If you are visiting Acadia National Park, without a doubt, you are going to want to plan out a visit to Jordan Pond. Even if you are visiting Acadia in the winter, you’ll want to head out to this part of the park. Though the area can get very busy, gazing upon the waters of Jordan Pond will give you such a calming feeling. And if you are energetic enough to take on the Jordan Pond Loop or one of the amazing nearby hikes, then you will definitely get out on your own and be able to enjoy the peace and quiet.
We’ve been to Acadia National Park many times, as we live relatively close by and get the opportunity to visit almost annually. Each time we go back and are able to explore the park, we inevitably see the park in a new way and end up finding a new trail to experience. But one thing that is consistent with each trip is that we always head back to Jordan Pond, whether it be for a hike around the pond or just to sit and take in the view as we eat a picnic dinner.
In case you haven’t noticed, we love this area and know you will too!
JORDAN POND LOOP TRAIL DETAILS
- Difficulty: Easy
- Distance: 3.4 miles (round-trip)
- Trail: Loop
- Elevation gain: Minimal
- Peak elevation reached: 291 feet
- Best time of year to hike: Fall for colors, but we recommend any time of year other than during the spring melt-off
- To beat the crowds: Arrive before 7:00 am or after 6:00 pm on peak days
- Footwear: Sneakers or hiking shoes
- Restrooms: Located at the trailhead, but not on the trail
- Pets: Allowed on leash
- Time needed:5 hours
The Jordan Pond Loop Trail is a great spot, but it’s just one of many in Acadia. We recommend our Acadia National Park itinerary if you really want to see what the place is all about. We also include the best places to see in the area, what to pack, hiking details, lodging tips and what to do ahead of your visit.
PARKING AND TRAILHEAD FOR THE JORDAN POND TRAIL
Jordan Pond parking area, courtesy of the National Park Service
The parking area for the Jordan Pond area is on Park Loop Road on the south end of Jordan Pond. There are actually two parking areas-a smaller one near the Jordan Pond House, and a larger one that is just north of the Jordan Pond House.
Park Loop Road has many amazing stops, but be advised that since the parking area does fill up very fast on busy days that if you want to head to Jordan Pond, we recommend you just head there so you can be sure to get a spot.
- Directions from Bar Harbor, Maine to the Jordan Pond Parking area (this will take about 20 minutes from Bar Harbor when the traffic is present).
The parking area near the Jordan Pond House has nearly 100 spots. As we mentioned, these fill up quickly. The parking lot to the north as about 200 spots available. You can start your visit to Jordan Pond from either parking area and you’ll still have a great time. If you can’t find a spot initially, just wait a bit and you’ll likely get a spot that opens up. However, the Park Service may be preventing people to go in the lot during certain times of day, and if that happens, just come back at a later time or the following day.
There are restrooms at both parking areas, though the ones near the Jordan Pond House have flush toilets and running water, whereas the other parking area has only pit toilets. There are no restrooms on the trail.
JORDAN POND LOOP TRAIL: TRAIL SURFACE AND ACCESSIBILITY
- Trail surface. The Jordan Pond Loop is really broken up into three sections. On the west side of the loop, the trail is almost exclusively on planks. They are two planks wide (about 18 inches) with passing platforms strategically placed throughout the route. It then transitions to a rocky surface before it gets to the east side, which is all packed dirt and quite easy.
- Accessibility. The trail is not wheelchair accessible and due to the rocky part of the trail, this is not for those who are not sure on their feet. For those that need a bit more stability, we recommend just staying on the east side of the loop.
PREPARATION FOR HIKING THE JORDAN POND LOOP TRAIL
While the trail is not very long, you should plan on being out for a couple hours. That means that you do need to bring with you a few supplies just to be sure. We recommend these essentials:
- Water. Don’t forget to bring water with you. Even though the temperatures in Maine are relatively mild, it can get humid and you should bring water with you. We recommend a water bottle or a hydration pack. You can refill your water near the Jordan Pond House ahead of the hike.
- Shoes. This trail is easy, but we still recommend sturdy sneakers or closed-toed shoes, especially for the rocks. We love these hiking shoes as they are not too bulky. We have also heard great things about these hiking sandals.
- Map. We always bring a map with us. Not only does it help us to know where to go (as there are a ton of other trails you can take in Acadia from the Jordan Pond area), but we also use the map to help us to identify what it is we are looking at! This map of Acadia is excellent.
JORDAN POND INFORMATION
Jordan Pond was formed by glaciers long ago. The mix of forest and surrounding mountain scenery is really impressive. The pond is nearly 200 acres, and is larger than many lakes! Its maximum depth is 150 feet.
Boating is allowed on the pond, but swimming is not as this is a public drinking water supply.
HIKING THE JORDAN POND LOOP TRAIL
Jordan Pond Loop Trail map, courtesy of the National Park Service
After parking, the trail can be picked up by heading down to Jordan Pond. If hiking from the Jordan Pond house, there is a short descent down a path to the water. If you parked at the larger parking lot to the north, just head to the boat ramp area and begin your hike there.
You can hike in either direction, but we prefer to hike in the clockwise direction, as that tends to be the more popular flow of traffic and you have to do less waiting when walking on the planked path.
Heading to the left (from the Jordan Pond House), the path comes to the Jordan Pond Dam Bridge. Do your best to spend a few minutes checking out the bridge, either on the way out or on the way back. Each bridge in Acadia is unique. The bridge was built in 1920 for a total cost of just $2375! The dam is owned by the Seal Harbor Water Company.
From the start of the hike to the dam, you’ll have great views of South and North Bubble (“The Bubbles”) on the north side of the pond.
Shortly after the dam, the trail head to the north alongside the west bank of Jordan Pond. The trail transitions quickly from packed dirt to a planked boardwalk. This boardwalk helps protect the nearby delicate ecosystem from the large amount of foot traffic that hikes this trail annually. The ground here is damp too, so your feet would get pretty muddy if the planks weren’t here!
Off to the east (across the pond) is Pemetic Mountain. The hike up here is challenging and quite steep, as you can tell just by looking at how high the mountain is relative to where you are at Jordan Pond!
The wood walkway continues for about 0.5 miles, before transitioning briefly to a packed gravel path. Before too long you’ll be at the rock scramble. While not too challenging, take great care when walking through this part of the hike. The water area at the bottom of the scramble is known as “Tumbledown Cove.”
After the rock cropping you’ll approach the northern side of Jordan Pond. From here you’ll see an amazing view of the pond to the south. The trail crosses a small footbridge. We always like to stop here for pictures.
Continue on the east side of Jordan Pond. From here it is about 1.6 miles back to the Jordan Pond House. The packed dirt path is easy the rest of the way back. While hiking, be on the lookout for beaver, or at least their work as you can see stumps that have been left after taking down a tree. It’s pretty impressive, for sure!
When you are finished, if the line isn’t too long it is worth stopping for a snack at the Jordan Pond House. Their popovers are what they are famous for, and they are a nice treat! They also offer full meals during the day.
JORDAN POND LOOP TRAIL: TOP LIKES AND DISLIKES
- Pretty Views. It’s great to get on top of a mountain to see expansive views, but on the other hand, it’s also amazing to get in the middle of mountains and hike along a pond. This offers amazing views through the entire trail!
- Easy Loop Trail. We frequently take this hike after venturing out on a more challenging hike earlier in the day. It’s flat and a great way to cool down. Additionally, since it’s a loop trail, you don’t have to pass through the same part of the trail twice!
- Wildlife Sign. Though beavers can be quite destructive, it’s still cool to see the stumps of trees that they have taken down or are in the process of taking down. Their markings are really interesting, especially for the kids.
- Heavy Crowds. While manageable, the crowds here can be pretty heavy. You usually won’t have too much trouble once you get on the trail, but it’s getting parking and getting to the trail that can be pretty busy.
HIKING THE JORDAN POND LOOP TRAIL IN WINTER
The Jordan Pond Loop trail is great in the winter. Since it’s flat, it’s very manageable. We still recommend the following, though:
- Wear some sort of traction for your shoes. We love the Hillsound Trail Crampons.
- Take your time. The trail conditions are usually good, but you will be on the wooden planks and have to navigate through the rocks, and it can be dangerous.
Still, Jordan Pond is so quiet in the winter, and definitely worth visiting! If you do go, then check out our blog on Visiting Acadia National Park in the Winter.
THINGS TO DO NEAR THE JORDAN POND LOOP TRAIL
The Jordan Pond area is full of many things to do. You could easily park here and spend a full day if you have supplies and the energy to do so! Our recommendations include:
- One of our favorite hikes to do is the Bubbles Trail. You can access it right from the Jordan Pond Loop (on the north side). From here it’s a steep climb up to South Bubble, which has great views of Jordan Pond from the top.
- The Pemetic North and South Ridge Trails is an excellent hike, but it is hard and about 6.6 miles. It offers great views to the south in particular. Plan on it taking about four hours.
- If you are in for easy hiking, then the Carriage Roads are a great option. You can pick one up right near the dam, or on the north side of the pond by hiking up the Deer Brook Trail a short way and then returning on the Carriage Road and meeting up with the Jordan Pond Loop Trail on the south end of the pond.
FURTHER INFORMATION ON ACADIA NATIONAL PARK FROM JUST GO TRAVEL STUDIOS
- Don’t forget to download your copy of the Acadia National Park itinerary ahead of your trip.
- Be sure to check out our other blogs on Acadia, including What to See and Do in Acadia, Acadia in the Winter and the Best Hikes in Acadia National Park.
- After your trip, send us a photo or two and we’ll create a vintage-style travel poster. It’s a great way to remember your trip forever!