FKT: Bruce Young - Acadia Traverse (ME) - 2018-06-23

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Finish date
Total time
4h 38m 39s

I was in mid-coast Maine looking for a long trail run and stumbled across Phil Maynard's description of this elegant traverse of 13 peaks in Acadia National Park. It looked like fun, so I gave it a go. I parked and started from the Gorham Mountain trailhead parking lot and finished at the Parkman/Bald Peak Parking lot. Knowing that some of these trails are popular, especially the Beehive and Cadillac Mtn, I got an early start (6:42AM). The conditions were near perfect -- overcast, mid to upper 60s, dry trail. The omnipresent granite kept me from taking risks as a fall could be catastrophic. Trail markings varied from discrete (as if they were forcing you to go slow to carefully search for the blue blazes) to fresh painted on the climb to Cadillac. All intersections were well signed. As the day wore on, more hikers appeared. All were gracious enough to move over and let me go by. One even offered to take my picture at a summit (the rest of the summit photos are hilarious selfies that show me struggling to master modern phone technology). See Strava feed ( for all photos. The funnest part was the descent from Champlain Mtn on the Beachcroft Trail along sections paved with large flat stones and with switchbacks (a rarity on this route). The wildlife highlight was 3 common mergansers perched on a rock in The Tarn. It looks like I beat Phil's time by 9 minutes, which is about the time I saved by avoiding long accidental detours.

Logistics & tips for future attempts: A significant time is spent navigating. To the extent you can learn the route ahead of your run, you will save a lot of time. If you don't have time to do the route in advance, consider driving to the road crossings and figure out the route in those places. The road crossings are the flattest, most runnable sections, but I walked them while reading the map trying to figure out where to go. The most confusing was at Bubble Pond -- do NOT run one step down the inviting, flat, rock-free carriage road. Cross it and head up the rocky Pemetic North Ridge Trail.

The places at the park where you can buy an entry pass do not open before 8:30AM. If you want to go early, buy a pass online (link from the NPS Acadia website), print it, and leave it on your dashboard when you park.

I was on my own and therefore there was no car waiting for me at the end. There is an Island Explorer shuttle bus (runs 23 June - Columbus day in 2018) that picks up at the Parkman/Bald Peak parking lot, but runs only once every 1-3 hours. This option will take you to the Bar Harbor Village Green where you'd transfer to a Sand Beach bus (runs every 20 min) to get to your car. I finished the circuit 2 hr before the next bus, so I decided to jog back on a combination of carriage roads, trails, and roads. A good warm down! In retrospect, another option would have been to jog to Jordan Pond House (~3 miles on easy carriage roads and the Jordan Pond Path) and take a bus to the Village Green from there (runs every 30 mins). Note that there is water and a bathroom at Jordan Pond House.