There are two trailheads at Mill Field. To proceed around the loop in a counter-clockwise direction, take the trail to the right. The Sluiceway Trail ascends very gently through the woods for 0.4 miles before reaching the first trail junction. The Sluiceway Trail continues to the left for 0.5 miles, climbing steeply in places, and at times along a small stream. This is the most direct route to the Bernard summit.
Alternatively, a right at the first trail junction leads 0.1 miles to the Great Notch Trail, which heads to the left at this second junction. It proceeds 0.5 miles up to Great Notch. Upper portions of this trail may be quite wet during the spring or after a heavy rain. Great Notch itself lies between the two peaks of Western Mountain, Mansell to the east and Bernard to the west. It is a good resting spot, with a log bench and a hiker register in a box on a tree.
The Bernard Mountain trail leaves Great Notch to the left (west), steeply climbing up the side of the mountain over cliffs and tree roots. It meets up with the Sluiceway Trail on the left after 0.4 miles. Just beyond is a view point on the right, overlooking the western-most portions of Mount Desert Island. The views are somewhat impeded by the recent growth of some newer hemlock trees. From this overlook, it is a relatively flat 0.1 miles to the forested summit.
The Bernard Mountain Trail heads down to the south, turning left upon meeting up with the West Ledge trail after 0.5 miles. It is 1 mile through the woods back to the trailhead from this junction, with the trail alternating between moderate and steep descents, and crossing a couple wooden footbridges near its end.
The loop via continuing up the Sluiceway trail is 2.5 miles; it is 2.9 miles via Great Notch.
Geocaching is prohibited within Acadia National Park; however, the park does sponsor an EarthCache Program for those seeking a virtual treasure hunt!
For more information, visit the Acadia National Park website, or contact:
National Park Service, Acadia National Park
Mill Field Trailhead
From the stoplight in Somesville on Mount Desert Island, head south on ME-102 towards Southwest Harbor. After 5.7 miles, just before reaching Southwest Harbor village, take a right on Seal Cove Road. Go 0.6 miles to a gate (closed November through April) where the pavement turns into gravel as Seal Cove Road enters the Park.
Proceed another 0.6 miles and take a right, towards Western Mountain Road. Go 0.3 miles and take a right on Western Mountain Road, following the signs for Mill Field. Go 1.1 miles on Western Mountain Road until you come to an intersection, and take a left. Say to the left for 0.2 miles to reach Mill Field, where the trailhead is located and there is space for parking.
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