Acadia: Pemetic Mountain Northwest Trail

Acadia: Pemetic Mountain Northwest Trail

We started off our third day in Acadia with another iconic hike – Pemetic Mountain. Located on the east side of Mount Desert Island, right near Jordan Pond. There are four trail options to the Pemetic summit, and the northwest path (4.2 miles) seemed most interesting to us. The previous day, we hiked the Beehive, which features iron rungs and a small iron bridge. Pemetic has its own unique obstacles – ladders – which sounded fun. We’ll check out another route on our next visit.

Jordan Pond Path

Our drive from Blackwoods Campground to the Jordan Pond Path trailhead took about 10 minutes. We arrived around 9:30 a.m., and parked in the Jordan Pond House parking lot. Parking wasn’t a problem, since JPH doesn’t open for brunch until 11 a.m. (later in the day, the lots do fill up though). We started our hike along the east side of the lake on the Jordan Pond Nature Trail, which becomes Jordan Pond Path. This part of the hike was easy, and there were a number of other visitors. We stopped a few times to snap some scenic photos – the twin mountains known as The Bubbles, the clear waters of Jordan Pond lined with rocks, as well as sundews, a tiny, red, carnivorous plant (T’s dad is a botanist who specializes in carnivorous plants, which has led to many educational treasure hunts).

Acadia: Jordan Pond
Jordan Pond & The Bubbles at the start of the hike
Acadia: Sundew near Jordan Pond
Round-leaved Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) near Jordan Pond
Acadia: Butterfly along Jordan Pond Path
Swallowtail Butterfly along Jordan Pond Path

We crossed a wooden bridge, then turned right at the fork toward the Pemetic trailhead. This leg of the hike was easy and cool under the tree canopy as we left the crowds behind. We hiked up a short incline for about 0.4 miles, and eventually reached a small parking lot off Park Loop Road. When we crossed the road, the fun started.

Pemetic Mountain Ascent

We began to ascend over a huge field of boulders. I hadn’t done much rock scrambling in my hiking past, but this was where I began to really enjoy it. After bouldering our way up for a bit, we ran into some fellow hikers. They mentioned that the trail splits briefly, and they recommended the ravine path (on the left) rather than the ledge path (on the right). After finding a confusing sign, we understood what they meant. Following their advice, we kept left for the ravine, and were glad that we did. The ravine had tons of boulders and tree roots, as well as two wooden ladders, which was an interesting change of pace. If you’d rather ascend up a giant boulder, take the ledge. Choose your own adventure!

Acadia: Boulders Pemetic NW Trail
Bouldering on Pemetic NW trail
Acadia: Pemetic Roots and Rocks
The reason I was singing “Roots, Rock, Reggae” by Bob Marley throughout the hike
Acadia: Pemetic Ravine or Ledge Sign
Confusing Sign…maybe there’s a ravine on the right as well?? Feel free to comment below!
Acadia: Pemetic Northwest Ravine Path
View of the Ravine
Acadia: Ravine Ladder on Pemetic Northwest Trail
One of the ladders out of the ravine

After we passed the ravine, there were fewer boulders, and more hiking/scrambling up a solid rock surface. Parts of it almost looked like lava flows due to the smooth and continuous nature of the rock. The weather on this particular day was sunny and warm, but breezy. The variation in terrain also made this hike really enjoyable.

As we continued to hike, we passed several wayfinding cairns, also called Bates Cairns, which I’ve never seen anywhere else. The cairns consist of a long flat rock, supported by two rock “legs” below, and a small rock on top that points out the trail direction. As we continued toward the summit, short trees began to appear, and so did the lakes below. By the time we reached the summit, we had just short of a 360 degree view of lakes, the ocean, rocks, trees, and islands. This was the perfect spot to grab lunch and enjoy the gorgeous scenery and weather.

Acadia: Cairns on Pemetic Mountain
Bates Cairns scattered along the hike
Acadia: Sheep Laurel on Pemetic Mountain
Sheep Laurel (Kalmia angustifolia) flowering on Pemetic Mountain
Acadia: Pemetic Summit
Pemetic Mountain summit!

Pemetic Mountain Descent

The descent was peaceful and scenic. We walked over an exposed rock face that stretched out across the mountain, and we could see the ocean and greenery all around us. I could feel the warmth of the sun emanating from the rock, as well as the cool breeze – a great combination. As we descended further, the trail became more shaded. On the way down, we ran into a couple volunteers from Friends of Acadia. They were doing trail maintenance, including checking the orientation of the cairns. Remember not to move or attempt to “fix” the cairns (or construct new ones), as hikers rely on them for wayfinding – we would have gotten lost a couple times without them.

Acadia: Descending Pemetic Mountain
The scenery was breathtaking!!
Acadia: Descending Pemetic Mountain
More Bates Cairns during the descent mountain

Eventually we returned to the trailhead and crossed Park Loop Road to arrive back at Jordan Pond House. My thoughts: Sublime. My favorite hike. The variation in terrain, breathtaking views, and rocky terrain made this hike a lot of fun. Will definitely revisit.

Pemetic Mountain North-West Trail
Distance: 4.2 Miles
Elevation Gain: 1133 Feet
Difficulty:
Moderate
Parking: Park at Jordan Pond House North parking lot (Google Maps Directions)
Trail Directions: Walk toward Jordan Pond. Turn right onto Jordan Pond Nature Trail (0.2 mi), then turn left onto Jordan Pond Path (0.9 mi). Turn right onto Jordan Pond Carry (0.4 mi). There are 2 trailheads here; keep right. Turn right onto Bubbles Divide (after about 0.1 mi, you will pass a parking lot and cross Park Loop Road). Follow trailhead for Pemetic Northwest Trail (approx. 0.6 mi) until you reach the summit. Stop and enjoy the amazing views! Follow signs for Pemetic South Ridge Trail (1.2 mi). Turn right onto the Bubble Trail (0.5 mi). Cross Park Loop Road and continue straight toward Jordan Pond Nature Trail. Continue straight onto Jordan Pond Nature Trail (0.2 mi).
Highlights: Rock scrambling, ladders, views, lake…everything
Notes: You can skip the Jordan Pond section by parking in a small lot off Park Loop Road, close to the Pemetic NW trailhead, and doing an out-and-back hike (be cautious if descending over the rock scramble portion).

Places:
Hike Trailhead at Jordan Pond Path | 44.322931, -68.253719
Pemetic NW Trailhead | 44.341081, -68.250316
Blackwoods Campground | 155 Blackwoods Drive, Otter Creek, ME 04660
Jordan Pond House | 2928 Park Loop Rd, Seal Harbor, ME 04675

References:
KTNP Pemetic Mountain Northwest Trail Map

One thought on “Acadia: Pemetic Mountain Northwest Trail

  1. What great weather you had for the hike up Pemetic Northwest Trail! In all the years we’ve hiked the trail, we’ve always taken the ledge, never the ravine. We’ll have to try out the ravine some time. And thanks for linking to our Bates cairn blog post!

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