Trail Run Project Logo

Perpendicular Trail



0.9 mile 1.5 kilometer point to point
64% Runnable


Ascent: 855' 260 m
Descent: -1' 0 m
High: 933' 284 m
Low: 79' 24 m


Avg Grade: 18% (10°)
Max Grade: 74% (36°)


No Dogs
Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by David Onkst

An extremely steep and rugged trail that’s well worth its namesake - one of Acadia’s classics!

David Onkst

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Views

Runner Notes

This is a very steep and rocky trail that includes multiple iron rungs. It is not made for trail running.


Although it’s only 0.9 miles long, this trail still presents you with one heck of a challenge, one that will not leave you wanting. In less than a mile, it climbs close to 900 feet up the eastern side of Mansell Mountain. It’s well worth traveling to the western part of Acadia for this trail, the area of the park with the least amount of traffic (both foot and vehicle). This trail will provide you with some great memories, guaranteed.

The best place to access this route is from the Long Pond Trail, which skirts along the southeastern shore of Long Pond. The parking lot located directly at the southern tip of the pond is your best bet for leaving your car. There is also another lot some 0.4 miles to the west of Long Pond at Gilley Field. Unfortunately, the closest Island Explorer bus stop is about a mile-and-a-half to the east at Smuggles Den, and there’s no trail that will lead you directly from there to link-up with the Perpendicular Trailhead.

This trail climbs very little for the first 0.2 miles, as it leaves the Long Pond Trail in a westward direction. But then, it starts ascending very quickly to the north-northwest. The area is well-forested, and you'll only have a few quick views beyond the trees until you get close to Mansell Mountain’s summit, which tops out at 949 feet. As you work your way up the steep and rugged eastern side of Mansell, you'll run across several series of stone stairs and iron rungs. You’ll also cross a major rock slide area, as well as have to negotiate numerous switchbacks. At times—just as the trail’s name suggests—you might feel as if you’re traveling almost perpendicular to Mansell’s eastern face.

Just before you summit, the trail will turn back quickly to the west and there will be a nice overlook. There are some great views of the western part of the park and its peaks, as well as Long Pond and parts of Somes Sound. Once you reach the top, you can take the Mansell Mountain Trail to the south, down for another a mile, until you link up with the Cold Brook Trail, which you can take 0.4 miles to the east to return to the parking lot.

Overall, this is a short, rugged, and highly rewarding route that lives up to its namesake. Those with a sense of adventure should not miss it, especially because it arguably rivals several of Acadia’s other well-known steep and challenging trails, such as the Precipice Trail, Jordan Cliffs Trail, and the Beehive Trail.

Run this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Need to Know, Flora & Fauna

Is something wrong? Let us know. Have photos to share? Help fellow runners know what's here.


Rate This Trail

Rate Quality

   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Trail

Check In


Aug 20, 2017
Heidi Jewett

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 8 votes


  5.0 from 8 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Trail Rankings


in Maine


18 Views Last Month
565 Since Sep 1, 2015



Overlook on Perpendicular Trail
Aug 16, 2019 near Tremont, ME


Trail Run Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Running