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Sargent Mountain Hiking Guide – Acadia National Park

By Thomas Tash

sargent mountain

Sargent Mountain Hiking Guide – Acadia National Park

January 13, 2024by Thomas Tash

Hiking Sargent Mountain: Your Comprehensive Guide to Acadia National Park’s Majestic Peak

Acadia National Park, nestled on Maine’s Mount Desert Island, is renowned for its rugged coastal beauty, diverse wildlife, and extensive trail system. Among its many peaks, Sargent Mountain stands out as the second-highest peak in the park, offering hikers breathtaking views, challenging trails, and a sense of tranquility away from the more crowded routes. This detailed guide covers everything you need to know about hiking Sargent Mountain, including trail options, highlights, essential preparation tips, parking details, and more.

Getting to Sargent Mountain

Sargent Mountain is centrally located on Mount Desert Island, making it accessible from various points within Acadia National Park. The most common trailheads are located near Jordan Pond and the surrounding areas.

Parking Details:

  • Jordan Pond House Parking Area: This is the most convenient parking area for accessing Sargent Mountain. The lot can become crowded quickly, especially during peak season. Arriving early in the morning is recommended to secure a spot.

Trail Options

Sargent Mountain offers several trails, each providing unique experiences and varying levels of difficulty. Here are the primary trails you can choose from:

1. Sargent South Ridge Trail

The Sargent South Ridge Trail is the most direct route to the summit. Starting from the Jordan Pond House, this 5.5-mile round-trip trail features a moderate to strenuous ascent through forests and over rocky ledges. The trail offers stunning views of Jordan Pond, the surrounding mountains, and the Atlantic Ocean.

2. Giant Slide Trail

The Giant Slide Trail is a longer and more challenging route that also begins at the Jordan Pond House. This 6.6-mile round-trip trail winds through dense forests, along picturesque streams, and over rugged terrain before ascending to the summit of Sargent Mountain. It provides a peaceful hiking experience with beautiful scenery along the way.

3. Sargent Northwest Trail

For those seeking a more secluded hike, the Sargent Northwest Trail offers a less-traveled route to the summit. Starting near the Bubble Pond parking area, this 4.6-mile round-trip trail climbs steadily through forests and across rocky outcrops, offering dramatic views and a more secluded hiking experience.

4. Deer Brook Trail

The Deer Brook Trail is a scenic route that combines a peaceful brookside walk with a moderate climb to Sargent Mountain. This 5.8-mile round-trip trail begins at the Jordan Pond House and follows the shoreline of Jordan Pond before ascending through forests to the summit.

What to Expect on the Trails

Hiking Sargent Mountain offers a mix of terrains, including forested paths, rocky scrambles, and open ledges. Here’s what you can expect on your hike:

  • Elevation Gain: The elevation gain to the summit is approximately 1,373 feet, making it a moderate to strenuous hike suitable for experienced hikers.
  • Views: The mountain offers panoramic views of Mount Desert Island, including Jordan Pond, the surrounding mountains, and the Atlantic Ocean. On clear days, you can see the Cranberry Isles and even parts of the mainland.
  • Flora and Fauna: The trails are surrounded by diverse vegetation, including spruce and fir forests, wildflowers, and moss-covered rocks. Wildlife sightings are common, with opportunities to see birds, deer, and occasionally, moose.

Best Time to Hike Sargent Mountain

The best time to hike Sargent Mountain is from late spring to early fall. During this period, the weather is mild, and the trails are generally in good condition. Fall offers the added bonus of stunning foliage, with vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows creating a picturesque backdrop. Summer can be busy, so consider an early morning or late afternoon hike to avoid the crowds and enjoy cooler temperatures.

Preparation and Safety Tips

Proper preparation is essential for a safe and enjoyable hike. Here are some tips to help you get ready:

  • Footwear: Wear sturdy hiking shoes or boots with good traction. The trails can be rocky and uneven, so proper footwear is crucial.
  • Clothing: Dress in layers to accommodate changing weather conditions. A moisture-wicking base layer, insulating mid-layer, and waterproof outer layer are recommended.
  • Water and Snacks: Bring plenty of water and high-energy snacks. Hydration is key, especially during warmer months.
  • Trail Map and Navigation: Carry a trail map or download a GPS app with offline maps. Cell service can be spotty in the park.
  • Safety Gear: A first aid kit, headlamp, and multi-tool are essential items for any hike.
  • Leave No Trace: Follow Leave No Trace principles by packing out all trash, staying on designated trails, and respecting wildlife.

Highlights and Scenic Points

Sargent Mountain offers numerous scenic points and highlights that make the hike truly special:

  • The Summit: The summit of Sargent Mountain provides panoramic vistas of the Atlantic Ocean, the Cranberry Isles, and the surrounding landscape. It’s an ideal spot for a well-deserved break and photo opportunity.
  • Jordan Pond: From various points along the trails, enjoy stunning views of the crystal-clear waters of Jordan Pond, flanked by the iconic North and South Bubble Mountains.
  • Wildlife: Keep an eye out for wildlife along the trails, including deer, birds, and other woodland creatures. The diverse habitats around Sargent Mountain support a variety of species.

Nearby Attractions

While Sargent Mountain is a highlight in itself, there are several nearby attractions worth exploring:

  • Jordan Pond House: Famous for its popovers and tea, the Jordan Pond House is a great place to relax and enjoy a meal after your hike. The outdoor seating offers beautiful views of Jordan Pond and the Bubble Mountains.
  • Carriage Roads: Acadia’s historic carriage roads offer miles of scenic, car-free pathways perfect for walking, biking, or horseback riding. The roads are easily accessible from the Jordan Pond area and provide a unique perspective on the park’s landscapes.
  • Bubble Rock: A large glacial erratic perched precariously on the edge of South Bubble Mountain, providing another excellent hiking destination nearby.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sargent Mountain

Where to park when hiking Sargent Mountain?

  • The closest parking areas to Sargent Mountain are the Jordan Pond House parking area and the Bubble Pond parking area.

What is the best time to hike Sargent Mountain?

  • The best time to hike Sargent Mountain is in the morning before 9 AM or in the late afternoon/evening. Parking is limited at most popular attractions in Acadia National Park, and these trailhead areas can become quite busy.

Can I take the free Island Explorer Shuttle to hike Sargent Mountain?

  • Yes! One of the main Island Explorer shuttle stops is located at the Jordan Pond House, just a short walk from several trailheads leading to Sargent Mountain.

Can I bring my dog on the Sargent Mountain trails?

  • Dogs are allowed on certain trails in Acadia National Park, but it is always best to check specific trail regulations and ensure that your pet is leashed at all times.

Are kids allowed to hike Sargent Mountain?

  • Yes, children can hike Sargent Mountain, but it is important to consider the trail difficulty and the hiking experience of your children. Always supervise young hikers closely, especially on more challenging sections.

How long are the trails on Sargent Mountain?

  • The Sargent South Ridge Trail is a 5.5-mile round trip, the Giant Slide Trail is a 6.6-mile round trip, the Sargent Northwest Trail is a 4.6-mile round trip, and the Deer Brook Trail is a 5.8-mile round trip. Hiking times can vary depending on pace and trail conditions.

Ready to explore Sargent Mountain? Buy your Acadia National Park Pass here and start planning your next adventure.

*Before embarking on any hike, you should always consult a map and stop by a visitor center or ranger station to ask a ranger about the latest trail conditions. Trail conditions can change rapidly due to weather or other factors, and park rangers can provide the most current information to ensure your hike is safe and enjoyable.

Thomas Tash

Tom Tash is the Founder and Co-Owner of Acadia East Campground and Pocket Parks Campgrounds. Tom began his career in Outdoor Recreation at the University of Maine at Machias before joining the City of Portland Recreation Department and becoming the Recreation Director for the Town of Bridgton. Tom became deeply invested in the national parks as the Marketing Director for a national park travel guide company. He co-founded Acadia East Campground in 2017/18.

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