Jordan Pond is one of the prettiest parts of Acadia National Park. The house, the mountains on either side, and then the Bubbles at the far end…it’s perfect. I’ve seen it in the rain and during one of the most beautiful sunsets of my life. And it always looks good. So why not spend more time with her and walk the Jordan Pond Path.
There are a three must-sees for me when it comes to Acadia. Driving the Park Loop Road and hitting up the famous coastal landmarks along the Ocean Path is one. Taking in the views at Cadillac Mountain Summit is another. And then there’s Jordan Pond. You have to come here and see it. It’s classic Acadia.
Now there are plenty of hikes all around Jordan Pond. I love summiting the Bubbles (South and North), and the Jordan Cliffs trail is a gem (if you’re not scared of heights). But if you’re looking for an easy hike that almost anyone can do, then the Jordan Pond Path may be the hike for you.
Jordan Pond Path
What makes Jordan Pond special?
For one, its setting. Located in deep valley carved by the glaciers, it’s surrounded by beautiful mountains. Standing on the southern shore looking towards the Bubbles (the two rounded peaks at the far end) is perhaps the most iconic view of the whole national park.
And then there’s the Jordan Pond House. Known for its tea and popovers, you should definitely make a reservation to have either lunch or dinner. And the best way to either work up an appetite (or recover from eating all those popovers) is to take a leisurely hike around Jordan Pond.
And this is a leisurely hike. The path is very flat and though there are a few more challenging sections (more on that below), this is not a thrilling trail. There are beautiful views at every turn and I’m constantly stopping to admire them.
But if you are with people who get bored easily (or who don’t take out their camera constantly), maybe plan to combine the Jordan Pond Path with more exciting hikes.
Two add-on options are to start on the Jordan Cliffs trail and then to return on the Jordan Pond Path (see my trail guide for the details). Or to summit South Bubble during your loop, adding about 1.5+ miles to your hike. More on how to do this below!
One last important point as we get into the trail guide. Jordan Pond is a designated public water supply. Swimming and wading is prohibited. Even for dogs.
Okay now onto the good stuff.
Where should you park?
There are two lots you can park in. The Jordan Pond North lot or the Jordan Pond House lot (which is very small). I prefer to park at the North lot which is just before the house.
Now Jordan Pond is very popular. And the lot, which isn’t huge, will fill up extremely early and be full most of the day.
In 2022, I arrived a little before 10 and there was so much traffic that it was bumper to bumper going through the lot. I lucked out and someone backed out right in front of me. But I was planning to just return to Bar Harbor and try again some other time.
Your other option of course is to take the free Island Explorer (which is even dog friendly). Now if you’re coming from Bar Harbor, you will have to make a transfer at Hulls Cove (which is going to add a significant amount of time). But if the park’s busy, this may be the only way you’ll be able to see Jordan Pond.
The Island Explorer is a free shuttle that will take you to all the main spots on the island. Since the park’s popularity has exploded in recent years, parking has become a HUGE problem. Check out the routes and timetables to see if it’ll work for you. AND it’s dog friendly!
Okay you’ve made it! Now onto the hike.
The Jordan Pond Path loops around the pond at its shoreline. So there are many places to go to pick it up.
If you’re coming from the House (and the Island Explorer drop off), make your way around to the back of the house and head towards the pond.
If you managed to score a parking spot, walk northwest to the back of the parking loop (towards the pond). There’s a small bathroom / pit toilet there. You’ll then see the boat launch and that’s where you want to head down. If you get lost, just head towards the House (there are a lot of paths to it) and then follow the above.
Hello Jordan Pond!
Now this is a loop hike. So which way should you go? Overall the hike is pretty flat, so either direction isn’t bad. But here’s my guidance.
The left (or west) side of the loop is more tricky. It’s made up of boardwalks over some wetlands and a bouldery/rocky section that you’ll have to traverse. Footing there can be tricky.
The right (or east) side of the loop is a mostly well-groomed gravel path with a few bridges. This is the easy side.
If you have young kids or anyone who’s slower, very inexperienced, or just have mobility issues, you can just do the right side. You can walk up to the bottom of the Bubbles, and then turn around.
My father who is a senior and has low energy levels, thinks the left side is hard. In 2022, he decided to just do the right side and was perfectly content. (And happy he still got to do some of the hike.)
For me, I like to do the hike in a clockwise direction. I’ll start with the more difficult west side and then finish up on the easy side. I was very out of shape during our trip in 2022 so this was prefect. Just as I was starting to get a little tired, things got easier.
Heading left towards the west side, you’ll enter a forested area. For about a mile you’ll be walking along wooden boardwalks.
The boardwalks themselves are not that wide (single file). But there are sections every 30-50ft or so that are wider. This is where you’ll pass people or make way for the other direction. I tended to step over and wait whenever I got to these sections first.
It was also good training for Ellie to sit and wait for other people to pass us by.
Just be sure to use these wider sections. Stay on the path and the boardwalk at all times to protect the fragile vegetation in this area.
After the section with the boardwalks, you’ll eventually hit the more rocky area. The boulder field was formed from granite rocks that fell from the cliffs above. Most of the time there is a clear-ish wide path through, but you may have to do a bit of stepping/scrambling around some of the larger boulders.
This was the section my father struggled with in previous years and wanted to skip in 2022.
The rocks will give way to a clearer path near the north end of the Pond. Here you’ll cross over several streams via some beautifully-constructed wooden bridges.
It’s also here at the north end of the pond where you’ll encounter the trails with South Bubble if you want to include its summit in your hike. You have three options. See the map below for reference.
The Bubbles Divide Trail is the first one you’ll encounter if you’re hiking counter-clockwise. It’s steep, but doable. It connects directly to the Bubbles Trail where you can turn left and summit South Bubble. You can then go back the way you came or go down the Bubbles Trail to Jordan Pond.
The Bubbles Trail heads straight up the steepest face of South Bubble straight to the summit. It’s steep and hard to climb. It’s not for people afraid of heights. And it’s often very crowded. But it’s also the most direct route. Oh and it’s not very dog friendly. My sister started to head down it with her corgi and decided to turn around and go down the Jordan Pond Carry.
The Jordan Pond Carry is the longest and gentlest trail (but there’s really less than a 1/2 mile difference). Its connection to Jordan Pond is right next to the Bubbles Trail. But it makes a small loop with the Bubbles Divide Trail to get the summit.
If you want to hike the Bubbles Trail for the experience, I’d suggest to actually hike up the Bubbles Trail (as its easier to hike up hard, scrambling trails – see all the iron rung ones), and then to come down the Bubbles Divide or the Jordan Pond Carry depending on the direction you’re hiking.
Okay you’re through all the intersections! Now onto the east side (the right side) of the Jordan Pond. Or, more importantly, the easy side.
There are a few rocky areas, but the trail is consistently flat and gravel. Just use caution around the stepping stones and small bridges where trickles of streams make their way down towards the shoreline.
Eventually you’ll make your way back towards the boat launch and the Jordan Pond House.
FAQs for Jordan Pond Path
Is the trail dog friendly? Acadia National Park is dog friendly as long as you keep them on a 6ft (or less) leash. Just be sure to keep your dog out of the water as Jordan Pond is a public water supply.
Where should you park? There are two lots you can park in. The Jordan Pond North lot (my preference) or the Jordan Pond House lot (which is very small). I prefer to park at the North lot which is just before the house. But are very popular and fill up very early.
Is there a trail map? Check out my trail map below!
Is there a fee? You’ll need a park pass to enter Acadia National Park.
Planning your trip to Acadia National Park & Bar Harbor?
Itineraries & Guides
- Ultimate Guide to Visiting Acadia National Park
- One Week in Bar Harbor Itinerary
- 5 Awesome Things to Do in Acadia National Park
- One Day in Acadia National Park
- The 5 Best Hikes in Acadia National Park
- The Best Lobster Pounds in Bar Harbor
- The Best Restaurants in Bar Harbor
- 20 Photos of Bar Harbor
- Bar Harbor in September
- Discover the Iron Rung Hikes in Acadia National park
- Jordan Pond Path
- Ocean Path
- Great Head Trail
- Bubble Rock Trail
- North Bubble Loop Trail
- Acadia Mountain
- Jordan Cliffs Trail
- Beech Cliff Trail
- Beehive Trail
- Gorham Mountain Loop Trail
- Precipice Trail
Other Things to Do in the National Park and in Bar Harbor:
- Biking the Carriage Roads
- Rock Climbing
- Sea Kayaking
- Bass Harbor Lighthouse for sunset
- Whale Watching Tour
- Walk to Bar Island
- Atlantic Brewery Tour
- Ghost Tour
Where to Stay:
On our first trip to Bar Harbor we stayed at the Holiday Inn Regency. It was a little outside of town but was on the Island Explorer bus route which was handy.
If you want to stay in one of the classic Bar Harbor inns though, you can’t beat the Bar Harbor Inn & Spa. This is literally in the heart of Bar Harbor.
When my whole family goes, we usually rent a house with VRBO or Airbnb. The extra space for 4 adults really comes in handy. There are several options in Bar Harbor and on Mount Desert Island.
There’s also a few campgrounds in Acadia National Park as well if you’d like to stay in the park. Make sure to check the location of where they are.