The Wild Gardens Path leads to the Tarn, a shallow body of water in the process of turning back into a meadow. Once reaching the Tarn, turn left and continue to ME Route 3. The Beachcroft Trailhead is across ME Route 3 slightly to the right. Use care crossing the road.
Cut granite stairs and flat stone pathways wind up the side of Huguenot Head, crossing a large boulder field. Views of Dorr Mountain and the Tarn are quickly revealed. After circling around Huguenot Head, the trail dips slightly before ascending Champlain Mountain. This section of trail has granite stairs, rocky scrambles up granite ledges, and finally, just before attaining the 1,058 foot peak of the mountain, smooth expanses of granite. This trail is not recommended in wet weather.
The South Ridge of Champlain Mountain crosses beautiful open granite expanses with views of the Cranberry Isles and other islands to the south. It passes through stunted gnarly pitch pines. Expect to be delayed in your hike during August as you stop to browse on blueberries. Pause also to enjoy the Bowl, a peaceful pond nestled behind the Beehive.
The South Ridge Trail connects with the Bowl Trail which leads to the Park Loop Road and Sand Beach (0.8 miles). For a longer, more scenic route consider the Gorham Mountain Trail (1.4 miles).
If you choose to hike to the 525 ft summit of Gorham Mountain, you will be rewarded with additional expansive views of Frenchman Bay and the outer islands. The trail continues down the south side of Gorham Mountain to the Gorham Mountain parking area and the Park Loop Road. Choosing this option adds 1 mile, for a total of 5 miles.
The steep east face of Champlain Mountain which faces Frenchman Bay, is the nesting area of Peregrine Falcons from March until August, so for a special treat, watch for these swift predators flying above or in front of you. The Precipice Trail on this cliff face is closed during breeding and nesting season, and is a poor choice for a descent down the mountain at any time of year.
Geocaching is prohibited within Acadia National Park; however, the park does sponsor an EarthCache Program for those seeking a virtual treasure hunt!
Visit Acadia National Park online for more information or contact:
National Park Service, Acadia National Park
Starting from ME Route 3, turn off at the Hulls Cove Entrance to Acadia National Park and park at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center parking lot. Take the Island Explorer Bus to Sieur de Monts. When the bus is not running, shuttle one car to the Sand Beach Parking lot and park the second car at Sieur de Monts. To reach The Wild Gardens Path trailhead, walk towards the Nature Center, before reaching the building turn left and cross the lawn. Look for the trailhead marker on the other side of the service road leading to the Abbe Museum.
The Island Explorer bus usually runs from mid-June through mid-October. Check at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center for current schedules. For alternative ways to access or hike these trails, check your map or discuss it with a ranger at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center. The Park Loop Road is closed December 1 to April 15.
(The Island Explorer bus can be caught along the Park Loop Road to return to the Hulls Cove Visitor Center at the end of your hike.)
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