Visiting Acadia National Park? Make sure to take a stroll along the Jordan Pond Path for gorgeous views of the lake and local plant life.
This year we visited Maine for the first time.
Specifically Acadia National Park.
We knew there would be an endless number of spots to explore, but for this introductory trip, we definitely wanted to hit the highlights.
One of them is, of course, Jordan Pond. Visitors have long flocked to this part of Acadia. In fact, it’s one of my top 10 things to do in Acadia.
As the National Park Service explains, the area was carved by glaciers, resulting in some really magnificent scenery. At 150 feet, it’s the deepest lake at Acadia. The clarity of the water is fantastic.
It’s also neighbor to two distinctive, knobby looking mountains, North Bubble and South Bubble. Collectively, they’re referred to simply as “The Bubbles.”
Pretty catchy name for a pair of mountains, isn’t it?
Why Is Jordan Pond So Popular?
In part because it’s just a really gorgeous pond!
There’s also lots of plant life and birds.
The Jordan Pond Path also provides access to some popular hiking trails, such as the trail to South Bubble.
There’s a restaurant near the pond (the Jordan Pond House) that draws crowds for its famous popovers, and a boat ramp for those wanting to spend the day on the water.
And finally, this is probably one of the most accessible areas in the park. The 3.3-mile path is a flat, relatively easy walking trail.
Parking at Jordan Pond
There’s no getting around it. Parking at Jordan Pond is a problem.
In fact, despite the fact that there are multiple parking lots, the first time we tried to visit Jordan Pond (around 3 p.m.) we failed. We drove around and around and never found a spot.
That’s even though we were visiting outside of peak season in mid-September.
I recommend visiting early in the day for the best chance at finding a parking spot. Our second attempt, around 8:30 a.m., went much more smoothly.
If you don’t want to worry about parking, try taking the park’s Island Explorer shuttle.
How Easy is the Jordan Pond Walking Path?
As always, easy is a relative term.
If you walk the path counter-clockwise (starting at the trailhead), the first half of the path is almost entirely a flat dirt or gravel path. You may need to step over a rock now and then, or over a drainage area.
Once you pass the half-way point, you’ll be walking over a path made from large stones before reaching a long boardwalk.
If you’re concerned about the second half of the trail, stick with me, I’ll have photos later.
The First Half of the Path
From the parking area, follow the signs for Jordan Pond and head down the path.
Once you can see the pond, take a moment to enjoy.
Then, look around for the Jordan Pond Path trail marker.
Turn right to follow the path counter-clockwise.
Take your time as you walk, enjoying the views as you go.
In the distance, take in the views of South Bubble (middle right) and North Bubble (middle left).
On the far left is Penobscot Mountain.
You’ll cross a few small bridges and a few drainage areas that you’ll need to step over.
Make sure to look for birds as you walk.
We saw a cormorant!
We also saw what I’m (almost) positive is a beaver dam.
Sadly, we didn’t see the beaver that made it!
There’s even a spot where you can walk down to get a closer view of the water.
We also saw lots of holly berry along the path.
When you reach the trail marker for the Bubbles Trail, you’re almost half-way around the pond.
The Bubbles Trail leads to South Bubble and Bubble Rock and is one of my favorite trails in the park. It requires some challenging rock scrambling, so only head this way if you’re ready for some exercise!
The Second Half of the Jordan Pond Walking Path
Halfway around the path, you’ll walk across a wooden foot-bridge.
Traffic Jams on the Jordan Pond Path
From this point on, there’s a short section of rocky terrain. (Pictures follow.)
If you’re with someone who may struggle on the rocks, consider turning around and walking back the way you came. The views from the other side of the pond are pretty similar, so you aren’t missing anything!
Also, we found that the entire remaining section of the trail had a lot of “traffic” jams, even on a relatively non-crowded day.
There are few places to pass, especially once you reach the boardwalk, so you’ll be walking at the same pace as the slowest person ahead of you.
If you proceed, it’s best to do so patiently. If you’re in a hurry, or simply want to avoid crowds (I relate), then it’s probably best to turn around and walk back the way you came.
The Rocky Portion of the Path
The rocky section of the Jordan Pond Path isn’t very long, but it was long enough that we passed several people who were struggling to make it to the boardwalk.
The final part of the rocky section was the trickiest for those who were struggling.
This boardwalk is kind of amazing.
It runs almost the entire length of the pond, from where the rocky portion ends all the way back to the trail head.
The boardwalk doesn’t just protect your feet from the mud, it protects the mud, plants and animals from your feet.
As you walk, it really does feel like the boardwalk section might stretch on forever.
It is impressive.
It’s also clearly not meant for two-way traffic, despite the fact that the path can be walked both directions. Occasionally there are areas for passing, but if you’re walking against the crowd, this section will take awhile to get through.
Once you’re off the boardwalk, that’s it! Head back to your car and onto your next adventure in Acadia.