Last updated: October 20, 2020
This out and back trail is the longer, more scenic option for reaching the summit of Cadillac Mountain. Ascend a forested path to a unique meadow-like area before continuing your climb on an exposed granite ridgeline with spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and outlying islands before reaching the summit. It is very popular in the summer months, with options to descend other trails and use the Island Explorer to return to the trailhead.
- Distance: 7.1 miles roundtrip
- Terrain and Safety: Forested path, granite ridgeline, one iron rung. The trail is rocky with uneven footing. Good foot wear is recommended.
The trail starts in a forested area and gradually steepens as it approaches the ridge.
At the junction with Eagle’s Crag, there is a .3 mi spur trail (Eagle’s Crag Loop Trail) to the right, which rejoins the South Ridge Trail. Take this for views from an overlook of the forest below and ocean further out.
Continue on the South Ridge Trail through the forest and reach The Featherbed, a small pond with a bench.
The trail climbs a steep section and becomes more exposed, eventually going above the treeline along the ridge.
It descends again, crossing an old road, and then ascends to the summit. Use the gravel access road to reach the summit parking area.
Return the same way, or choose Cadillac North Ridge Trail or Gorge Path for a shorter return and use Island Explorer to get back to the trailhead.
The Trailhead: Where to Begin
The Cadillac South Ridge Trail
Getting to the Trailhead:
By car: Starting from ME Route 3, turn off at the Hulls Cove Entrance to the park and the beginning of the Park Loop Road. Follow the Park Loop Road 2.8 miles before turning left onto the one way section towards Sand Beach. Exit the Park Loop Road at Sieur de Monts to reach ME Route 3, then turn right. Follow ME Route 3 through the village of Otter Creek. The trailhead is located on the right just past Blackwoods Campground, which is on the left. Parking is along the shoulder of the road. There is no road sign for the trailhead. Limited parking in the summer months from 9 am - 3 pm
By bus: Take the fare-free Island Explorer (mid-June through October) to Blackwoods Campground. Check bus schedule for routes and timetables.
There is limited accessible parking at Blackwoods Campground, but no restrooms.
Trail Safety Tips
- Check trail elevation profile or a topographic map before hiking.
- Bring a map, water, snacks, compass, and extra layers for unpredictable changes in weather.
- Reduce the chance of picking up ticks by staying in the center of the trail, and not stepping on soils and away from brush.
- Always do a tick check after visiting the park.
- Closed-toe, good traction shoes recommended because most trail surfaces are very unlevel.