Best Hikes In Acadia National Park With Dogs [Dog Friendly Hiking Trails In Bar Harbor]

Best Hikes in Acadia National Park with Dogs

Acadia National Park, located along the rugged Maine coastline, offers over 150 miles of scenic hiking trails that wind through woodlands, beside ponds and streams, up granite peaks, and along dramatic shorelines. Known for its beautiful vistas and diversity of terrain, Acadia is a hiking paradise.

As a dog owner and hiking enthusiast myself, I have explored Acadia’s trails extensively with my trusty canine companion. Through much joyful rambling over root and rock, we’ve discovered the 10 best hikes in Acadia National Park with dogs. 🐕🌲

In this blog post, I’ll share our favorite Acadia trails for hiking with dogs, along with key details like mileage, terrain, highlights, and tips. Whether you’re looking for an easy coastal stroll or a challenging summit climb, Acadia has an amazing hike in store for you and your furry friend! So leash up your pup, and let’s hit the trails. 🥾

Other thrilling hikes include:

Table of Contents

1. Acadia Mountain and Man O’ War

Acadia Mountain and Man O’ War Acadia National Park
Acadia Mountain and Man O’ War Acadia National Park
  • Trail Distance: 4.0 km
  • Elevation Gain: 216 m
  • Terrain Rating: Easy to Moderate
  • Hike Time:  1 h 28 min
  • Recommended Seasons: Spring through fall
  • Trailhead location: Get directions via Google Maps
  • Features: Dogs on leash | Kid friendly | Hiking | Horseback riding | Walking | Running | Forest | Lake | Views | Wildflowers | Wildlife | Fee
The Acadia Mountain and Man O’ War loop offers panoramic views over Somes Sound as it climbs over the open ledges of two small coastal peaks. Well-graded trails and moderate elevation gain make it a pleasant hike suitable for families and dogs.

As you traverse the south side of Acadia Mountain, watch for the spur trail leading 0.2 miles to the mountain’s bare 556-foot summit. From here, on a clear day, you can soak in views across Somes Sound to the Cranberry Islands standing off Mount Desert Island’s coast.

Descending Acadia Mountain, the trail passes through oak-pine woods before beginning a steady climb to the 444-foot top of Man O’ War mountain. More ocean vistas await from Man O’ War’s windswept ledges.

After drinking in the views, continue descending on the Man O’ War Trail back to the trailhead, keeping dogs on leash when passing other hikers. With its moderate challenge, diversity of scenery, and rewarding summit views, the Acadia Mountain and Man O’ War loop is a peaked perfection for hikers with dogs.

2. Cadillac North Ridge

Cadillac North Ridge Acadia National Park
Cadillac North Ridge Acadia National Park
  • Trail Distance: 6.8 km
  • Elevation Gain: 344 m
  • Terrain Rating: Difficult
  • Hike Time:2 h 23 min
  • Recommended Seasons: Summer through early fall
  • Trailhead location: Get directions via Google Maps
  • Features: Dogs on leash | Kid friendly | Hiking | Horseback riding | Walking | Running | Forest | Lake | Views | Wildflowers | Wildlife | Fee
For fit hikers and dogs looking to challenge themselves on the trails, the Cadillac North Ridge route offers a demanding yet extremely scenic climb to the tallest mountain on Maine’s Atlantic coast. Scaling rugged granite slopes with panoramic views at every turn, this out-and-back trail is a peak hiking experience.

From the trailhead off ME-233, the route follows blue-blazed trails steadily uphill through mixed forest. At 1.3 miles, you’ll pass a short side trail leading right to a rocky outcrop with views north over Eagle Lake.

Continuing straight on the North Ridge Trail, the grade steepens as you ascend slabby granite slopes dotted with pitch pines and red oaks. Stop to catch your breath and soak up spectacular views south over Frenchman Bay.

Above treeline, climb over open ledges and up rock staircases, keeping dogs on leash and children close at hand. Cairns mark the route to the 1,530-foot summit of Cadillac Mountain and its 360° views. From the tallest point along the North Atlantic seaboard you can take in the rockbound islands of Frenchman Bay, the undulatingforever forests of Mount Desert Island, and if timing and weather align, even witness the first sunrise in the United States.

After enjoying sublime views from Cadillac’s summit, carefully retrace your steps back down to the trailhead, allowing twice as much time for the descent. With challenging terrain, big rewards in scenery, and unbeatable coastal panoramas, the Cadillac North Ridge route offers an epic Acadia adventure for you and your surefooted canine companion.

3. Cadillac South Ridge

Cadillac South Ridge Acadia National Park
Cadillac South Ridge Acadia National Park
  • Trail Distance: 10.8 km
  • Elevation Gain: 472 m
  • Terrain Rating: Moderate to Difficult
  • Hike Time: 3 hours
  • Recommended Seasons: Summer through early fall
  • Trailhead location: Get directions via Google Maps
  • Features: Dogs on leash | Hiking | Running | Forest | Views | Waterfall | Wildflowers | Wildlife | Rocky | Scramble | Fee
Less traveled than the North Ridge route but equally scenic, the Cadillac South Ridge Trail ascends the mountain’s southern slopes, granting big views with less effort.Well-graded trail hugs granite ledges and climbs moderately but steadily through pitch pine forests. Near the summit, the South Ridge Trail meets the North Ridge Trail for a shared final ascent to Cadillac’s 1,530-foot peak and 360° coastal panoramas.

From the trailhead off ME-233, follow blue blazes uphill through mixed woods. At 0.3 miles, the Gorge Path splits right – stay straight on the South Ridge Trail. The trail soon levels out, traversing open ledges on the mountain’s south face. Pause here to admire views south over the Cranberry Islands dotting the Atlantic.

Continuing along granite slabs, the trail switchbacks over rock steps and gnarled roots,with dogs on leash. Stop often to enjoy unfolding views over Frenchman Bay’s islands and inlets as you climb. At 1.8 miles, meet the North Ridge Trail and turn right,soon reaching the mountain summit with its unparalleled vistas.

After relaxing atop Downeast coastal highpoint, carefully descend the South Ridge Trail past more panoramic viewpoints. For stunning scenery with less difficulty than the North Ridge route, the Cadillac South Ridge hike is a peak winner for hikers and surefooted pups.

4. Cadillac Summit Loop

Cadillac Summit Loop Acadia National Park
Cadillac Summit Loop Acadia National Park
  • Trail Distance: 0.8 km
  • Elevation Gain: 17 m
  • Terrain Rating: Easy
  • Hike Time: 12 min
  • Recommended Seasons: Summer through early fall
  • Trailhead location: Get directions via Google Maps
  • Features: Dogs on leash | Wheelchair friendly | Kid friendly | Stroller friendly | Walking | Bird watching | Paved | Views | Fee

Sometimes the greatest rewards require little effort, as proved by this easy 2-mile loop across Cadillac Mountain’s granite crown. Following wheelchair-accessible trails around the summit, hikers with dogs can soak up spectacular 360° views of Frenchman Bay and Mount Desert Island while wandering over mostly flat, paved trails.

From the trailhead behind the Cadillac Mountain summit gift shop, set out counterclockwise on the gently rolling Cadillac Summit Loop. Almost immediately, panoramic vistas open up to the south over the forested hills and glinting waters surrounding Mount Desert Island. Informational waysides dot the trail, identifying landmarks visible on the horizon.

As you circle the mountain’s broad summit, the terrain remains almost completely flat, with pavement or boardwalks covering much of the route – perfect for pup paws. Brief side trails branch off the main loop, leading to additional viewpoints and interesting granite formations like The Featherbed and The Eye of the Needle.

After completing a low-effort circuit around Downeast coastal highpoint, descend the short side trail back to the gift shop and trailhead. Thanks to wheeled-friendly grades, barrier-free boardwalks, and nonstop scenery at every turn, the easy summit loop offers big rewards with minimal effort for hikers with dogs of any age or ability.

5. Great Head Trail (Full Loop trails in Acadia National Park)

Great Head Trail Acadia National Park
Great Head Trail Acadia National Park
  • Trail Distance: 2.9 km
  • Elevation Gain: 81 m
  • Terrain Rating: Moderate
  • Hike Time: 1.5 hours
  • Recommended Seasons: Spring through fall
  • Trailhead location: Get directions via Google Maps
  • Features: Dogs on leash | Hiking | Beach | Forest | Views | Wildlife | Rocky | Scramble | Fee
Jutting dramatically into Frenchman Bay just south of Sand Beach, Great Head’s sea cliffs and rocky headlands create a landscape of stark beauty. The Great Head Trail explores this rugged coastal terrain on an intriguing 2.4-mile loop with nonstop ocean vistas. Double-check leashes and paw pads for this scenic, rocky ramble along Sand Beach’s wild neighbor.

From the trailhead off ME-102A, descend wooden steps through mixed forest onto open ledges at the tip of Great Head’s 72-foot sea cliffs. Pause here to admire the crashing waves, offshore porpoises, and views north up Frenchman Bay’s rocky coast.

The trail now turns right, following yellow blazes along the top of sheer cliffs with Sand Beach’s golden arc laid out below. Use caution here with children and dogs, as guardrails are absent from some sections.

At 0.8 miles, the loop leads inland briefly through shady forest before connecting with the Ocean Path’s gravel surface for an easy 0.2 mile return to the trailhead. With thrilling clifftop walking, constantly unfolding views over sand and sea, plus connections to SandBeach and Thunder Hole, Great Head’s scenic loop hike perfectly showcases Acadia’s dramatic coast – double-checking leashes for safety along the precipitous sections.

6. Gorham Mountain Loop ─ pet-friendly trail

Gorham Mountain Loop Acadia National Park
Gorham Mountain Loop Acadia National Park
  • Trail Distance: 4.8 km Loop
  • Elevation Gain: 178 m
  • Terrain Rating: Easy to Moderate
  • Hike Time: 1 h 29 min
  • Recommended Seasons: Year-round
  • Trailhead location: Get directions via Google Maps
  • Features: Dogs on leash | Hiking | Beach | Forest | Lake | Partially paved | Views | Rocky | Fee
Offering gorgeous coastal scenery minus crowds, the Gorham Mountain Loop serves up panoramic overlooks and varied coastal forests on a moderate 2.7-mile hike ideal for leashed dogs.

From the trailhead on ME-102A, climb through hardwood forest and over granite blocks on the Gorham Mountain Trail. At 0.7 miles reach the 525-foot summit and its 180° views spanning Sand Beach to Otter Cliffs. After enjoying the panorama, continue north on the Bowl Trail descending rock staircases to pine-rimmed Champlain Mountain Bowl before ascending Spruce Mountain’s wooded west slope.

At 1.3 miles reach the shoreline views from Mansell Mountain, overlooking Sand Beach and Great Head. Now descend to join the Ocean Path’s gravel surface for 1 easy coastal mile back to the trailhead, keeping leashed dogs away from precipitous cliff edges. With less traveled trails, peaceful forests, rugged peaks, and nonstop scenery, the Gorham Mountain Loop serves up the iconic Downeast coast with fewer crowds, perfect for hikers with dogs seeking solitude.

Want More?

7. Jordan Pond Nature Trail ─ pet friendly little long pond

Jordan Pond Nature Trail Acadia National Park
Jordan Pond Nature Trail Acadia National Park
  • Trail Distance: 5.0 km Loop
  • Elevation Gain: 13 m
  • Terrain Rating: Easy
  • Hike Time:  55 min
  • Recommended Seasons: Year-round
  • Trailhead location: Get directions via Google Maps
  • Features: Dogs on leash | Kid friendly | Hiking | Bird watching | Running | Forest | Lake | Partially paved | Views | Wildflowers | Wildlife | Rocky | Fee

Known as one of Acadia’s easiest and most beloved hikes, the scenic Jordan Pond loop encircles the park’s deepest lake on a family-friendly route made for leisurely rambling with dogs. Gravel paths and boardwalks loop for 3.3 flat miles through forests and along the pristine shoreline, serving up iconic reflections across Jordan Pond’s mirror-calm surface along with frequent rest areas and interpretive signs describing the landscape’s glacial origins and ecology.

From the Jordan Pond House restaurant, start clockwise on the gently graded Lakeside Trail, soon reaching South Bubble Rock peaking photogenically over the lake. At the trail’s north end, stroll out on boardwalks through marshy Beaver Dam Pond for potential wildlife sightings before looping south on the Jordan Pond Carry Trail through sun-dappled forest alongside the Northeast Creek. Complete the peaceful pond circuit by following the wooded Jordan Stream Path back to the bustling Jordan Pond House. With family-friendly terrain, picturesque lake scenery, and interesting natural features, the delightful Jordan Pond Nature Trail pleases pups and people of all ages and abilities.

8. Ocean Path trail ─ the best dog-friendly trail

Ocean Path Acadia National Park
Ocean Path Acadia National Park
  • Trail Distance: 7.2 km Out & back
  • Elevation Gain: 114 m
  • Terrain Rating: Easy
  • Hike Time: 2-3 hours
  • Recommended Seasons: Year-round
  • Trailhead location: Get directions to Trailhead 1 via Google Maps 
  • Features: Dogs on leash | Kid friendly | Walking | Bird watching | Running | Beach | Forest | Views | Wildflowers | Wildlife | Rocky | Scramble | Fee

Stretching over 4 spectacular miles between Sand Beach and Otter Point, the Ocean Path combines Acadia’s most iconic coastal scenery into one breathtaking, family-friendly trail. Following a gentle grade along cliff tops and cobblestone beaches, the Ocean Path serves up nonstop beauty and front-row views of crashing Atlantic waves only steps away.

The route can be hiked in either direction as a one-way shuttle. Heading south from Sand Beach, traverse airy seaside ledges past striking Thunder Hole and Otter Cliffs before winding down toward Otter Point through quiet forest and coves strung with tidepools. Arrange a vehicle shuttle or simply turn around and trace your steps back to complete the out-and-back journey.

Since the gravel path remains nearly flat throughout, most sections make for effortless walking with kids and dogs. But use caution in a few stretches near shear drop-offs, keeping pup leashes secure. Interpretive signs scattered along the route detail the surrounding geology and ecology. Picnic areas offer scenic respites to relax and refuel. Thanks to family-friendly grades, nonstop scenery and front-row views of the crashing Atlantic swells, the stunning Ocean Path checks all the boxes for an iconic Acadia adventure with your furry best friend.

9. Ship Harbor Trail ─ off leash roaming spot

Ship Harbor Trail Acadia National Park
Ship Harbor Trail Acadia National Park
  • Trail Distance: 2.3 km Loop
  • Elevation Gain: 20 m
  • Terrain Rating: Easy to Moderate
  • Hike Time: 28 min
  • Recommended Seasons: Year-round
  • Trailhead location: Get directions via Google Maps
  • Features: Dogs on leash | Wheelchair friendly | Kid friendly | Stroller friendly | Hiking | Walking | Bird watching | Running | Beach | Forest | Views | Wildflowers | Wildlife | Rocky | Fee

Nestled on Mount Desert Island’s less visited eastern shore, the tranquil cove at Ship Harbor hides away like Acadia’s best kept secret. Reaching it involves a scenic 1.6-mile hike through forested slopes with peekaboo views over islands dotting Frenchman Bay. A peaceful gravel beach at trail’s end provides the perfect play spot for dogs to roam off leash.

From the roadside trailhead on ME-102A, follow blue blazes uphill under the cool shade of lichen-draped spruces and firs. Soon cresting a small summit, the trail traverses exposed ledges dropping toward picturesque Ship Harbor. Descend switchbacks dotted with fragrant wildflowers in summer to reach a secluded gravel beach stretching nearly a mile at low tide. Relax on sun-warmed rocks while dogs explore seaweed-strewn tidal pools or bound through lapping waves.

When ready, carefully retrace your steps up switchbacks to the ridgeline trail returning to the trailhead. Thanks to an easy grade over scenic terrain plus a peaceful payoff of beach rambling at trip’s end, the out-and-back ramble to remote Ship Harbor delights both people and pups.

10. Thunder Hole to Sand Beach

Thunder Hole to Sand Beach Trail Acadia National Park
Thunder Hole to Sand Beach Trail Acadia National Park
  • Trail Distance: 2.7 km Out & back
  • Elevation Gain: 60 m
  • Terrain Rating: Easy
  • Hike Time: 42 min
  • Recommended Seasons: Year-round
  • Trailhead location: Get directions via Google Maps
  • Features: Dogs on leash | Wheelchair friendly | Kid friendly | Stroller friendly | Walking | Bird watching | Running | Beach | Paved | Views | Wildlife | No shade | Fee
No list of Acadia’s top hikes would be complete without the spectacular shoreline linking Sand Beach to Thunder Hole. Called “the most beautiful mile of coastline on earth” by early conservationists, this gentle trail stitches together two of Acadia’s crown jewels while serving up nonstop beauty enveloped by crashing waves and salt spray.

From the north end of Sand Beach, follow blue blazes along the Ocean Path’s gravel surface, soon reaching craggy Otter Cliff lined with Vertigo-inducing views north over azure waters. Interpretive signs detail the surrounding geology and marine wildlife. Use caution with children and leashed dogs along the cliff-side sections.

Continue south, descending wooden staircases etched into granite to arrive at Thunder Hole, where waves exploding into a sea cave resound like cannon shots. Marvel at nature’s drama, watching plumes of whitewater rocket 40 feet into the air!

When ready, carefully retrace your steps along the Ocean Path back to the golden arc of Sand Beach. Throw in some tidepool hopping or a picnic on sun-warmed ledges if time allows. Vista after spectacular vista, this short Acadia shoreline sampler dish has everything. 

TrailDistance (km)Elevation Gain (m)
Acadia Mountain and Man O’ War4.0216
Cadillac North Ridge6.8344
Cadillac South Ridge10.8472
Cadillac Summit Loop0.817
Great Head Trail (Full Loop)2.981
Gorham Mountain Loop4.8178
Jordan Pond Nature Trail5.013
Ocean Path7.2114
Ship Harbor Trail2.320
Thunder Hole to Sand Beach Trail2.760

what to bring while hiking the best hikes in acadia national park with dogs?

Here are some tips on what to bring when hiking the best trails in Acadia National Park with your dog:

Leash & Collar

Dogs must be kept on a 6-foot or shorter leash at all times on Acadia’s trails. Bring a comfortable collar and a sturdy leash appropriate for your dog’s size and strength. Consider a hands-free leash if you’ll have your hands full with other gear.

Water & Collapsible Bowl

Stay hydrated! Bring plenty of water for both you and your pup. Carry a lightweight, collapsible bowl so your dog can drink water on the trail.

Dog Pack

Let your dog carry their own food, collapsible bowl, poop bags, and more in a comfortable dog backpack. This allows them to burn extra energy while lightening your load.

First Aid Kit

A basic first aid kit with bandages, antibiotic ointment, tweezers, etc., can treat minor cuts and abrasions for both you and your pup. Ask your vet for dog-safe pain relief medication if needed.

Dog Food

High energy treats and snacks to keep your dog fueled on the trail. Bring poop bags to pack out any waste.

Protective Booties

Rugged terrain can damage paw pads. Protect your pup’s feet with durable dog hiking boots or paw wax if they’ll handle the new gear.

Tick Remover

Always check both yourself and your dog for ticks after any hike. Bring a tick removal tool, just in case.

Following these tips will ensure you and your four-legged friend stay healthy, safe, and comfortable while exploring Acadia’s scenic trails together! Let me know if you need any other hiking recommendations.

FAQs about Best Hikes in Acadia National Park with Dogs

Can you hike with dogs in Acadia National Park?

Yes, dogs are welcome on over 100 miles of hiking trails throughout the park at Acadia National Park. One of the few national parks in the country, Acadia National Park is one that allows dogs on 45 miles of trails and carriage roads. It is a popular destination for dog owners.

Can dogs go up Cadillac Mountain?

Yes, dogs are allowed on a leash along hiking trails and 45 miles of carriage roads near Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. Enjoy hikes at Acadia to the summit of Cadillac Mountain with your pup.

Is Precipice trail Acadia dog friendly?

o, dogs are not allowed on the very steep and dangerous exposed Precipice trail located on the Park Loop Road in Acadia National Park.

Are dogs allowed at Wonderland Trail Acadia?

No, the rock scrambling Wonderland trail near Seal Harbor is closed to pets to protect rare alpine vegetation in that area of Acadia National Park.

Can I bring my dog to Bar Harbor, Maine?

Yes, the town of Bar Harbor near Acadia National Park welcomes dogs. Many shops, restaurants with outdoor seating, and hotels allow dogs. It’s a very dog-friendly area near Acadia National Park.

Are dogs allowed at Bar Harbor?

Yes, dogs on a leash are welcome on the streets, sidewalks, and shops throughout the town of Bar Harbor. It’s only a short drive from Acadia National Park.

Are dogs allowed on Devil’s Bridge trail?

No, Devil’s Bridge trail does not allow dogs in order to protect the public water supplies around Echo Lake in Acadia National Park.

What is the toughest hike in Acadia National Park?

The very steep climb up rugged granite on Dorr Mountain is considered one of the toughest hikes at over 1,200 vertical feet. Prepare properly for hikes at Acadia like this one.

Are dogs allowed on Ocean Path Trail Acadia?

Yes, Acadia’s scenic Ocean Path follows the shoreline from Sand Beach to Otter Point, with dogs allowed on leash. It connects to the Park Loop Road near Thunder hole.

Conclusion

After miles of mountain-to-sea scenery 🏔🌊, wagging tails and flopping tongues 🐾 👅, we come to the end of our canine adventures across Acadia’s rugged backcountry. After sharing these ten trail favorites with my four-legged best friend — from ridgeline summit climbs to tidepool treasure hunts — I hope you and your pup feel inspired to lace up your boots and explore Acadia together! 🥾

These trails offer a pawsome taste of our national park’s diverse landscapes, from tranquil ponds to craggy ocean coast. With some preparation, every tail-wagger can safely enjoy the park’s pet-friendly paths. As we’ve discovered through many miles of paws-on research, having a furry companion along truly makes any hike better! 🐕

So whatever your activity level or sense of adventure, Acadia has a spectacular, dog-accessible trail waiting just for you. Check my suggestions above or connect with the park team to find your perfect route! Once you dig into that trail mix and clip on the leash, breathtaking vistas and wonderful memories await around every bend in the trail. 🥰

MARK RODRIGUEZ

MARK RODRIGUEZ

Mark is an experienced backpacker who has completed several multi-day hikes, including the John Muir and Wonderland Trail. He is also a hobbyist photographer who delights in capturing the captivating essence of nature through his camera lens. Mark is passionate about environmental conservation and often volunteers for trail maintenance and clean-up projects.

MARK RODRIGUEZ

MARK RODRIGUEZ

Mark is an experienced backpacker who has completed several multi-day hikes, including the John Muir and Wonderland Trail. He is also a hobbyist photographer who delights in capturing the captivating essence of nature through his camera lens. Mark is passionate about environmental conservation and often volunteers for trail maintenance and clean-up projects.

4 thoughts on “Best Hikes In Acadia National Park With Dogs [Dog Friendly Hiking Trails In Bar Harbor]”

  1. Just wish to say your article is as surprising The clearness in your post is just cool and i could assume youre an expert on this subject Fine with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep updated with forthcoming post Thanks a million and please keep up the enjoyable work

  2. Somebody essentially help to make significantly articles Id state This is the first time I frequented your web page and up to now I surprised with the research you made to make this actual post incredible Fantastic job

  3. Hi there, you’ve done a great work. I will definitely check it out and tell my friends about it because I know they will find it useful.

  4. As an avid hiker and dog lover, discovering the best hikes in Acadia National Park with my furry companion was an unforgettable experience.
    From the breathtaking views over Somes Sound on the Acadia Mountain and Man O’ War trail to the challenging yet rewarding climb up Cadillac North Ridge, these trails offer a perfect blend of natural beauty and adventure.
    With detailed information on mileage, terrain, and highlights, this blog post provided invaluable guidance for planning my next dog-friendly hiking adventure in Bar Harbor. Thank you for sharing these hidden gems with us!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top