The South Bubble Trail takes you up close and personal to Bubble Rock, but also goes up, over, and down to Jordan Pond.
This is hands down our favorite hike in Acadia. We've done it every time we've vacationed there. But, unlike most people who hike to Bubble Rock on South Bubble, we don't just go up and back down the same way. We like to hike up and over the peak and then down to meet the Jordan Pond Trail, which we traverse in its entirety, then head back over the Eagle Lake carry trail to our car.
The South Bubble Trail makes for a day long hike if you take your time with it as we do. We take time to savor each foot along the way and refresh our memories as to why we love hiking in Acadia so much.
In short, this hike is a great way to start out our full-fledged hiking days each time we go to Acadia. It's got the fun of hiking up one of Acadia's smaller rocky, rounded peaks, where you can stop and enjoy the warmth of the sun on your face, as well as enjoy one of Acadia's best loved landmarks. But, you can also enjoy the deep quiet woods of the Jordan Pond area, along with the pond's beautiful sparkling waters.
It's a great loop that we highly recommend!
Type of Hike: Loop Where to Park: Bubbles Parking Area (not Bubble Rock)
If you are looking for a fun-filled day of hiking cliffs and strolling along one of the most beautiful of Acadia mountain lakes, then this is definitely the hike you're looking for!
The South Bubble trail begins by climbing gently up from the parking area through the woods. You will be hiking alongside people heading towards North Bubble as both Bubble trails begin the same way.
Shortly, though, you will split off towards the left (look for the sign) to climb some steep steps. The steps are hard on little legs, or on short people like Kathi, but they're soon over, and believe us... they're worth doing!
The steps soon give way to flat rock as you continue to climb through the trees. In about a half hour, you will already be near the peak of this small mountain.
Take some time to explore the peak and make sure you find the famous Bubble Rock off to the left side of the trail. It's a bit off the path but there will be hordes of people around it to guide you in the right direction.
Once we try to push Bubble Rock off its seemingly "tipsy" perch, we find a smooth area of flat rock and chill for a while, especially if it's a typical sunny summer day.
Once you're ready to climb down the back side of South Bubble, look for blue trail markers. It's going to look at first as though you're jumping off the "edge" of the mountain, but no worries... there is a safe way down!
The climb down, though, is pretty steep and very rocky. So, make sure you wear suitable footwear, as there is some loose gravel in spots that can be very slippery. You will also have to scramble over some large rocks and squeeze through some tight spaces. You will quickly drop down onto the Jordan Pond Trail.
We usually head right and take the longer way around the Pond. The path tends to be pretty quiet most of the way. Take your time walking around Jordan Pond, as every step along the way is absolutely gorgeous.
You will come to some sandy beaches when you first get going. We always like to skip some stones there or even stick our fingers or toes in the sparkling, clear water.
Technically, you're not supposed to wade or swim in any of the lakes or ponds in Acadia except for Echo Lake, as they are all used as a source of drinking water for the island, but you have to admit it's hard to resist temptation, especially when you're hot and sweaty from hiking.
So, let your conscience be your guide...
You will also be crossing a charming wooden bridge near the beaches where you should be able to spot a few beaver dams. We've never actually seen a beaver there, but you just might!
Continue around the pond climbing up and over some large boulders and walking along some wooden boardwalks. You will eventually come upon the Jordan Pond House. Stop here on the lawn for a short break and to soak up the ambiance of yesteryear mixed with today.
When you're ready to continue, join back up with the Jordan Pond trail and continue on around the pond in the same direction towards the Bubbles. This stretch of the path is extremely quiet and beautiful.
Keep going until you come to a small bridge. Right after the bridge, you will see a sign pointing towards the Eagle Lake Carry Trail. Follow this.
This is an extremely steep climb as you begin your ascent back to the Bubbles parking lot. This trail is supposed to be used for people carrying their canoes from Jordan Pond to Eagle Lake, although we've never seen anybody carrying one and can't imagine it would be very easy.
Stop at the top of South Bubble for a great view and a yummy sack lunch. Depending on when you got started, it may be a bit early in the day for lunch, but it's the best place to stop and you've gotta save room for what comes later!
Be sure to stop at the Jordan Pond House. DO NOT just pass it by. They've got bathrooms, which you may need. Plus there's a great gift shop.
The best part in our opinion - the restaurant. You must request a seat on the lawn and order sour, fresh-squeezed lemonade and brownies a la mode or popovers with hand churned ice cream. Delicious!
As you walk along the water, keep your eyes and ears peeled for loons. They have a unique, haunting kind of call. (Ever see On Golden Pond? If you see a bird dive under water, you've found one!
All in all, whether you're a beginning hiker or a more experienced one, the South Bubble Trail is a winner.