One of the central features of Acadia National Park is Jordan Pond. From the famous Pond House that serves tea and popovers to the surrounding carriage roads and hiking trails and the boat launch, this area of the park is a big tourist draw.
The pond was formed by glacial activity and the bottom is covered with huge boulders of granite that were shaved from the tops of the surrounding mountains in the last ice age. Although it is a natural pond, a dam has been added to regulate the water level. Jordan Pond is a drinking water source and is not open to swimming, wading, or pets.
The beautiful view from the southern side of the pond is the two small mountain peaks named the Bubbles (often referred to as the Bubbies for obvious reasons.) Circling the pond is a 3.2 mile walking trail that is deemed easy to moderate for hiking. On our latest visit to Acadia this past week, we decided to circumnavigate the pond.
The hike starts either from the boat landing or across the dam off of a carriage road, depending on whether you want to go around counterclockwise or vice versa. We left from the boat landing. The trail follows the very edge of the pond, snugged behind the shoreline trees and bushes. Mountains 1100-1200 ft tall surround the pond. Most of the way, the path is shaded by towering trees, pleasant walking on a hot July day. It is so tempting to remove one’s shoes and dabble toes in the cool water, but don’t do it! No one wants to drink toe water.
Much of the east side of the pond has a graveled trail and the other side is mainly traveled over raised plank walkways. Signs advise hikers to stay on the pathways to protect delicate shoreline. On the east side, not far from the boat landing, a bridge made of large flat stones allows water to pass into a pretty little wetland.
At the northern end, the shoreline is a short, debris-strewn beach. A tiny inlet brook bisects the beach, flowing from a small, protected wetland. On the day we visited, a mama loon sat on her nest in the miniature marsh. The sun was hot and the bird panted to cool off. She seemed unconcerned by the proximity of human spectators. Signs warned to leave her alone and people were behaving themselves.
After the beach, the trail continues to the west side of the pond. This side is more boggy. The trail is mostly raised boardwalk. Along the way the trail passes through a boulder-strewn talus field of Penobscot Mountain. I would hate to be standing near when a giant rock chunk gives way on top of the mountain and tumbles down to the pond.
The remainder of the walk along the boards is easy and relaxing. Water laps at the rock-lined shore, creating a gentle backdrop for birdsong and the occasional scolding of red squirrels in the surrounding woods. Much too soon, the trail ends at a major carriageway connecting various routes. The area is busy with hikers, bicyclists and horseback riders. Tourists flock to the dam here at the south end for photo opportunities with The Bubbles in the background. Most never take the time to walk a few feet from the beaten path to experience the quiet joys of Jordan Pond’s trail.