Dorr Mountain - named after George Dorr “The Father of Acadia” - sits just to the east of Cadillac Mountain and reaches a height of 1270 feet. Its rocky, open summit offers some of the park’s best views of the islands to the east, not to mention a great view of the town of Bar Harbor to the northeast. If you’re in the mood to climb Dorr, this short, classic, iron rung ladder trail offers the most exciting and fun route to the top.
You can approach this path from several directions. The most direct route is from the Dorr Mountain Ladder Trail Parking Lot located just to the west of Rte 3, which is just to the south of The Tarn, one of Acadia’s smaller, and yet most picturesque, ponds. If that parking lot is full, you can also park in either The Tarn Parking Lot at the northern end of the pond and hike the Kane Path
in a southward direction until you meet the ladder trail after 0.5 miles, or the Canon Brook Trail Parking Lot (also just off of Rte 3 and a little further south of the main parking lot), and hike part of the Canon Brook and Tarn trails roughly 0.5 miles in a northerly manner until you hit the path.
This trail climbs only slightly during the first 0.1 miles. At that point, however, the path ascends very quickly. From 0.2 miles, until it ends at the Schiff Path
at 0.4 miles, this trail gains a significant amount of elevation, approximately 600 feet of climb in only 0.3 miles! And a good part of that hike occurs on iron rungs and several series of stone steps. Once you reach the Schiff Path
, the climb to the top of Dorr is much more gradual. In order to summit via this route, follow the Schiff Path
up the rest of the eastern face of the mountain, in a westward direction, for another 0.5 miles. Notably, the best approach to this trail is from the bottom. Please don’t try to descend the mountain via this path as that really interferes with the negotiation of the various iron rungs and stone stairs for folks coming up.
Overall, this is the most challenging path to Dorr’s summit, but it’s also the most fun. I used this trail on my very first day in Acadia so many years ago, and I’ll always remember the great views of The Tarn and the large valley between Champlain Mountain and Dorr. This path is not for people who are afraid of heights, especially because there are some tight spaces you have to work through while climbing. But for the most adventurous explorers, this is a highly rewarding, classic, albeit short, Acadia trail that will provide you with some great memories.
Multiple pines, ferns, and other typical Acadia flora.