As part of our preparations for the upcoming Yosemite trip, Sam and I recently tackled the Dorr Mountain Trail. We knew that at 5.5 miles it would be a decent length and somewhat of a challenge on such a hot day, and the 1,270 feet of elevation would certainly get our legs working. The trail starts out from the parking lot at Sieur de Monts and the Wild Gardens of Acadia, and after a brief stroll alongside some incredibly lush grasses and white birch familiar to the Jesup Trail, we took a left turn and started climbing as we embarked on the first stage of the hike up the Hemlock Trail.
We soon passed above the tree line to where the North Ridge of the Dorr Mountain Trail opened up onto large granite ledges offering expansive views of Frenchman Bay. The views were incredible, mimicking what you might see from the neighboring and higher Cadillac Mountain… except that we were actually closer to the ocean, Bar Harbor, and the islands offshore. A nice breeze kept us cool as we made our way to the summit, stopping off only to hydrate and enjoy the amazing 180 degree views.
We picked an absolutely spectacular day to make this hike, with very little humidity and visibility as far as the eye could see. The descent down the South Ridge of the Dorr Mountain Trail was quite steep in places. Sam and I both agreed that although our ascent up the North Ridge had been challenging enough to get a good sweat going, we made the right decision as to which path to take to the summit. The South Ridge Trail definitely seemed like it would be a more challenging route to the top, and without the benefit of the cool breeze we had on the way up, the sun was starting to really bake us and the granite trail. Before long though, we were back down among the trees, joining up with the Canon Brook Trail that took us toward The Tarn.
The Tarn Trail was pretty neat, skirting the water’s edge for about half a mile and requiring the navigation of many of the huge boulders that have undoubtedly fallen over the years from the steep side of Dorr Mountain. It was only here that we encountered any other hikers, having had the entire Dorr Mountain Trail to ourselves. Stopping to admire the views, take photographs, and generally enjoy the hike, we arrived back at the Sieur de Monts parking area about 2.5 hours after we had first departed. Relatively challenging at times, the variety and beauty of scenery we encountered along this hike made it an exhilarating and incredibly worthwhile way to enjoy some time in our favorite National Park… Acadia.