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Acadia National Park: Dorr Mountain

Map of our round-trip hike to Dorr Mountain from Sieur de Monts.

Dorr Mountain is the second highest peak on Mount Desert Island, behind only Cadillac Mountain. It’s named after George Dorr, who’s affectionately known as the father of Acadia National Park. There are multiple paths to the summit. We chose to start from Sieur de Monts spring.

There are a couple of trails crisscrossing the area. The most obvious is Emery Path, which begins right behind the small visitors’ center. Another possible starting point is nearby Homans’ Path, which is built by Dorr himself and deemed even more scenic by our guidebook. As it turned out, we loved every bit of Emery Path.

The path quickly ascends on a series of evenly-laid stone steps. This turns out to be one of the outstanding features of this trail.

Soon the trail narrows to a slit in the rocks, which we must squeeze through.

Looking down.

The workmanship is impressive. Several times I was tempted to make comparison with the Inca trails on which we’d hiked in Peru.

We ascended this long staircase to reach the first overlook.

Which proffers a beautiful view of the Great Meadow and beyond. Here’s a close-up view of Bar Island, site of the former Dorr estate and now a part of the park. It is reachable from the mainland via a land bridge which is exposed at low tide or of course by boat.

Next up was a dramatic curving section which hugs the side of the mountain with a precipitous drop on the other side. It may be a bit unnerving to those who are uncomfortable with heights.

View from the other side, with Huguenot Head in the background.

But even acrophobes would love the view.

Just after the cliff, we passed the junction with Homan’s Path. The stone steps actually make it fun to climb uphill.

Soon it began to level out a bit.

After about 0.5 mile, we came to the end of Emery Path. The right fork is Schiff Path while the left is Kurt Diederich’s Climb. The latter bears the distinction of being the steepest trail in the park, with an altitude change of 450 feet in only 0.5 mile. Since it goes downhill from here, we’d have to tackle it at another time.

Schiff Path is scenic in its own right.

The next junction is with the Ladder Trail. This is yet another way to ascend Dorr Mountain. It requires clambering up a couple of “ladders”—iron rungs bolted into the rock. We’ll have to make another date for it.

Soon we entered the woods and began to see the Acadia cairns with regularity.

The bald spots showcase the famous Acadia pink granite.

It looks like the summit here, but it’s not. The summit is 0.1 mi further away down the Dorr South Ridge Trail.

Over a shallow valley we could see the summit of Cadillac Mountain and its concomitant crowd. On Dorr Mountain, there were exactly us and a Park Service student volunteer whose job was to count the number of hikers who reach the summit.

To get back down, we took Dorr North Ridge Trail. The exposed ridge offers some splendid views.

Going down was tougher. We had to carefully descend this long rock slide full of large boulders.

After a mile we reached the Hemlock Trail.

Which features an impressive dark tunnel of hemlock trees. As you can imagine, we had to fend off the army of mosquitoes which lay in ambush here.

After a short descent, we reached the wide graveled Hemlock path, which leads back to the visitors’ center.