This hike stitches together the Gorge Path
(the eastern approach to Cadillac Mountain), the Cadillac North Ridge Trail
, and part of the Kebo Brook Trail
to create a gorgeous 5-mile hike starting from a convenient pull-off on the Park Loop Road.
Features: Birding — Fall Colors — River/Creek — Views — Waterfall — Wildflowers — Wildlife
I recommend over-the-ankle hiking boots for stability, as this route has plenty of rock climbing, steep grades, and slippery-when-wet conditions. Bugs were not bad or non-existent when we did this during a sunny, dry week in September, but that's not always the case. You may want to bring bug repellant just in case.
Starting from the Gorge Path
Parking Area on the Park Loop Road, this hike follows the Gorge Path
south. You'll descend off the road down stone stairs next to a huge stone arch that bridges the road.
A 0.5-mile easy trek through the woods will warm you up before the path starts uphill in earnest following the gorge between Cadillac and Dorr Mountains. The path is steep, more like hiking up a river of rock (you won't see much dirt on this entire hike), with stone stairs and a small stream you'll be following. The trees provide nice cover, so even on a warm day, you won't have much sun exposure for the Gorge Path
Once you reach the junction of the Gorge Path
, Schiff Path
, and A. Murray Young Path
trails, hook a right and start climbing! It's all up steep rock faces to the summit of Cadillac Mountain, but you'll be rewarded with beautiful views of the gorge you just completed and Dorr Mountain across the way to the east. If you look carefully, you can see the sign post denoting the summit of Dorr Mountain and sometimes other hikers descending into the gorge down the Schiff Path
When you summit Cadillac, save some breath for a haughty sniff at those who drove up (just kidding). Take in the scenes from Cadillac in all directions by adding the easy, short, and well marked Cadillac Summit Loop
—less a trail and more of just a nice loop around the summit—before heading down the Cadillac North Ridge Trail
The Cadillac North Ridge Trail
is almost entirely downhill and exposed rock. Some steep sections that take a little climbing down and care for footing (can get slick when wet) exist, but mostly it's a much easier trip than the way up. You come up right next to the road that goes to the summit a few times near some of the scenic pull-offs for those driving up and down. At the bottom, cross the Park Loop Road and head into the trees to pick up the Kebo Brook Trail
. From here, you're in the home stretch.
The KBT is a fairly easy—you'll even feel dirt underfoot again after miles of exposed rock—trek through the woods that you can follow back to the Gorge Path
, the Park Loop Road, and the place you parked. You come back to the road under the same big stone arch you started from, but from the opposite direction. Overall, the arch marks a great end to a beautiful hike!