Stratheden > Hemlock > North Ridge Trail
We hiked Stratheden (or Strath Eden) Trail because we were on a one way loop road when we missed the parking area to the trail that goes over Kebo. It was not a loss as far as we know as the trail we took was very quiet and varied from low level forest with yellow leaves to a pine and maple forest thick with red leaves. We were able to take a turn on to Hemlock in order to get on to the North Ridge Trail which also provided the yellow and red foliage and then crested on to an open rock surface with views of the ocean and other hills below.
It was a beautiful hike and at the last minute we decided to go to Dorr Mountain to see the views even though we had actually planned to go to Cadillac. The summit has a 360º view and is exposed to the elements and we were glad we took the detour. It was not far off our planned hike and it is easy to connect to the trail to head towards Cadillac as well.
To Cadillac Mountain
The hike to Cadillac Mountain from Dorr is a beautiful and steep hike down into a notch, and then back up large boulders that act as a stairway that goes on and on at a slow pace. Despite the steepness, our dog seemed to get along well, or should I say better than the rest of us. This is the same trail we planned to come back down so we could hike out Gorge Path.
This is probably one of the most beautiful trails I have ever hiked. I am glad we hiked it out instead of in as it is pretty steep. It has no ocean views or wide panoramas, but what it does offer is a pathway that winds along a stream with gentle waterfalls almost the entire way. The sound of the water is lulling but when we ducked back into the woods, the silence was a relief to our ears. The trail would then return to the water and looking up the stream the falls trickled down and reflected the autumn colors. I will admit I am heartbroken we did not take more photos of this trail as what we have to share here does not do it justice.
Our Plan was to take the North Ridge trail over Kebo, then up towards Dorr but to then take a turn to Cadillac. The return would be down the Gorge Path. Then we decided to maybe climb all three mountains. Actually, that was my friend John's Plan, but in my head I was thinking less ambitiously. If it was not for missing the first parking lot, we may have had a different story to tell. To miss a parking lot on a one way loop road is a timely mistake to fix.
Our route consisted of several trails, few of which were part of the original plan when we left the cottages in the morning. It is possible that any trail in the park is a good trail, but we think we found some of the best ones this day. Though some of the terrain was rough, we did come across hikers with dogs as small as a chihuahua walking the whole route. In our case we were out hiked by a dog, but it is a set of trails that I wish to visit again in the future, even at a slow pace.
Parking at Strath Eden, we headed up looking for Hemlock which was clearly marked with a trail sign. Hemlock brought us to the North Ridge Trail where we were finally on to a later part of our Original Plan minus the Kebo summit. We stopped for a short lunch before we lost the tree line for wind protection and were minutes away from the summit of Dorr. We returned to the trail and continued on our Planned Route, but found the steep route to Cadillac to be for people never having suffered vertigo. Don't look down. Or up.
Heading back that steep path, we ducked between ridges on Gorge Path which brought us directly to the Loop Road where we were able to walk to our car. There is a free bus that picks people up who need a ride between trails and parking lots, but the walk was only about 10 minutes to the car and still very pretty with the foliage. This was an excellent route with a variety of views including, waterfalls, ocean, rocky surfaces, steep rocks, and different types of forrest. it is an excellent example of the diversity that Acadia has to offer.