Sunday, August 16, 2015

THE HANGING STEPS

The Hanging Steps is not a trail, the real name is the Orange and Black Trail, the half of the official trail the Park Service chose to abandoned.  The Hanging Steps was a Main attraction along the Orange and Black trail.  Rudolph Brunnow designed both the Orange and Black Trail as well as the once popular Hanging steps.  The most amazing feature of the Hanging steps is that they appear to "hang in mid air," with drop offs to either side of the steps.  Brunnow achieved this feat by way of using hidden iron bars to hold the huge granite steps in place.  They got their name, it is said, when a park ranger came to the site to view the steps for the first time and exclaimed, "They appear to hang in mid air," and from that day forward they were referred to as the Hanging steps.
CHAMPLAIN MOUNTAIN - HANGING STEPS - ACADIA NATIONAL PARK

Abandoned Trails of Acadia - The Hanging Steps
I have been asked a number of times, does the trail end at the Hanging steps - no, it continues on up to some cliffs, than makes its way through a section of woods before coming out at open granite.  From there you only have one way to go, follow the open granite downward until it joins the lower section of the Precipice Trail at the base of the Turn around, a huge boulder in the trail with a few iron runs placed in a way to make it hard for inexperienced climbers to get past.  With just a little bit of looking you can find where the trail continues at the top of the Hanging steps.
THE HANGING STEPS - Orange and Black Trail - Acadia National Park
Above is perhaps the best photo of the Hanging Steps I have seen to date, and the photo was taken by David Schortmann.   I want to thank him once more for his contributions to our sites.


SIGN IN LEDGER - ROCK CLIMBERS TRAIL
Within a minute or so after starting down the unmarked trail you come to this huge boulder with a sign in ledger.  The ledger is there for the rock climbers in case some one is reported missing, that might of had an accident while rock climbing.  Rangers can take a quick glance at the ledger and know who went up by rope and who came down and when.
ROCK CLIMBERS TRAIL - GRANITE WALL STRAIGHT AHEAD
So as you can see, the first half of the Orange and black trail, the abandoned half, arrives at the official Precipice Trail, than followed that trail upwards a ways to the area of the boulder field.  Around that point, the Great Cave trail went left, and the official half of the Orange and Black trail goes right.  In the photo above, is the path from the road to the high wall of granite where you turn left, and below is the wall of granite with a right turn ahead, which leads up to a very twisted tree you need to pass under, or over.
AT GRANITE WALL - VIEW LOOKING LEFT
From the map, you can see a path just beyond the Precipice parking area, an unmarked but well worn path that enters the woods.  This path today is mainly used by rock climbers who go there to practice their climbing skills.  You will come to a towering wall of sheer granite, the rock climbers use gear to climb that wall, turn left and follow the path to the corner where it turns right, goes upward and under a very crocked tree.  Continue ahead until the path takes a right turn and continues upward, here you will begin to see stone steps.  From here the trail is easy to follow until you reach the top of the Hanging Steps.
CONTINUE TO FOLLOW SIDE OF GRANITE WALL

pass under the twisted white birch

Pass under its twisted branches and look up - that huge impressive  boulder seems like its ready to drop right down onto the path where your standing.
HUGE OVERHEAD BOULDER

start of stone steps

THE HANGING STEPS - ACADIA NATIONAL PARK



The Hanging Steps - Acadia National Park





 DEATHS IN ACADIA NATIONAL PARK VIDEO



IRON RAIL NEAR TOP OF HANGING STEPS - ACADIA NATIONAL PARK


VIEW FROM TOP OF HANGING STEPS - ACADIA NATIONAL PARK
While the abandoned section of the Orange and Black trail is not too hard to follow, we have added extra GPS points for those who might venture beyond the top of the Hanging Steps.  There are a couple places where GPS numbers further up might come in handy.

HANGING STEPS
trail begins
latitude  44 20' 50"N
longitude  68 11' 15"W
right turn
latitude  44 20' 49"N
longitude  68 11' 22"W
right turn
latitude  44 20' 50"W
longitude  68 11' 22"W
to woods
latitude  44 20' 50"N
longitude  68 11' 21"W
woods path
latitude  44 20' 51"N
longitude  68 11' 21"W
woods path
latitude  44 20' 52"N
longitude  68 11' 20"W
open granite
latitude  44 20' 53"Nlongitude  68 11' 20"W
open granite
latitude  44 20' 55"N
longitude  68 11' 19"W
Precipice Trail
latitude  44 20' 57"N
longitude  68 11' 19"W

HANGING STEPS TRAIL
HANGING STEPS TRAIL
BEYOND THE HANGING STEPS - TRAIL ENTERS WOODS
WOODS TRAIL BEYOND HANGING STEPS
BEYOND THE HANGING STEPS - TRAIL HEADS TOWARD PRECIPICE TRAIL AND OPEN GRANITE



2 Comments:

At August 27, 2015 at 2:05 PM , Blogger Angela Bouchard said...

The East Face Trail is a part of what used to be the Orange & Black Trail, which started at High Seas (used to be Brunnow's residence) & went up to cross what is now the Park Loop Road to the East Face, then beyond the Precipice & Great Cave, down the Hanging Steps & to points beyond. Like many "lost" places on today's maps, the Hanging Steps are easily found once you know where to start...in this case, from the dirt path climbers use past the Precipice parking lot. Not as much of a boulder climb as the Great Cave, but with an overhanging birch tree added in, a fun quick hike to find them. Once past the birch tree, hang a right in the direction you just came from & they're not far ahead.

 
At August 27, 2015 at 2:50 PM , Blogger J.R. Libby said...

Thanks for these instructions, I now know what I did wrong when I went to that area last year, I went straight and failed to hang that right. I will give this another try in the coming months. I also did not know the Black and Orange trail had continued on past the East Face trail, so that also is helpful. I did about a third of the East Face Trail nearly 30 years ago and was very impressed with it. Many any steps as I recall.

 

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