The Tarn, one of Acadia’s most underappreciated ponds, sits at the northern end of a valley that spits Dorr Mountain to the west, and Champlain Mountain and Huguenot Head to the east. It’s one of the park’s smaller ponds, yet also one of its most picturesque. Many people overlook it because it’s not as well-known as some of Acadia’s larger bodies of water, but if you take this trail along its western shore, you’ll get some terrific and memorable views, guaranteed.
You can easily access the Kane Path from two different parking lots. One is the Beachcroft Path
lot at The Tarn’s northern end, while the other is the Dorr Mountain Ladder Trail
lot at the pond’s southern end. Although this trail technically runs for a total of 0.8 miles from The Tarn’s northwestern tip, to roughly 0.3 miles past its southern end, some people think of it as two separate trails, while others call the entire path something else. Essentially, most people refer to the trail’s entire 0.8 miles as Kane Path, but others call it Tarn Trail. Still others—largely thanks to the area’s most popular hiking map—call the northern 0.5 miles the Kane Path, and the southern 0.3 miles Tarn Trail. Although this is sometimes confusing, it’s still important to know that different names exist for certain parts, or all, of this trail.
This path is one of the park’s easiest trails. There is hardly any elevation gain. Several large, well-placed, stepping stones help you skim the surface of The Tarn’s western edge. Along the way, you’ll get some terrific views of the surrounding mountains, and the water bound flora and fauna of this placid pond. After 0.5 miles, you’ll come across the eastern trailhead of the Dorr Mountain Ladder Trail
, which climbs up to the west, as well as the heavily forested section of the valley, just to The Tarn’s south. This section of the path runs for 0.3 miles until it connects with the Canon Brook Trail
. Notably, the northern end of Kane Path also links-up with several other trails including Jesup Path
, Kurt Diederich’s Climb, and the Beachcroft Path
, so lots of options exist to extend your outing into a more challenging hike.
This was absolutely the very first trail in Acadia that I ever did. We first set foot on it when we began a circuit up Dorr Mountain and I will always have great memories of it. Although it’s easy to overlook this path, as well as The Tarn, if you seek this hike out, it will be worth the trip. It’s definitely something you’ll never forget.
Multiple pines, ferns, lily pads, water grasses, and other typical Acadia flora. There are also several water fowl, frogs, fishes, and if you’re lucky, an occasional otter or muskrat.