What’s your favorite kind of hike? A stroll alongside a pond? A heart-pumping scramble across boulders? An exciting squeeze through a narrow ravine? Anything that provides the reward of spectacular views?
Hiking the west side of Pemetic Mountain provides all of these and more.
At 1,248 feet, Pemetic Mountain is only about 300 feet shorter than Cadillac, Mount Desert Island’s highest peak and star attraction for visitors to Acadia National Park. Yet, unlike Cadillac, which is to its east, Pemetic has no tour buses obscuring the views and offers an exceptionally varied hike to its summit.
We started the 4.6 mile loop from the Jordan Pond House, warming up on the pleasant, well-traveled path along the eastern shore of Jordan Pond with the Bubbles in the distance. We crossed a flat stone bridge, passing a vigorous junior hiker, then a wood foot bridge.
The Jordan Pond Carry Trail brought us to the Park Loop Road, where we entered the woods and started the challenging scramble across a boulder field.
We then came to a signpost, offering the option to hike through a ravine or across the steep, smooth granite to the right. Even though it was wet, we opted for the ravine. (This was not my first time through this ravine, so we had prepared with good mosquito repellant!)
The ravine is not as tight as the popular Lemon Squeeze in New York’s Hudson Valley. It has two sections, each of which you emerge from by climbing a large wooden ladder. I think it is really fun.
At the summit you first get breathtaking views of deep, steel-blue Jordan Pond.
More spectacular views of the Cranberry Isles follow as you traverse the mountain and start your descent along the southern ridge.
I highly recommend hiking with a detailed trail map, such as the one of Acadia published by Map Adventures. I never leave home without it. Acadia’s trails are much trickier than you think, even if you have prepared by studying a trail guide.
One other thing that makes a hike a favorite of mine: a stretch of trail covered by a cushion of pine needles. It’s a great way to end a challenging hike. And this trail had that, too.