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Sargent South Ridge Trail



2.8 mile 4.5 kilometer point to point
81% Runnable


Ascent: 1,185' 361 m
Descent: -79' -24 m
High: 1,360' 415 m
Low: 254' 77 m


Avg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 30% (17°)


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Trail shared by David Onkst

This rugged, highly-enjoyable, ridge path reveals wonderful natural features while climbing Sargent.

David Onkst

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Spring · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Runner Notes

You can run this trail, but it’s only recommended for the most experienced mountain runners due to its rocky and steep aspects.


Sargent Mountain - Acadia’s second highest peak at 1373 feet- has a relatively flat, open, summit that provides arguably the island’s best and most spectacular panoramas.

There are several ways to summit Sargent, and although this is one of the longest routes to the top at more than 2.8 miles, it also provides some very enjoyable trail up the mountain’s southern rocky spine. Along the way, there you’ll see several unique natural sights, including the small but charming Sargent Mountain Pond, as well as a wide variety of wildflowers.

The best way to get to this path is from the Brown Mountain Gatehouse parking lot just off of Highway 198/3. After 0.7 mile, navigate on a series of the park’s well-known carriage roads, you’ll reach the southern trailhead of this path. From there, it’s a long, gradual, climb up to the eastern edge of the summit of Cedar Swamp Mountain (942 feet), and then another 430 feet up to the top of Sargent Mountain, where several trails intersect and offer a number of different routes down the mountain, if you don’t feel like retracing your steps.

The journey up this trail begins in a well-forested evergreen area and occasionally juts out into slightly exposed sections before you hit the rocky southern ridge of Sargent. Once there, a series of cairns will help guide you to the top of Acadia’s second highest peak. While climbing, you’ll see a variety of wildflowers, and the mountain’s unique small pond, which several scientists believe is the first “lake” that emerged in Maine during the earth’s geological formation. Please be sure to keep close track of the “real” cairns to guide you through the open areas, and ignore the extra rock piles that some have thoughtlessly placed along the way - the “false” cairns sometimes confuse visitors.

At the summit, there are some outstanding 360-degree views - some of the island’s best. To the east you’ll see such key sites as the Atlantic Ocean and the area’s outlying islands, Eagle Lake, Cadillac Mountain, Jordan Pond, Pemetic Mountain, and the Bubbles, and to the west you’ll see Somes Sound, Norumbega Mountain, Southwest Harbor, and all of the area’s western peaks. Although you’ll have to work a little harder to summit Sargent than some of the park’s other mountains, the final view will be well worth it.

Overall, this path is one of the longer routes to Sargent’s summit. But you’ll find the climb highly rewarding. There are tremendous views from the summit, and there are unique natural sights along the way.

Flora & Fauna

Rhododendron, blueberries, various wildflowers, and lots of lichen covered rock.

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