The Jordan Cliffs Loop offers a challenging hike across the steep slope, iron rungs included, and a strenuous climb up Sargent Mountain. Hikers are rewarded with panoramic views from two mountain summits and a picturesque pond nestled between the mountains. It is not recommended for small children, for people with a fear of heights, or for anyone in wet weather.
- Distance: 5.0 miles round trip
- Terrain: Forested path, granite stairs and slopes, iron rungs, sheer cliffs, rocky trails
- Start at the Jordan Pond boat launch. At the pond, turn left on the Jordan Pond Trail.
- When it connects with the carriage road, turn left on the carriage road. At sign post 15 turn right. The Spring Trail begins after crossing a small wooden foot bridge.
- Continue for .3 miles over a gradual ascent using several sets of stone stairs.
- At the junction for the Jordan Cliffs Trail, bear right and cross the carriage road.
- The Jordan Cliffs Trail continues through the forest as it traverses the rugged east face of Penobscot Mountain. Stone steps, and a narrow, one log bridge provides some assistance. Enjoy views of Jordan Pond and the surrounding mountains where the trail opens up.
- Be cautious as the trail narrows with a 200 foot drop and has an exposed climb with iron rungs.
- After the junction with Penobscot East Trail, the Jordan Cliffs Trail begins a rugged descent for .25 miles and ends at the junction of the Deer Brook Trail and the East Cliffs Trail.
- Continue for .6 miles on the Sargent East Cliffs Trail on a steep, rugged climb. Stone steps provide some assistance.
- Just before the summit of Sargent Mountain, the trail levels off and then gradually ascends. The hiker is rewarded at the summit with excellent views of Jordan Pond, Eagle Lake and the surrounding mountains.
- Continue down Sargent South Ridge Trail with a left turn at the junction with the Penobscot Mountain Trail. The trail descends steeply and passes Sargent Mountain Pond before ascending the north slope of Penobscot.
- Continue south on the Penobscot Mountain Trail, descending on open granite sections.
- At the junction of the Spring Trail, turn left and descend steeply. Use both hands and iron rungs and wooden rails to assist the rugged descent.
- Cross the carriage road and returns to the start near Jordan Pond.
Where to Begin: The Trailhead
Jordan Pond Boat Launch
Getting to the Trailhead:
By car: Starting from ME Route 3, turn off at the Hulls Cove Entrance to Acadia National Park and the Hulls Cove Visitor Center. Follow the Park Loop Road. At 2.8 miles continue straight remaining on the two-way section of the Loop Road following signs for Jordan Pond. Use the North Lot parking area on the right just before the Jordan Pond House. Walk down the boat access to the pond. The Jordan Pond Trail crosses the boat launch. The hike can be taken in either direction.
By bus: Take the fare-free Island Explorer to Jordan Pond House. Check bus schedule for routes and timetables.
This trail and associated trails are closed seasonally to public entry to protect peregrine falcons from inadvertent disturbance or harassment during the nesting period. Park staff has observed adults at these sites engaging in courtship and pre-nesting behavior signaling the birds’ intentions to nest and raise chicks during the spring and early summer. Check current conditions for updates on trail closures before hiking.
There are accessible restrooms at Jordan Pond House.
Trail Safety Tips
- Check trail elevation profile before hiking. This trail is strenuous, rising over 1,000 feet in 0.9 miles
- 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. This trail has many steep sections, with iron rungs, handrails, and exposed ledges.
Last updated: October 20, 2020