Thursday, April 27, 2017


If you have ever wondered just how Great Hull got its name, well, you would have to hike up to its summit to understand how it came to be named a great hill.  Before you have even begun your hike, one quick look back behind you and you will have a view of the surrounding mountains that you can only get from Great Hill, and the views only get better the higher you go.

Mountains of Acadia National Park viewed from Great Hill

Kebo Mountain is drafted by its bigger brother Cadillac, with Dorr and Champlain mountains  rising in the distance, all lined up perfectly for a great photo with the ocean as a backdrop.   You will not find this view on any other mountain summit other than Great Hill.  And when hiking to the first summit, you can look across to Great Hill's twin summit - there nce was a couple trails that begun at the first summit and led to the second one, but they are now pretty much ghost trails,  with small sections of those trails showing up now and than.
I like to think Great Hill got its name because many years ago it servered as  a cross roads, with a number of trails connecting to Great Hill, and the Trails of Great Hill connecting to Hulls Cove and Bar Harbor
.  The Gurnee Trail was connected to the Fern Trail, from Duck Brook Bridge the Fern trail got you to the Great Hill Trails, like the Water Pipe Trail,  and as the Fern trail followed one side of Great Hill, it continued on down to near the intersection of the Cleffstone Road and West Street Ext..  Trails also ran up to both summits,  with one running down the otther side toward Duck Brook Bridge, and another running down to join up with the Bracken Trail., which in effect connected hikers to the Breakneck Road, Mcfarland and Young's Mountains, and the Fawn Pond Trails.  Even the trail atound Witch Hole Pond was connected to these trails.  And from the Bracken Trail you connected to the Gorge Trail and the rest of the trails in Acadia National Park.

Bar Harbor viewed from Great Hill - Acadia National Park

But following the Great Fire, the Park service decided to abandoned all trails on this side of the park - if you wanted to hike on this side, you would have to do so by means of the Carriage Roads, which as any serious hiker knows, can not compare to hiking an actual trail.
So how do you locate the main trail to the summit of Great Hill?   Here are two quick ways of getting to it so you won't miss it.
1.  From downtown Bar Harbor, drive down to the bottom of Main street, the ocean end, turn left onto West Street and drive to the end where you come to an intersection.  Route 3 - Eden street runs left and right, continue straight ahead  up West street ext..  Continue until you come to a stop sign and the Park Loop Road.  Turn left and drive past the first pull over on your left, stopping at the second pull over.    You are now at where you need to be.

Great Hill Summit - Acadia National Park

2.  From Bar Harbor, turn onto Mount Desert street by the Village Green.  Continue along Mount Desert Street, driving through  an intersection with lights on up the Eagle Lake Road, or route 233.  As you approach the large arched stone bridge, turn into the park.  At the Park Loop Road just ahead, turn right, go round a curve and pull into the pull over.
So you have the map, but I will roughly go over the layout of the trail.  Directly across from the pull over is a section of ledge, you need to go to the far left of the ledge, by the tree's, and there you will see a worn path leading up to the top of the ledge - often times pesky Ridge Runners will toss branches or limbs across the start of the trail, either kick them aside to prevent you from tripping, or step over or around them.
Just as soon as you reach the top, stop and turn toward the hill, with your back toward the road, and you will see a small opening in the tree's, walk toward it and you will see a section of worn trail which takes you to the first section of open granite.

Abandoned Great Hill Summit Trail

Get up onto that open granite and walk across it, moving upward, and just ahead you will come to another worn section of trail, which quickly leads to more open granite.  Continue tomove upward and just ahead is a long stretch of worn trail which will end at another section of open granite with a very huge boulder at rest a short ways off the trail.

View From Side of Great Hill - Acadia National Park

It's that area where the boulder is where you want to be.  Now head toward the woods, to the left, and look for a narrow well worn path, that path will lead you to the summit of Great Hill.
When my kids were younger we would come up here just before dusk, and once night settled in look up at the sky and watch for shooting stars.  Sometimes we would just set on a large rock and watch as planes in the distance landed and took off from the Bar Harbor Airport.  Locals simply refer to this trail as the Great Hill Summit Trail.


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