Six Summits Trail, Acadia National Park

On the second day of our 4-hikes-4-days hiking binge in Acadia, we attacked the Six Summits trail. It has many ups. So many ups. They’re all up granite outcroppings. Your calves will feel like someone tore them. For days. You won’t regret it.

Total distance: 6.21 mi
Max elevation: 1366 ft
Min elevation: 231 ft
Total climbing: 2364 ft
Total descent: -2365 ft
Average speed: 1.88 mi/h
Total time: 05:27:46

The reviews recommended going clockwise for a gentle end, and we were glad we took their advice. We were also glad there were no more summits as we were both done after number six.

The trail begins through soft, mossy, restorative pine forest that reminds you how wonderful it is to be alive and mobile, and that you really need to move away from your flat suburb to the mountains, pronto, because life is short and you don’t spend enough of it in Lothlorien.

The forest is steep, though, and soon turns into Acadia’s famous granite slopes. Atop the slopes are the unreal moonscapes of bare rock, reflecting pools, and scrubby plants getting by in a cold, windy environment with little nourishing dirt. Which is to say, we took more than 200 photos today and I couldn’t face the task of reviewing them.

It took me 1.5 years to get up the gumption to final review them in spring of 2023. 😬

Ascent to Bald Peak

On Top of Bald Mountain Peak

In which there was not a rousing Mussorgsky accompaniment.

Parkman Mountain

Which way do we go?

Parkman Mountain to Gilmore Peak

Gilmore Peak

Gilmore Peak to Sargent Mountain

Sargent Mountain

Sargent Mountain to Penobscot Mountain

Between peaks four and five is a lovely alpine pond where we talked to some lovely people who live by Shenandoah National Park, which is our favorite close-by-vacation hiking destination.

Penobscot Mountain

Atop peak six, we had to legitimately stop and rest. Not the “snack and take selfies” rest we did at most peaks. Six Summits is a “snack per peak” trail that demands a lot of calories.

After getting off of peak six, the descent back to the car is long but thankfully not too steep, winding along a river.


Distance6.11 miles
Elevation Gain1801 feet
Moving Time4 hours, 16 minutes
Total Time5 hours, 27 minutes
Average Pace53 minutes per mile / 1.4 mph
Water Consumed1.5 liters
Food ConsumedBefore the hike: none
During the hike: 3 veggie muffins, 2 clif bars
Temperature Range50 to 65°F
Cell ReceptionGreat