“An easy and peaceful trail along the SW shore of one of Acadia’s best, and yet quietest, ponds.
— David Onkst
Long Pond is nestled among some of the westernmost peaks of Acadia. That section of Mount Desert Island (MDI) is the quietest and least traveled. Even during the crowded summer months, you can take refuge for quite a while on some of the park’s western trails without seeing anyone. And of all of the paths on that part of MDI, this trail is one of the most pleasant you’ll find.
The best place to access this trail is from the parking lot located directly at the southern end of the pond. There is also another parking lot some 0.4 miles to the west of the trailhead at Gilley Field, should the main parking lot be full, but we’ve never had a problem parking.
This trail starts at the southern tip of Long Pond and runs along its southwestern shore for about 1.7 miles. It then turns sharply back to the southwest and climbs a section of the northern parts of Mansell Mountain and Bernard Mountain until it finally deadends into the Great Notch Trail after a total of 3.1 miles. Technically, you can take this trail in either direction, but most people find that the most pleasant approach is from the south in a counterclockwise fashion.
This trail offers some nice views of the peaceful pond and is well-forested with pines. The last time we took this path, there were several people sunning themselves on the rocks along the pond’s shoreline. Others were floating placidly in their inner tubes. Pine needles blanket parts of the trail, but other sections can get a bit muddy and slippery due to mountain runoff. The elevation change during the first part of the trail is very slight. At 1.7 miles, however, there is a little bit of a climb as you ascend from Long Pond’s shoreline for roughly 1.4 miles to the trail’s southwestern end at approximately 500 feet. At that point, you can take the Great Notch Trail in a southeastern direction until you hit the saddle between Mansell and Bernard, where you’ll have several different trail options to either return to the parking lot or extend the day’s outing a bit longer.
Overall, this is a terrific trail that is not very well-known or used. We believe it to be perhaps the best trail around one of Acadia’s ponds. If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend you put this one on your list—you won’t be sorry! Memories of this trail will stay with you for a long time.
Pines and ferns dot most of the trail.