For those looking for a great challenge with some cool views and fun obstacles, the Jordan Cliffs Trail Hike delivers. This is one of my favorite hikes, with sheer cliff faces, some cool obstacles, and fun rocks to climb over and around. Excited? Read on to learn how to go.
About the Jordan Cliffs Trail Hike
This 4.6 mile loop is one of the premier hikes in Acadia National Park. Considered to be difficult, the trail takes visitors through the woods, up and over boulder piles, cliff faces, and a really cool wooden bridge. The trail is a loop taking you back to Jordan Pond as well as gaining about 1,532 feet of elevation.
This is one of the best hikes in Acadia and one that is not as popular as some of others. But its still lots of fun and a great challenge. If anything, with the lower crowds it’s even better than other trails that get too busy.
Best Times to do the Hike
Hiking the Jordan Cliffs is best from late Spring to early Fall. The closer or during summer, the better chance you’ll have good weather which is necessary for the hike both for views and safety. Like the Precipice and Beehive Trail, there are cliff faces, rungs, and slippery areas that need to be traversed in good weather.
Early or Late in the day is best for the hike. It is a popular hike, but thankfully not nearly as popular as the Precipice and Beehive.
I would recommend combining this with other hikes in the area around Jordan Pond. It is not as convenient of an area to get to if you are staying outside the park. Jordan Pond Trail is a nice relaxing trail for those looking for something easy before or after.
Hiking the Jordan Cliffs Trail
The Jordan Cliffs Trailhead starts close to Jordan Pond. Although to get to the actual Jordan cliffs trail you’ll need to first travel a short distance on the Spring Trail, which begins adjacent to the Jordan Pond House.
The spring trail starts relatively benign, the trail goes through the forest and is pretty flat overall. You’ll see a sign for Jordan Cliffs trail. The Trail crosses the carriage way and bears to the right. The overall way of the path is in a counter clockwise direction in a loop.
The trail does soon start to get harder. It has a bit of a hike through the woods before hitting the first set of obstacles. Lots of boulder/rocks to hike up. It’s not a scramble but still requires some good footing.
The hike continues to ascend up the cliff area. So far its still pretty easy going. Just a bit of uncertain footing in some places.
The boulder start to get harder and larger as you continue up the Jordan Cliffs Trail. To me this is when it gets more fun and a bit more difficult. But difficult can be fun too! Just be careful of your steps.
Hopefully my friend doesn’t mind posing for my photos. Unfortunately the weather was overcast and cloudy but this would be when you’d start to get some of the gorgeous views. I will have revisit sometime with the better weather. That’s the tricky part of this area, is that its hard to predict the weather.
The trail gets more narrow at this point. Just be sure not to hike this area during times of really bad weather like rain. The trail is legit steep in places. Be sure to keep a good handle on your steps. You don’t want to fall off in these places.
This is one of the coolest areas of the park. The overgrown trail with the trees is just incredible to see. This is one of my favorite parts of the trail. There’s a few spots on the trail like this that are just so cool to see and experience.
The other cool thing, is the sheer cliff face that is above you. You’ll pass by cliff face that I’m sure a lot of people try to climb up. I wish I had the skill for that.
More overgrown steps and trail. This looks so cool, I had to photograph it. And it’s a good thing to look out for on your hike too.
This may be my most favorite part of the hike. Or at least one of the top 3. This was such a fun cool bridge to walk down. I hope you had just as much fun as I did on this part of the hike.
The Fun of the Hike is not done yet though! There’s some rungs and some cool ladders and boulders to climb up. This is the last really steep and hard part of the hike. But it’s also a lot of fun. My friend tried to do it as fast as possible. It’s fun to run through, just don’t slip!
Just the last few bits to squeeze through before the end of the hard part. This was tricky as it really took some work to squeeze through. Just don’t scrape or hurt yourself!
From here you’ll se a junction for the other side of Jordan Cliffs. You can take a short cut to the left to continue back or follow the Jordan Cliffs sign to take on the last part of the hike (mostly downhill).
The hike in this part is downhill and pretty easy going. There’s a lot of rocks though, so don’t get lazy and lose your footing here.
If you took our directions you’ll eventually come to this really cool stone bridge with is part of an overpass. It makes a fun photo location as well. From here you can continue to follow the path down.
Eventually the path will bring you alongside Jordan Pond and the pond path that circumvents the pond. You can decide either to head right back to the Jordan Pond House or try to take the path around the lake.
The Trail is reachable by car or by shuttle (to Jordan Pond).
The Jordan Cliffs trailhead is located next to the Jordan Pond house. The parking lot for the Jordan pond house is the best place to park for access to the trail. The lot is larger than most of the other parking lots but can be particularly busy during lunch time (for the restaurant).
The Island Explorer operates an Acadia National Park Shuttle throughout the park with several routes. Routes 4, 5, and 6 all stop at Jordan Pond. For more information on Routes and Timetable check out the Island Explorer Website.
Tips and FAQs
- Carry water and/or snacks on the trail. It is several miles with several uphill, steep sections. You want to make sure you have the right provisions with you.
- Be sure to pay attention to the weather. You don’t want to be hiking during or directly after inclement weather. Slippery rocks with exposed cliffs are a dangerous combination.
- Wear good boots or trail shoes. You need shoes that secure to your feet, no flip-flops, etc. You want footwear with good treads/grip. The rocks can be slippery.
- There’s more parking at Jordan House, but avoid busy times (particularly around meal-times) as parking can fill up. Early is particularly good for crowds.