Acadia Hiking Guide: Hadlock Ponds
Not all hikes offer spectacular views of the ocean and lakes, but what good are those hikes on foggy days? There are plenty of hikes that weave in and around the mountains and lakes that offer tranquility and peace. The Hadlock Ponds area is one of those worth taking in on foggy days.
One good thing about these hikes is that there are plenty of different loops that one can do. I prefer the hike that starts out near Lower Hadlock Pond and comes back around by Upper Hadlock Pond. It takes about an hour-and-a-half and can be done in multiple different ways. We recommend having a trail map with you because there are also plenty of non-Acadia hiking trails (read: private property) that are definitely OK to hike on but aren’t as well signed as those in the actual park. This is especially true on the southern end of Lower Hadlock Pond (Schoolhouse Ledge in particular).
I start out at the Brown Mtn. Gate parking lot and cross Rt. 198 to find the trail that will take you to Lower Hadlock Pond. Go right at the pond and follow that to the end until you get to the wooden bridge. To stay on Lower Hadlock, and to do the easier hike up Norumbega Mtn, go left. To head north, as I do, stay right until the next trailhead. At that next trailhead, go left toward the Goat Trail parking lot. Take this until you get to one of the parking areas off Rt. 198 an the start of the Goat Trail hike, which is the harder trail going up Norumbega Mtn..
From there, cross the street to the north side of Upper Hadlock Pond. At the carriage trail, you can go right on the carriage trail, which will bring you back to the Brown Mtn. Gate parking area, or you can head straight up to continue on the Hadlock Brook Trail. Going straight probably adds about 30min to the hike or so. I like to stay on the carriage trail because I like the walk along there, especially with my dog in tow (or in the lead, depending on how many chipmunks are about). The carriage trail is the Around Mountain trail.
Along the carriage trail you’ll eventually find the Hadlock Ponds Trail on the right. If you take that, it’ll cross back over Rt. 198 and bring you back to Lower Hadlock Pond and eventually the wooden bridge. I stay on the carriage trail still. When on the carriage trail, you’ll come to a couple of sign posts. Just follow the road back to the Brown Mtn. Gatehouse and all will be well.
The entire hike the way I described it is about 1.5 hours. Staying on the Hadlock Brook Trail makes it about 2 – 2.5 hours, and cutting over to the Hadlock Ponds Trail is about 2 hours flat.
For info on what these hikes are like, come stay with us and we’ll gladly point you in the right direction: www.miramonte.com.