the Peregrine Falcons (only 3 nests exists on the island, one of which is along the Precipice Trail). Our group was unaware of this trail closure (a park policy since 1991, apparently). However, we were encouraged that Park priorities are to preserve animal habitats rather than guest recreation in this case.

Antonio Perez (187)

7 Completed3 Reviews

Tony S. (1431)

J.r. Libby (752)

11 Completed10 Reviews

The Great Cave Trail may of been one of the closest kept secrets of Champlain Mountain in Acadia National Park, yet thousands pass it without ever knowing its there, just off of the Precipice trail. . Very old maps had the words THE GREAT CAVE printed on them, but the words were not placed where the cave is. and years of searching both in libraries and on line, not a single photo could be found of the cave. In fact, only a few accounts exist that even talk about the Great Cave. I was beginning to wonder if perhaps the stories of such a Great Cave were just a myth.
Than everything changed after I began posting about the Great Cave on my website, LOST AND ABANDONED TRAILS OF ACADIA NATIONAL PARK. A visitor to the site read about it and set out to find the cave - and he succeeded. Not only did he find it, for the first time that I know about, he uploaded photos showing at least what the entrance of the Great Cave looks like, and it is as large as the stories told, with an opening rising close to 100 feet, and the cave goes about 100 feet into the mountain side. The Great Cave of the Precipice does in fact exist.
So how does one go about finding a great cave that has remained hidden for many years? First you have to get to the Precipice parking lot in Acadia National Park. Do this by getting onto the ONE WAY section of the Park Loop road. Drive until you see large signs for the Precipice parking lot.
Now begin your hike up the Precipice trail, don't worry, your not hiking the entire Precipice trail - your only hiking the lower part.
You don't go very far before you come to a huge boulder with two or three iron hand rails in it to help you up over it. The story of this one boulder is interesting - some say the trail was made to go over this boulder to weed out the less experienced hikers, because that group usually turns around and heads back to the parking lot after encountering the boulder. The park service even has a special name for that boulder, they call it THE TURN AROUND.
Once your over that boulder, your almost at the abandoned trail. Continue until you come to a talus or boulder field. At that point the official trail goes right, and the abandoned Great Cave trail goes left. Follow the talus field to the left, at an angle as it heads toward a break in the woods above. The further you go, the rocks get smaller. Once you reach the break in the woods, there is a wrn path that leads upwards, and is steep. Use the tree's to help you up this short section, the entrance to the Great Cave is just up ahead. You will want to have a camera and a good flashlight with you if you want to explore the inside of the Great Cave.
when you begin your trek back down, go slow and use the tree's for support as you make your way down to the boulder field. I suggest you wear something with a good grip, like a good pair of hiking boots for this hike. and as your hiking this route, don't be surprised if hikers on the cliffs above yell down telling you your going the wrong way - as very few people even know where the Great Cave is located.
What makes the Great Cave trail off the Precipice trail a true ghost trail or phantom trail is that one must search it out in order to locate it.