Tarn to Ladder Trail

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 44.35454°N / 68.2161°W
Additional Information Route Type: Hiking, Scrambling
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Difficulty: Moderate
Sign the Climber's Log


Looking for a fun quiet hike in Acadia, even during peak season? If so, this route is up your alley.

While the Tarn Trail will take you on a easy walk past a small glacial pond, it will join with the Ladder Trail providing hikers with a strenuous work-out as it climbs over 1000 vertical feet in less than 1/2 a mile.

Getting There

The Tarn Trail trailhead can be reached by following the directions on the main page. Be sure to continue south on Route 3 past the Nature Center parking area and the trailhead will be on the west side of Route 3 in about 1/16 of a mile.

Route Description

The trail itself is very straight-forward. From the Tarn Trail trailhead travel south around the western edge of The Tarn. Be aware that during blackfly and mosquito season no amount of bug spray will keep them at bay. Travel ~ 1/4 mile on the Tarn Trail until you reach the Ladder Trail junction.

From the trail junction you immediately begin to climb the eastern wall of Dorr Mountain. The trail is well marked and easily followed as the fist 650' of elevation is gained by using granite steps. There are several rest areas along the path as you are literally climbing stairs as if in a 65 story building.
Rocky Walls

After the stairs end the trail will wall-out
In the crack
and you will head slightly north. The Door Mountain East Face Trail will join the Ladder Trail from the north as well. At this point you will continue on Ladder Trail headed northwest.

You will quickly come to the first of several iron ladders/ rungs that will take you switch-back style up the next 250'. The ladders and rungs are very solid and easy to use.

After the you complete the ladder section (about 3 ladders) the trail's grade becomes more gradual, although you still have another 200 feet of
Wet Slabs
vertical gain ahead of you. The trail at this point will be blazed and cairned as you hike over exposed granite meanedering through scrub trees until you reach the summit clearing. The true summit is about 100 yards to the left of where the trail ends. It is marked by a large cairn with a tree trunk sticking out from the cairn.

From here you may return the way you came or take one of the many other trails leading from the summit to other areas of the park, including the Cadillac-Door trail which will take you to Cadillac Mountain

Essential Gear

Seasonal gear is required.

If wet this hike can be very slippery.

External Links

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