15 Jaw-Dropping Hikes in Maine that You Absolutely Cannot Miss
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Known to many East Coast dwellers as one of the best states for outdoor adventure in the Northeast, Maine boasts some of the most beautiful trails, waterways, and landscapes in the entire country. Hiking in Maine is one of the best ways to experience all of the natural beauty this state has to offer. With its rocky coastlines, lush forests, sparkling lakes, and rocky mountaintops, Maine’s natural diversity is perfect for hikers of all experience levels to enjoy. We created this guide to the best hikes in Maine to help you plan your next outdoor adventure!

Easy Hiking in Maine

Ocean Path

  • Location: Acadia National Park (Bar Harbor, ME)
  • Trail Length: 4.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: Minimal

Located in Acadia National Park, the Ocean Path is one of the quintessential easy hikes in Maine that borders some of the state’s most spectacular shorelines. While it’s less of a traditional “hike” than an oceanside stroll, it’s a great introductory activity for visitors to the park because it passes by many of Acadia’s famous landmarks like Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, and Otter Cliffs.

Small rocky outcroppings leading off from the trail to the sea offer hikers a choose-your-own-adventure type of walk where you can climb over rocks and enjoy sweeping vistas of the water and the surrounding rocky cliffs. It’s an absolutely perfect place to start your trip no matter your hiking experience level, and it’s family and dog friendly, too!

Ship Harbor Trail

  • Location: Acadia National Park (Bar Harbor, ME)
  • Trail Length: 1.3 miles
  • Elevation Gain: Minimal

If you’re looking for an easy hike in Acadia that’s a little less crowded than the popular Ocean Path, head to the Ship Harbor trail for another beautiful spot to go hiking in Maine. This 1.3-mile path offers visitors a scenic stroll through the forest that opens up to rocky seaside areas, filled with pebbled shorelines and tide pools filled with marine wildlife during low tide. We’d recommend taking your time on this short trail to explore some of the rocky areas and admire the views, especially around sunset when the horizon glows bright orange on clear days.

Read More: Hiking the Ship Harbor Trail in Acadia National Park

Photo Credit: Kim Seng (Flickr CC)

Fore River Sanctuary Trail

  • Location: Fore River Sanctuary (Portland, ME)
  • Trail Length: 3.3 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 177 feet

If you’re looking for beautiful trails near Portland, Maine, the Fore River Sanctuary is one of the best hikes in Maine for waterfalls. This 3.3-mile trail boasts a shaded, peaceful respite from the city and is suitable for hikers of all experience levels. Traversing wooden boardwalks over marsh areas, quiet evergreen forests, and a picturesque set of roaring waterfalls, the Fore River Sanctuary trail is beloved for its easy access from the city and the solitude and nature it offers.

Family- and dog-friendly, this trail is perfect for a leisurely nature walk with children, friends, or your favorite fur babies! Be sure to get there early on summer weekends, though, as it’s a popular spot for Portland locals during peak season.

Bradbury Mountain

  • Location: Bradbury Mountain State Park
  • Trail Length: 1.4 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 209 feet

Looking for a summit trail that’s accessible to all levels of hikers? The Bradbury Mountain trail is a fantastic option for you. Located in its namesake state park, Bradbury Mountain offers a 1.4-mile, easy trail through the forest to the peak’s rocky summit. From here, you can see wonderful views of the surrounding forests, which are especially beautiful in the fall.

Take the Summit route from the parking area for the most challenging climb with the best views, or opt for an easier route. Either way, you’ll be treated to lovely scenery on this family-friendly hike in nature.

Photo Credit: Doug Kerr (Flickr CC)

Moxie Falls Trail

  • Location: West Forks, ME
  • Trail Length: 1.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 226 feet

One of the coolest easy hikes in Maine is to Moxie Falls, one of the state’s highest waterfall cascades with a 90-foot vertical drop. Not only is this trail accessible to all levels of hikers, but it’s extremely picturesque, featuring dozens of short waterfalls along the Moxie Stream leading up to the big cascade at the end of the trail.

If you’re feeling up for swimming, you can take the stairs to the bottom of the falls where there’s a swimming area. It can get really crowded on the weekends, so we’d recommend going during the week or early in the day if you want to avoid the crowds.

Moderate Hikes in Maine

Blueberry Mountain/Stone House Trail

  • Location: White Mountain National Forest (Bethel, ME)
  • Trail Length: 4.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,253 feet

Located in the White Mountains, Blueberry Mountain is part of a network of trails that span Maine and New Hampshire in this scenic national forest. With a steady and sometimes steep uphill that requires a tiny bit of scrambling, the summit area features sweeping views across the border to New Hampshire, as well as the many shimmering waters of Maine’s Lake District. There are also tons of wild blueberries that grow toward the top in the late summer, when you’ll often find locals hiking and foraging for the local fruits. While hiking, don’t forget to take a detour to the Rattlesnake Pools, a gorgeous waterfall area with small pools for taking a well-deserved swim after summiting the mountain.

Pleasant Mountain via Ledges Trail

  • Location: Pleasant Mountain Preserve (Denmark, ME)
  • Trail Length: 3.3 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,512 feet

Another wonderful moderate summit hike in southwestern Maine is Pleasant Mountain, which is a peak situated in the mountains near the Lake District. This 3.3-mile trail gains 1,512 feet along a fairly rocky area, making for some challenging and fun passes up its gradual and sometimes steep ascent. At the top, you’ll enjoy even more views of mountains for miles atop a flat sheet of rock, which is perfect for a snack or a mid-day picnic. You can also see out to a few of the lakes in the area with stunning fall foliage in the later months of the year.

Photo Credit: Susan Bell (Flickr CC)

Bald Rock Mountain Trail

  • Location: Camden Hills State Park
  • Trail Length: 3.4 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 833 feet

One of Maine’s most beloved moderate trails is Bald Rock Mountain, which is situated in Camden Hills State Park. This region is quite popular for hiking in Maine, with rocky mountainsides and peaks that boast lovely views over the area’s small towns and picturesque rolling hills and mountains. Locals especially love the view at the top, which is one of the prettiest landscapes in the state that is accessible on a moderately difficult trail.

Well-marked and non-technical, the Bald Rock Mountain trail is perfect for beginners wanting a bit more of a challenge, or seasoned practitioners who want something short and sweet with fabulous views. It’s also a great, mildly challenging trail for children and dogs.

Photo Credit: thepiper351 (Flickr CC)

Gulf Hagas Rim Trail

  • Location: Brownville Junction, ME
  • Trail Length: 8.2 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 954 feet

If you’re seeking a day-long trail through a super scenic part of the state, the Gulf Hagas Rim Trail is a beautiful option for hiking in Maine. At 8.2 miles, it’s one of the longest trails on our list, but it’s moderately difficult and doable for any hiker who is ready to take on the challenge and length of this hike. Featuring waterfalls, cliffsides, gorges, and forests, there’s so much to see on this day hike through the Appalachian Mountains. Bring a camera for the landscapes and a swimsuit for some of the gorgeous, relaxing (and cold!) swimming areas that this trail offers along the way.

Photo Credit: cloud2013 (Flickr CC)

Borestone Mountain Trail

  • Location: Guilford, ME
  • Trail Length: 3.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,223 feet

For a moderate to challenging hike with sweeping mountain vistas, the Borestone Mountain Trail is a beloved spot for hiking in Maine. This summit hike takes you 3.5 miles to the top of Borestone Mountain, which is located in central Maine. From the top, you can see many of the surrounding forests, mountains, and the nearby Lake Onawa. With so many deciduous forests nearby, it’s especially beautiful in the fall (as most of the trails in Maine tend to be), but it’s a fantastic trail for spring and summer as well. The summit section features some rocky passes and boulders, perfect for hikers who want to get some scrambling under their belts.

Difficult Hikes in Maine

Mount Katahdin & Knife Edge

  • Location: Baxter State Park (Millinocket, ME)
  • Trail Length: 8.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 3,897 ft

One of the most famous (and most challenging) hikes in Maine is Mount Katahdin, the highest peak in the state, with an elevation of 5,269 feet. Even more (in)famous than the summit, however, is the ridgeline, which is informally known as Knife’s Edge. This stark, rocky ridge has dropoffs on both sides, making it a dangerous and thrilling hiking area that’s only suitable for experienced hikers. While the hike is strenuous and typically takes an entire day, the views of northern Maine from the summit and surrounding ridges are out of this world, and undeniably some of the most jaw-dropping panoramas in the state.

The 8.1-mile hike to the summit of Mount Katahdin should only be attempted by experienced, seasoned hikers who know how to hike at high altitudes and in unfavorable (windy and potentially rainy) conditions. It also requires quite a bit of scrambling and stamina. You should only attempt this hike on clear days, as it can be extremely dangerous in bad weather.

Beehive Trail

  • Location: Acadia National Park (Bar Harbor, ME)
  • Trail Length: 1.4 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 488 feet

Possibly the most popular of hike in Acadia National Park, the Beehive and Bowl trails are located across the road from Sand Beach and offer spectacular shoreline and mountain views. However, this hike is tricky (and famous) for its jagged, rocky climbs and ladder rungs that help hikers climb nearly 500 feet in less than half a mile. Yes, you’ll be using your hands and feet on this hike, so we’d only recommend doing the Beehive on dry, sunny days when the rocks aren’t slippery or wet. At the top, you’ll see epic views of Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, the surrounding mountains and lakes, and the ocean.

Read More: Everything You Need to Know Before Hiking the Beehive Trail

NOTE: This trail is only for experienced hikers and should be done with extreme caution. People have fallen and died on this trail, so do not take it lightly. No dogs allowed here and it’s definitely not advised to bring young children either.

Precipice Trail

  • Location: Acadia National Park (Bar Harbor, ME)
  • Trail Length: 2 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,053 feet

An even harder version of the Beehive trail is the Precipice Trail, which is another one of the most popular hikes in Maine. If you’re willing to practice safety and work hard, the trail itself can be really fun and thrilling, and the views from the top of Acadia’s coastline are absolutely amazing. Throughout this rocky cliffside climb, you’ll find rock “staircases,” metal ladders and rungs, and good old fashioned scrambling. Not for the faint of heart!

Be sure to wear proper footwear (read: hiking boots) for this hike and start early to avoid the massive crowds that start to show up mid-morning on sunny days. We would not recommend doing this hike on foggy/damp days or in the rain, as the rocks and metal ladders/rungs can get very slippery and are increasingly dangerous in these conditions. In terms of hiking in Maine, the Precipice is the best of the best!

Read More: Everything You Need to Know to Hike the Precipice Trail

NOTE: Like the Beehive, the Precipice trail is only for experienced hikers and should be done with extreme caution. Several people have fallen and died on these trails, so do not take them lightly. No dogs allowed here and it’s definitely not advised to bring young children either.

Table Rock Trail

  • Location: Grafton Notch State Park (Newry, ME)
  • Trail Length: 2.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 869 ft

Table Rock is a short but challenging trail full of rock scrambles, perfect for a few hours of hiking in Maine. By scrambling, we mean a TON of scrambling. You’ll be using your hands and feet to traverse large boulders on the orange trail to the top, then descending on the much gentler blue trail back to the start. We wouldn’t recommend this one to anyone who hasn’t scrambled before, but for those who enjoy climbing up the sides of mountains up large, scenic rocks, the Table Rock trail is super fun and very thrilling! From the peak, you can see nearby Old Speck Mountain, the 4th highest mountain in Maine, as well as lovely fall foliage during the later months of the year.

Photo Credit: *w* (Flickr CC)

Tumbledown Mountain Trail

  • Location: Four Ponds Public Reserved Land (Weld, ME)
  • Trail Length: 5.3 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,952 feet

For a fun challenge, one of the most beloved and challenging hikes in Maine is the 5.3-mile Tumbledown Mountain Trail. Gorgeous views? Check. Tough scramble sections? Check. A fun workout with amazing rewards? Check. This mountain’s got everything a hiker could want and more packed into just a few miles. With nearly 2,000 feet of elevation gain, this summit is no joke, but it’s a great hike for those wanting to try something more challenging without technical difficulty or narrow cliffs. The top offers magical views of southwestern Maine’s mountains, as well as a picturesque lake and plenty of rocky outcroppings.

Additional Resources for Hiking in Maine

What to Bring

  • Hiking boots – You can’t hike without appropriate footwear, period. For most trails, we recommend an all-purpose waterproof boot with ankle support. We recommend Salomon hiking boots or Keen hiking boots for a comfortable hike.
  • Breathable hiking clothes – For warmer hikes, you’ll want to stay cool in a sweat-wicking shirt/tank top and breathable pants, like these PrAna hiking pants for men and women. For cold-weather hikes, we recommend dressing in layers, including merino wool baselayers, an insulated puffer jacket, and a waterproof outer shell. And don’t forget a pair of the best hiking socks in the world!
  • Trekking poles – You won’t need these for every single hike, but we recommend throwing them in your car anyway just in case. We recommend the Black Diamond foldable trekking poles, which are lightweight and easy to transport.
  • Water bottle – Having water available at all times is a huge must. To spare disposable plastic, we recommend bringing your own refillable water bottle. We’re obsessed with Hydro Flask bottles because they keep water cold for hours, but a good old Nalgene works very well too.
  • Sunscreen and bug spray – This should be self-explanatory, but sweatproof sunscreen and DEET bug spray can help you avoid sunburn and bug bites, two of hiking’s most annoying after-effects.
  • A brimmed hat or cap – The sun can be brutal in open hikes, so always pack a brimmed hat or cap for day hikes in the sunshine.
  • Emergency blanket and first aid kit – We’d strongly recommend bringing a first aid kit and a lightweight emergency blanket on every hike. Why? Because the unfathomable can happen, and it’s always best to play it safe.
  • Durable day pack – A durable day pack is the perfect spot to stash all your hiking gear. While any backpack will do, we recommend Osprey day packs because they’re comfortable and breathable for long hikes.

Wondering what exactly you should pack for your next hike? Visit our Complete Day Hiking Packing List for our full list and our top gear recommendations.

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Kay Rodriguez is the Chicago-based travel writer and photographer behind Jetfarer and Skyline Adventurer. When she's not blogging furiously on her laptop or editing photos, you can find Kay running, hiking, or paddling in a new city.

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