This post describes a hike along the shores of Long Pond then a loop back to the starting point via the Great Notch and
. Cold Brook Trails
There are no bathrooms or running water here. There are trails up
to the right and back of the parking area, but this hike starts to the left of the pump house. Beech Mountain
|An example of the path where it gets rougher|
|Long Pond in the early morning fog|
|One of the streams coming off Mansell Mountain|
|Looking back after passing a small peninsula on Long Pond|
The trail rises gradually away from the pond. I was hiking on a day where the fog was low over the pond and there was little breeze. Once I headed away from the pond the temperature rose and the humidity felt like it was around 99%. Any breeze was blocked by the trees and the air was absolutely still. What do you get when you combine wet conditions, close in trees, high humidity, and no breeze? Sweat and mosquitoes.
There were places where I tried to stop to get a photo or to take a drink of water, but when I did the mosquitoes would descend on me. With the humidity the way it was any bug spray would have been almost useless. It eventually reached a point where my glasses were literally steaming up on me because it was so humid. The trail had now become heavily covered with roots. I had a choice between hiking with my glasses and having obscured vision, or hiking without them and having blurred vision. Either was a recipe for a turned ankle from stepping wrong on a root. I managed to make it through unscathed (other than mosquito bites.)
Needless to say, I didn’t stop long on this section of the trail. At nine tenths of a mile from Long Pond, some of which parallels Great Brook, you come to a signpost. The trail to the right takes you to a trailhead on a fire road 1.1 miles away. This is the Western Mountain Trail. I debated covering it and coming back because I didn’t know when I might ever be there again, but the humidity and mosquitoes convinced me to turn left onto the Great Notch Trail.
This trail rose a little quicker, but still not that steeply. If anything, it had even more roots than the trail I had just left. It was only four tenths of a mile to the Great Notch. There was some trail repair done and a new set of log-lined dirt steps built just before reaching the notch.
The Great Notch is a meeting place of trails. It is an open area with a couple of benches for folks to rest or to visit. From the way I came in, heading left would have taken me towards
’s Razorback and Mansell Trails. Heading right would have taken me to Mansell Mountain ’s trails. I headed straight through the intersection to continue on the Great Notch Trail. Bernard Mountain
The trail now descends from here all the way to Gilley Field. Part of it follows a stream and crosses it a few times. The trees open out some and the trail isn’t always quite so obvious. Blazes on the trees are there, but sometimes not as numerous as they should be. If you are ever in doubt about where the trail goes, just look for the direction downward that has the most roots to walk over and that is probably the trail. [sarcasm]
You will pass a couple more signposts. The first one indicates a way to connect with the Sluiceway Trail. The second points the way to the reservoir. Continue past both of these and you will come out to the Gilley Field parking area. The trail makes a left. Continue to follow it.
You will pass the trailheads for the Razorback Trail and later the Mansell Trail, both on the left. Continue going straight. After the Mansell Trail trailhead, the trail you are on becomes the
, so named because you literally walk in the mostly dry brook for part of the trail. I’m not sure what the name of the trail section from Gilley Field to the start of the Cold Brook Trail is named. Cold Brook Trail
The Cold Brook trail rises a little, but any elevation gained is quickly lost and more as you head downward toward Long Pond. You cross a small wooden bridge and connect back onto the Long Pond trail near the pump house. Take a right and you come out back where you parked.
This hike makes for a good change of pace on
Acadia. Rather than open ledge and/or crowds, it is a quiet walk along a still pond then a walk through the woods. I saw not one single other person the entire hike. On a day that was not so humid it would have been quite pleasant.
Cumulative distance: 4.9 miles
Cumulative elevation gain: 750 feet
Cumulative duration: 3 hours (including time for photos)
Acadia Hiking Guide