Late Afternoon Hike Up the Precipice
For inclined hikers with proper condition and no fear of heights, the Precipice hike up Champlain Mountain is a must during any fall visit to Acadia. The trail, generally closed for a good bit of the Spring and Summer on account of peregrine falcon nesting, is probably the most difficult hike on Mount Desert Island, but offers those willing to accept the challenge of its many exposed cliffs and iron rungs some of the most spectacular views to be found anywhere!
Recently I hiked the precipice just before sunset, a time at which I had never hiked the trail. While the views on the way up–looking directly off the cliffs out over lush forest and rocky coastline below–are quite unbelievable -under any circumstances, arriving at Champlain’s summit as the sky turns pink and purple over Bar Harbor and Frenchman Bay adds an additional thrill to the already spectacular experience.
Of course one looking to hike Precipice and see the sunset from the Champlain summit should be sure to make it entirely up the mountain before dark, and one ought not descend the Precipice (there are other trails down the mountain that will leave hikers only a short walk along the Park Loop Road from the Precipice parking area). Be sure to wear proper footwear when hiking the Precipice and, again, the trail is only suitable for those not fearing heights and not experience any limitations of mobility (and of course the trail is also not suitable for small children).
The base of the Precipice trail and its accompanying parking area are about a 15-minute drive from our Inn, and you can also access the hike via the free Island Explorer shuttle bus which traverses the Park Loop Road and picks up just five minutes from our doorstep at the Village Green until mid-October.