Gorham Mountain is a pure pleasure that is located on the eastern side of Mount Desert Island. The mountain is only 525 feet high (160 km) but its close proximity to the ocean and several sights in Acadia National Park makes the ascent via the Gorham Mountain Trail one to consider. The trail is rated as moderate and the parking area to access the trail is on the right side of the Park Loop Road between Thunder Hole and Otter Cliff. An early morning hike, in order to be there for the sunrise, is a good choice if you want to capture truly spectacular images with the golden glow of the rising sun.
The hike starts off as an easy but steady climb through a spruce forest, then gradually becomes more challenging as it opens to a granite ascent. Along the way, you will come upon a stone stairway leading to a plaque that honors “Waldron Bates - Pathmaker.” This man made a lot of climbs in Acadia National Park more safe and enjoyable by utilizing stone stairways and iron rung ladders to aid in the traversing of cliffs, talus slopes (mass of rocks at the base of cliffs), and other steep areas. The trail you will be on is a good example of his work.
There will come a time on your climb where a perfect observation point appears on the right. This is called the “false” summit because so many people believe that this is it. You may want to pause here to take in the view of Otter Cliffs in the distance or continue hiking and stop here on the way back.
The “true” summit is about .9 miles from the parking area (1.8 miles roundtrip) and from here, you have great views of Sand Beach, Otter Cliff, Thunder Hole, The Beehive, and even the Schoodic Peninsula section of Acadia National Park.
Photos: Golden Sunrise | Stone Stairway | Romance | Ocean | Mountain Summit
Tip: If hiking during late July or throughout August, watch for the Wild Blueberries that grow along the trail!
Hiking Safety Suggestions
The Free Island Explorer Shuttle Bus Service makes regular (in season) stops at Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, and Otter Cliff. (Refer to the #3 Sand Beach/Blackwoods or Loop Route.) The buses also stop in Bar Harbor at the Village Green.
Explore Gorham Mountain