Recap from Hiking the Giant Slide Trail in Acadia National Park

I’m back with another anniversary trip recap! This one is all about a really cool off the beaten path hike we discovered in Acadia called The Giant Slide. 

If you missed the first two recap posts, check those out first:

While we were hiking Gorham Mountain, we struck up a conversation with a couple who were out hiking with their 10 week old baby.

We were commenting how crowded The Beehive was, and they shared with us that their favorite hike in the park was one called The Giant Slide, which was not on the official/main Acadia trail map and therefore not as heavily trafficked.

After doing a little research into the hike, we decided to go for it a couple days later! We ended up being really glad we did – it was such a cool hike!

The Giant Slide is a “lollipop” shaped hike – not a full loop because the first and last part are an out and back, but there’s a nice loop in the middle where you can link up with a bunch of the mountain summits – Sargent Mountain, Gilmore Peak, and Parkman Mountain.

To do the full loop with all the summits it is 5.7 miles. If you love rock scrambling, mountain streams, and summit views, you’ll love this hike. 

The trail starts on private land in the forrest – a nice and gentle start. It had rained the day before and the forrest was wet and cozy, so everything smelled amazing.

The pines in particular were so fragrant and fresh; it was like the world had just had a bath. 

starting the giant slide hike in acadia

This part of the trail was relatively gentle, but there were a lot of rocks and roots that required us to really keep an eye on our feet. 

rocky giant slide hike in acadia

There was also some moss and lichen around (and some signs around about not disturbing it). Very cool looking – I think the light green stuff below was moss. 

lichen on the giant slide trail in acadia

After a little while we reached a beautiful stream. The rest of the Giant Slide portion of the hike would now follow the stream upwards.

Rock scrambling, here we come! 

stream on the giant slide hike

Since it had rained the day before, a lot of the fall leaves were on the ground – it was really pretty underfoot; so colorful. 

colorful fall leaves on a trail

hiking in the woods in acadia in october

The trail began to take us up and up and up from this point on!

It was really fun – I love hikes where the majority of it is rock scrambling. It’s very calming for me mentally and almost meditative since you have to be so focused and in the moment to make sure you don’t fall, constantly figuring out where to put your feet and to hold on with your hands to pull yourself up, etc. 

giant slide hike

We were basically hiking right along and around the stream! 

giant slide hike rock scrambling

Including going through some giant caves:

hiking through a cave on the giant slide

We had this part of the hike totally to ourselves – we didn’t see anyone else out there at all, which was nice. It was so relaxing in there and the sounds of the stream were so calming. 

After a lot of scrambling and climbing, we left the stream trail and headed towards Sargent Mountain! We had a steep ascent and then the trail suddenly opened up. 

We had a bit of a break in the clouds for a moment that gave us some nice blue skies and fall leaf views!

view from sargent mountain in acadia

It was pretty mysterious looking up there with the fog and hazy sun. 

climbing around on sargent mountain in acadia

Where did Matt go?! 🙂

foggy sargent mountain view

We decided to take a break here and eat our packed lunches that we had grabbed in the small grocery store in Southwest Harbor (near our hotel, The Claremont) that morning. It was actually hard to find somewhere in town to get a sandwich to go since most places were already closed for the season!

Matt grabbed a baguette, cheese, salami, and some apples and carrots for us, and I decided on a hummus, veggie, and goat cheese sandwich. It was quite yummy! 

veggie sandwich on sargent mountain

Fueled up, we carried on to the summit!

There were a few other people around up here who had come up a different way. It was SO foggy once we got there we basically couldn’t see anything – oh well! 

sargent mountain summit in acadia

Made it official! 

As we hiked onward the skies started to clear a little bit… 

hiking on sargent mountain in acadia

We descended a bit and then went back up to hit Gilmore Peak – second summit of the day, check! 

gilmore peak in acadia

The skies were continuing to clear so we were hoping we’d have better views for the third and final peak of the day! 

view from gilmore peak in acadia


gilmore peak in acadia

Luckily by the time we made it to Parkman Mountain, our third summit, the skies were clearing for us!

Ah, there it is! Now we can see the water.

view from gilmore peak in acadia

Thanks, Parkman. 🙂

parkman mountain summit

Gorgeous, huh?

view from parkman mountain in acadia

It was cool to be able to hit so many peaks in a short timeframe! 

From there, we took a brief stint on a carriage road to get back to the Giant Slide Trail. Isn’t this beautiful? The views up there were lovely with the October fall colors. 

carriage road in acadia in october

Here’s the view from the carriage road:

view from carriage road in acadia in october

There were a bunch of people out biking (mostly e-bikes) on the carriage road, which is definitely something on the list for next time. 

After a short stroll it was back into the woods!

giant slide hike in acadia

And back to scrambling, my favorite. 🙂

anne mauney hiking the giant slide in acadia

The climb down required even more concentration than the way up – the rocks were a bit slippery so we did a lot of sliding on our butts and using our arms to help us. My arms were definitely sore the next day. 

There were some more cool caves to hike/squeeze through, too!

hiking through a cave in acadia

After hiking all the way back down the Giant Slide, it was back into the last little bit of the hike in the woods. 

a boardwalk on the giant slide hike in acadia

Peekaboo! My shoes matched the leaves. 

anne mauney hiding behind a tree in acadia

Such a fun way to spend a day.

If you find yourself in Acadia and enjoy rock scrambling, I highly recommend the Giant Slide! It wouldn’t be great for little kids, and you would definitely not want to do it with a baby/toddler in a hiking backpack, but elementary school aged children on I think could handle it fine. 

I’ll be back with one more Acadia recap next week. Stay tuned, and thanks for following along on the adventures!

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