This text was initially printed in April 2022.
Rising 525 ft above sea degree, Gorham Mountain is small in comparison with many different mountains in Acadia Nationwide Park, but it’s a preferred hike — for a number of good causes.
I just lately revisited the mountain with a gaggle of household and associates. On a sunny Saturday in early April, properly earlier than the busy vacationer season, we shared the path with only a few different teams.
Beginning on the car parking zone for Gorham Mountain Path, situated off Park Loop Street, we had two choices: We might both hike to the summit and again for a 2-mile hike, or we might prolong our trek and full a 4-mile loop.
One cause Gorham Mountain is so well-liked is its proximity to different well-known locations inside the park. Following the 4-mile loop, you hike up and over Gorham Mountain, then go to Sand Seashore, Thunder Gap and Monument Cove. That’s what my group determined to do.
Simply two-tenths of a mile into our hike, we got here to our first path junction, and there could be a number of extra. That’s why it’s at all times a very good cause to hold a path map when climbing in Acadia. In any other case, you possibly can simply take the unsuitable flip.
The primary junction was with Cadillac Cliffs Path, which veered off to the correct. Taking a look at my map, I might see that it reconnected with Gorham Mountain Path about three-tenths of a mile up the mountain. We determined to test it out.
Touring alongside the bottom of dramatic cliffs, Cadillac Cliffs Path is rockier and more difficult than Gorham Mountain Path. It additionally features a quick part of metallic rungs, like a ladder, making it inappropriate for canine. We discovered this the laborious approach, since two canine had been with us on the hike: Juno and Josey. Nonetheless, in the event you’re enthusiastic about rock formations and small caves, you don’t need to miss this quick facet path.
For those who’re into historical past, simply earlier than that first path junction, embedded in rosy granite, is a bronze plaque in reminiscence of Waldron Bates, one of many first trailbuilders in Acadia Nationwide Park. Within the late 1800s, roughly 25 miles of Acadia trails had been added beneath his management, together with the Gorham Mountain Path and Cadillac Cliffs Path.
What’s extra, the rock piles that mark the paths in Acadia at the moment are known as “Bates cairns” as a result of their design was developed by Bates. Every cairn options two rocks that function ft to an extended table-top rock; and on high of that may be a small rock that factors within the path of the path.
Persevering with up the mountain, we walked by means of lovely stands of pitch pines, that are among the most iconic vegetation within the park. These quick, rugged, spiky conifers are discovered on a lot of Acadia’s mountain ridges, but they’re absent all through most of Maine.
On the path, I additionally observed loads of low-bush blueberries, teaberry and sheep laurel. In late spring and early summer time, sheep laurel blooms to show small pink flowers. Blueberries develop into ripe in mid-summer.
One more reason Gorham is so well-liked is the “bang in your buck” issue. For a brief hike, hikers reap nice rewards. Open ledges close to Gorham’s summit provide beautiful views of the close by ocean and neighboring peaks.
At certainly one of these open areas, we stopped for a drink and snack. We might simply establish Sand Seashore and the headland past known as Nice Head. We additionally watched the waves crash on Outdated Soaker, a rock ledge off the coast that helps shield Sand Seashore from heavy waves.
Different landmarks you possibly can see on the hike embrace the south ridge of Cadillac Mountain and Beehive, a close-by dome-shaped mountain that’s house to one of many steepest hikes within the park, one stuffed with rungs and ladders.
The summit of Gorham Mountain was marked with a picket signal, held up by a big pile of rocks. The sight of it introduced again completely happy reminiscences.
Gorham Mountain was my late canine Oreo’s first hike. I’ve a photograph of him standing by that summit signal. I bear in mind him being a bit clumsy and hesitant on that hike. He would pause and watch me hop from rock to rock, then he’d observe swimsuit. From there, he went on to hike tons of of trails with me earlier than he handed away in 2020.
It was good to see my new canine Juno following in his footsteps.
From the summit, we descended the north slope of the mountain to Sand Seashore. That portion of the hike traveled by means of the forest and included loads of rocks and uneven floor. Alongside the way in which, we handed by three intersections with trails resulting in The Bowl (a ravishing pond) and Beehive. We veered proper at each intersection to remain on monitor to Sand Seashore.
A large arc of sentimental sand, Sand Seashore is among the hottest locations within the park. Canines usually are not permitted June 15 by means of Sept. 8, in the course of the seaside’s busiest season. However in early April, our canine companions had been free to romp within the waves (on leash, per park guidelines).
After a sunny sojourn on the seaside, we adopted the sleek, degree Ocean Path for seven-tenths of a mile, previous Thunder Gap and Monument Cove, to shut the loop. That final stretch of simple strolling was the right finish to our journey, permitting us to stretch our legs and funky down earlier than climbing again into the automotive.
For extra details about Acadia Nationwide Park, together with the way to buy a park move, go to nps.gov/acad/