Valley Cove Trail

Valley Cove Trail is located on the west side of Mount Desert Island, along Somes Sound. It is part of Acadia National Park. It is 1 mile in length. It’s considered challenging because the terrain is very uneven and rocky.

Hike Description

  • Valley Cove connects to many other trails and is often hiked as part of a loop. These trails include Flying Mountain Trail, Valley Cove Road, Valley Peak Trail, Man O’ War Brook Fire Road, and Acadia Mountain Trail.
  • This trail was originally built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, also known as the CCC, between 1933 and 1942. The CCC was a program that provided work opportunities for young men during the Great Depression. In Acadia, there were two CCC camps: Eagle Lake and Great Pond (aka Long Pond near Southwest Harbor.)
  • The blue paint on the rocks are called trail blazes. They mark the trail so that hikers know where to go. The lines you see on the rocks are drill marks. The CCC, and later Acadia’s trail crew, cut granite to build stone stairs. To cut granite, trail workers drill a row of 3” deep holes into the rock, then place steel wedges into the holes, and tap the wedges with a hammer until the granite splits.
  • Trail builders only used hand tools. Some of these tools include grub hoes, hand saws, shovels, pick axes, rakes, and hammers.
  • Valley Cove Trail is located just about the Somes Sound. Somes Sound is a fjard, which is a long, narrow, glacially sculpted arm of the sea. It used to be called a fjord, but it was changed to fjard because it lacked some of the defining features of fjords such as extreme vertical topography. It is 5 miles long and ranges between around 30-150 feet in depth.
  • Valley Cove Trail is closed from March to August during years when Peregrine Falcons nest here. Peregrine Falcons are a state-listed endangered species that use cliff walls around Valley Cove to build their nests and raise their fledglings. In the fall, they migrate and Valley Cove reopens. Recently, falcons were successfully born at this location every year from 2016 to 2019.
  • Valley Cove Trail was closed from 2016 to 2020 due to dangerous conditions. The trail crew at Acadia National Park worked hard to rehabilitate the trail, adding 384 new stone steps, 1,700 feet of new retaining walls, and 200 feet of bog walks so that hikers can now enjoy the trail safely.
  • When hiking, it is important that people protect nature by following Leave No Trace principles. Some things you can do include staying on the trail, packing out all of your trash and food, and respecting wildlife.

Last updated: August 19, 2021