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Orange & Black Path

 4.3 (3)
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Length

0.9 Miles 1.4 Kilometers


Elevation

218' 66 m

Ascent

-487' -148 m

Descent

15%

Avg Grade (9°)

42%

Max Grade (23°)

449' 137 m

High

67' 20 m

Low

Conditions


Unknown

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A unique and historic 'rockslide' trail with great views of Frenchman Bay and the Schoodic Peninsula

David Onkst

Overview

The park sometimes closes the southern part of this trail during the spring and parts of summer due to the nesting activities of Peregrine Falcons. So always check the path’s status on the park’s website before heading out.
Features: Fall Colors — Views [Add/Remove]
Dogs: Leashed

Description [Suggest Changes]

This historic trail crosses several rockslide areas on its climb up the northeast shoulder of Champlain Mountain. It is one of the park’s first paths. Rudolf-Ernst Brünnow, a Princeton University professor - and the designer of some of the park’s other famous trails including the Precipice Trail (to which this path links) - was the main builder of this path in the early 1910s. Its name comes from Princeton’s colors—Orange and Black. Throughout the years, the path has endured some significant rock slides, including one in the 1990s and one in the mid-2000s, which was the result of a sizable earthquake. The park had to shut it down for a few years after the earthquake to repair all of the damage, but the trail was back in action by late 2009.

This path is the best way to get to the second half of the Precipice Trail, and one of the few ways to connect to the northern portion of the Champlain Ridge trails. The full hike starts where the trail meets the western side of the Schooner Head Path. There is no parking close to the trailhead. Your best bet is to park in the Precipice Trail parking lot located next to the Park Loop Road. From there, hike eastward on Murphy Lane for 0.3 miles, and then take the Schooner Head Path north along a low-lying marshy area for roughly another 0.7 miles.

The trail starts out very gradually for the first 0.25 miles until it crosses over the Park Loop Road. From there you’ll start ascending rather quickly, including a series of rock stairs that crosses one of the rockslide areas of the trail. At about 0.5 miles you’ll reach a trail junction. To continue on the Orange and Black Path, turn to the south (if you head to the north you’ll reach the Champlain Ridge North Trail in roughly 0.1 miles). Hiking southward on the Orange and Black Path, you’ll run into the Precipice Trail in another 0.5 miles. That’s where this trail technically ends and you should double back and retrace your steps to the beginning. One could go down the first half of the Precipice Trail, although it is not recommended due to that fact that the Precipice Trail can get quite crowded and it’s difficult to negotiate the steep climb down in the opposite direction of most hikers.

In sum, this trail is very rocky, but provides some great views of Frenchman Bay and Schoodic Peninsula to the east. Treading up the path not only gives you great views, but also a connection to the past, to a time when the park’s first trails started to come into existence.

Flora & Fauna [Suggest Changes]

Pink Granite.

Contacts

You & This Trail


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Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

Sep 7, 2016
D.j. Herring
did most of this trail coming back from precipice trail, has some really cool steps
Apr 3, 2016
Marcy Johnson

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 3 votes

#4875

Overall
  4.3 from 3 votes
5 Star
33%
4 Star
67%
3 Star
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2 Star
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1 Star
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Rankings

#79

in Maine

#4,875

Overall
33 Views Last Month
547 Since Sep 1, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

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The official Orange and Black trail was nicely covered above, however that is only about two thirds of the trail that Rudolf-Ernst Brünnow built, the other third of the trail was abandoned by the Park Service. Sadly the section they abandoned was the section of the Orange and Black trail that contains the once popular Hanging Steps. It incorporated a short section of the Precipice trail before continuing on, and without markers is very hard to find. The far end of the abandoned section is easier to locate and you can find directions to it at abandoned Trails of Acadia National Park. The other end of the trail begins just past the Precipice parking lot, walk along the side of the road on the right hand side moving in the direction of the traffic and be looking for a well worn path that is unmarked. The path today is mainly used by the local rock climbing schools. When the path comes to a towering wall of granite, turn left, and than turn right. Here the path makes its way upward toward an old tree whose twisted branches droop across the trail. Once past the tree the path continues straight ahead a short ways before turning to the right and than the left, by than you will be following stone steps which leads upward to the Hanging Steps. The Hanging Steps got their name because a new approach was used on them, using a series of hidden iron rods, the massive stone steps appear to hang in mid air. It is not known why the Park Service abandoned this section of the Orange and Black Trail, but the Hanging Steps are well worth the time to locate. The trail continues on until it reconnects back to the Precipice Trail. Jan 25, 2018

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