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black Dorr Mountain Ladder Trail Loop

  4.7 ( 11 )

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3.4 mile 5.5 kilometer loop


Ascent: 1,142' 348 m
Descent: -1,142' -348 m
High: 1,248' 381 m
Low: 114' 35 m


Avg Grade: 13% (7°)
Max Grade: 70% (35°)


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Trail shared by Zander Göpfert

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An exciting loop up the Dorr Mountain Ladder Trail, down the ridge, returning up through The Gorge.

Zander Göpfert

Features Fall Colors · Views


This route features one of the most interesting sections of trail in the whole park. The Dorr Mountain Ladder Trail is one of the oldest trails that utilizes stone steps, while also using three separate metal ladders to climb up massive granite boulders to the top of Dorr Mountain.

This trail is not suitable for small children or visitors who are sensitive to heights or exposure. Most capable visitors will find this route exciting and not overly dangerous, but there are inherent physical demands involved in climbing the ladders that should be considered before embarking on the trail.


To access this loop hike, head off the Park Loop Road at Sieur de Monts onto State Route 3. Head south on this road and look for the Dorr Mountain Trailhead Pull-off Parking Area just past the south end of The Tarn.

From the parking area, head west on the Dorr Mountain Ladder Trail. This trail starts abruptly with an almost immediate climb up granite steps. There are three metal ladders that help the climb up a series of granite boulders. This stretch, though physically demanding, has some very interesting rock formations that are worth exploring.

After a half mile, the trail terminates at the Schiff Path. This trail will begin to level out, though it still continues to climb toward the top of Dorr Mountain, gaining another 400-500 feet in elevation in just over a half mile.

From the top of Dorr Mountain, the views are stunning, with a great vantage point of the Mt Desert Narrows to the east and Cadillac Mountain to the west. From the peak, head south onto the Dorr South Ridge Trail as it descends the southern ridge.

At mile 2.3, the trail culminates at the Canon Brook Trail. This trail heads back north on low, level ground. After three-quarters of a mile, continue north onto the Kane Path as it heads through The Gorge below the eastern slope of Dorr Mountain, which you just summited.

Finish this loop by returning on the beginning section of the Dorr Mountain Ladder Trail, back to the Dorr Mountain Trailhead Parking Area.

History & Background

The Dorr Mountain Ladder Trail was built by Waldron Bates. Bates was the Chair of the Roads and Paths Committee of the Bar Harbor Village Improvement Association between 1900 and 1909 and during that time he began to employ metal rungs, ladders, and stone steps to help ascend the numerous peaks in the park.


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Sep 22, 2018
Noah Kline
Aug 31, 2018
Colleen Elizabeth
Aug 30, 2018
Colleen Elizabeth
Aug 22, 2018
Meghan Lacovara
Aug 19, 2018
Ryan Cummings
Aug 17, 2018
Aug 7, 2018
Gregg Feaster
August '18 day two of the heat wave.
Jul 20, 2018
J Nizzle

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 11 votes


  4.7 from 11 votes
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2,137 Since Jul 7, 2016
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There are a number of great hikes up dorr Mountain, and most popular is located behind the Spring House Dome at Sieur de Monts Spring and follows a very long series of stone steps as it makes its way up the side of the mountain. A lesser known route and the one I prefer is the Homans Trail, it joins the main trail further up the mountain but offers views you can only get from the Homans Trail, as well as key places along the trail, like the donut hole and the Passage, a long series of stone steps that pass up through a narrow passage with walls of granite to either side. George B. Dorr, often considered the Father of Acadia National Park, had large slabs of granite placed over the top of the passage to give the hiker the experience that they are passing through a cave. This trail is not easy to locate, follow the Jesup path behind the Nature Center at Sieur de Monts Spring, when it comes to an intersection the Jesup Path becomes a boardwalk. At that intersection, about three car lengths away is a small trail marker for the Homans Trail. I will post some photos I took of the Homans Trail. Jan 30, 2018

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