20 Best Hiking Trails in Maine

When visiting Maine, the only sure way to get the full effect of the nature of this state and the breathtaking views it has to offer its visitors is by hiking the great and numerous trails that are provided and scattered throughout the whole state. No matter which area of Maine you will be visiting, there is sure to be a hiking trail to satisfy any level hiker.

The Knife Edge at Mount Katahdin- 9.5 miles

Access from: Millinocket, ME

Certainly one of the top hiking trails in Maine, and arguably the best, this trail takes you to the summit of Mount Katahdin by way of a granite ridge known as the Knife Edge. The views that this trail provides are possibly the most breathtaking and spectacular in the Northeast. The Knife Edge provides hikers with panoramic views of the Penobscot River, Moosehead Lake, and even as far as Acadia National Park. Hikers should take note that it is a strenuous experience for low level hikers.

Appalachian Trail at Mount Katahdin- 10.4 miles

Access from: Millinocket, ME

It is truly an experience to remember, to hike up this rough and treeless section of Mount Katahdin. Mount Katahdin actually seems more suited to the Rockies rather than the Appalachians because its peak is so rugged. This is an extremely difficult hike for those less experienced; however, for those who can handle the strain, the views from the top as well as the overall sense of accomplishment at the end make this trail worth every minute.

Acadia Mountain Trail- 2.8 miles

Access from: Southwest Harbor, ME

To the west of what is known as Somes Sound in Acadia, this mountain trail is one of the more popular choices. While it is certainly a very tough climb, the difficulty of the trail becomes overshadowed by the views that it provides of scenery such as the Gulf of Maine, the Cranberry Isles, Echo Lake, the ocean and Somes Sound as well as the other mountains in the area. Make sure that you pack your camera for this hike, it will not disappoint.

Maine Highpoint at Mount Katahdin- 10.4 miles

Access from: Millinocket, ME

This trail is known as the Hunt Trail and coexists with part of the Appalachian Trail on Mount Katahdin. This trail begins at the Katahdin Stream Camps and is one of the best choices for those looking for a well maintained trail with consistent and easy to follow trail markers which appear on both rocks and trees. Again, this trail will lead to amazing views at the top of Mount Katahdin which is more commonly known as Baxter Peak. Although it is will maintained, this trail is still a difficult one. Hikers should start early in the morning as it will likely take all day to make it up and back again, especially if you are inexperienced.

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Gulf Hagas- 6.5 miles

Access from: Milo, ME

This is a very exciting trail which takes you through a gorge containing beautiful waterfalls as well as cliffs that can become rather steep. Gulf Hagas is known as Maine’s Grand Canyon and as of 1968, is considered a national landmark. The trail itself is within the Multiple Use Forest of Katahdin Iron Works. Even though this trail doesn’t have the elevation gain that many others do, the views cannot be found anywhere else. The trail is well marked and maintained but is likely to still take 5-8 hours. Regardless, it is well worth it in order to see the amazing waterfalls in this area.

Appalachian Trail-White Cap Mountain- 28.1 miles

Access from: Brownville Junction, ME

Clearly, this is a long one. White Cap Mountain is the highest peak in the area, standing at 3,644 feet. It is also the only mountain in the area to reach into the zone of alpine plants. This trail provides hikers with an unusual, unobstructed look at Mount Katahdin which is hard to fine anywhere else. Since the hike is so long, many will take advantage of the great swimming provided by the Cooper Brook Falls and Crawford Pond along the way.

Bald Rock Mountain Trail- 3.6 miles

Access from: Camden, ME

One of the shorter trails on this list, Bald Rock Mountain Trail is a moderate day hike to the summit which overlooks beautiful Penobscot Bay. The view from the top is breathtaking and the trail is rarely crowded. There are some steep sections and the terrain is a bit rooted in spots, so good hiking boots are advised. Although the beginning of the trail can be uneventful and rather boring, the view from the top will prove to be worth it.

Appalachian Trail- Baldpate Mountain- 8 miles

Access from: Bethel, ME

This popular section of the Appalachian Trail is well maintained and marked although there are sections with many rocks and rooted up areas which simply requires some careful footing. This trail does provide some great sights from the Eastern and Western Peaks. Hikers who are considering bringing children or pets on this trail should be warned that some areas involve climbing down ladders in order to get over some ledges.

Appalachian Trail- Mahoosuc Notch- 9.4 miles

Access from: Upton, ME

This section of the Appalachian Trail has quite the reputation of being one of the most difficult. Although it may be difficult, many hikers with experience find it to be one of the best sections of the Appalachian Trail and more enjoyable. Mahoosuc Notch is like an underworld of sorts; an obstacle course of crevices and caves. If you’re up to the challenge, it may prove to be one of the best hiking experiences you have had.

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Cadillac Mountain North Ridge Trail- 4.4 miles

Access from: Bar Harbor, ME

An old footpath of Native Americans, the Cadillac Mountain North Ridge Trail takes you to the top of Cadillac Mountain which is the highest peak along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Because this trail takes place along granite cliffs, you are provided with constant open views along the way such as rock islands, Frenchman Bay, and Bar Harbor.

Bradbury Mountain State Park- 1.3 miles

Access from: Pownal, ME

This is a rather quiet trail, a forest loop, which leads to the Peak of Bradbury Mountain. This is a great trail for those in the southern Maine area that are looking for an easy hike to take on their own pace. The trail is mostly gravel, so it is easy for adults and children alike.

Appalachian Trail- Saddleback Mountain and Mount Abraham- 14.6 miles

Access from: Rangeley, ME

This hike undoubtedly provides the best alpine scenery for those interested. Once hikers reach the peak, they are then provided with breathtaking views of western Maine’s lakes and mountains. Much of this trail takes place above the tree line and therefore should pay attention to the weather and exposure. This portion of the Appalachian Trail is known to be extremely challenging, but for those who can handle it, it is worth the effort.

Marginal Way- 1 mile

Access from: Ogunquit, ME

Although short in distance, this mile long village hike is one of the most traveled in all of Maine. Despite its length, this walk still provides beautiful ocean views. It is an extremely easy walk and if you get lucky, you may even spot seals along the cliffs.

Mount Battle and Mount Megunticook- 4 miles

Access from: Camden, ME

This is a great trail which takes you to two different peaks which both provide expansive ocean views. Even though the trails are well marked, the trail tends to get rather slippery when wet. Hikers therefore should be cautious of their footing. The trail provides views of Penobscot Bay; Mount Battle, and even Rockport and Camden.

Bigelow Range- 12 miles

Access from: Stratton, ME

This is a great hike which includes views form the top of West Peak. Much of this hike is walked along ridges and provides spectacular views of mountains and lakes such as Flagstaff. This is however a long and strenuous hike which people should be prepared for. Make sure you begin early in the morning.

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Appalachian Trail- Old Speck- 8.4 miles

Access from: Upton, ME

Old Speck is the third highest summit in Maine and this section of the Appalachian Trail used to get to the top is in good condition and is relatively easy to follow. Be warned however that this trail does contain some slippery, steep, and rocky areas as well as some tight sections which may take a little squeezing to get through.

Precipice Trail- 3.1 miles

Access from: Bar Harbor, ME

In terms of the Acadia region, Precipice Trail is certainly one of the more steep and difficult hikes even though the distance is not long. From this trail, you will see cliffs which give you the opportunity for fantastic ocean views. In order to access this trail, you must plan carefully as it is often closed in parts of the spring and summer to protect falcons during breeding season.

Ring and Blueberry Buff Trail- 1.8 miles

Access from: York, ME

This trail provides views of the Atlantic Coastline as you travel though the forest past outlooks made of rock. For those interested, this trail leads to a mountaintop lodge which is great for gatherings with family and friends. The trail is very well maintained and great for beginners as it is not too strenuous. Overall, it is a simple trail for those looking for a hike that doesn’t take all day.

Appalachian Trail Carry Ponds- 17.5 miles

Access from: New Portland, ME

This is a very beautiful portion of the Appalachian Trail, providing fantastic views of the forest while you travel around numerous ponds, around streams and directly across the Kennebec River. Hikers will also pass over Jerome Brook by way of a historical footbridge and then continue through a bog type setting filled with cedar trees.

Portland Trails- 3.75 miles

Access from: Portland, ME

This hike takes you on Baxter Boulevard and travels entirely around what is known as Back Cove, which is a circular cove belonging to Casco Bay. For those in the area, this trail is a nice retreat to a more quiet setting where you can watch and photograph wildlife such as birds in the area.

References:

Seymour, T. Hiking Maine. Falcon Publishing.

Kodas, Weegar, Condon, & Scherer. Exploring the Appalachian Trail: Hikes in Northern New England. Stackpole Books.

Kong, D. & Ring, D. Hiking Acadia National Park. Falcon Publishing