Monday, August 15, 2016

South Bubble and Bubble Rock - Acadia National Park

On the fourth day of vacation, the family and I decided to venture a little further into Acadia National Park, to the north end of Jordan Pond to a small, mounding mountain called South Bubble! The Bubbles (North Bubble and South Bubble) are two smaller mountains next to each other that look like two half spheres protruding from the earth. Very similar to the Cannon Balls over Lonesome Lake, these Bubbles look over Jordan Pond. South Bubble is pretty bald on the top with some fragile alpine vegetation and is the location of the famous Bubble Rock.

We started at “The Bubbles/Bubble Rock” Trailhead off from Park Loop Road, located on the west side just before the road meets the banks of Jordan Pond. The trailhead has a kiosk with a map and one of the famous Acadia trail signs made from an upright, wooden log. I believe the first trail we hoofed was “Bubbles Divide”. The trail ascended gently through hardwood forest and had pretty easy footing, with few rocks and roots.

 First portion of the trail

 Hole features in rocks on the side of the trail

Great trail work by trail maintainers!

The first junction we came to was pretty quick and we continued straight to head toward the bubbles. Again, this trail gently climbed and quickly came to another split, where South Bubble was to the left and North Bubble was to the right. We took a left and the trail became a bit steeper, but was still pretty easy. One thing that helped was the phenomenal trail work that has been done. It’s been setup with logs and rocks to be a huge staircase. This was great for the kids. So, huge kudos goes out to the trail workers on this leg, they did a great job!!!

North Bubble from first viewpoint

 Upper portion of the trail

More trail...really fantastically maintained

Mushrooms on the trail

About 0.2 miles before the summit, on the right side of the trail is a view point with a large area to take a rest and sprawl your stuff out. There’s some great views toward North Bubble, toward some mountains on the ridge line to the west (not sure which ones) and toward Jordan Pond’s north end. After taking a few photographs, we continued up toward the summit.

 Summit sign, slightly leaning :/

 Searl Summit Foot Shot!

Slightly restricted views from the summit cairn to the west

More restricted views

The root and rock filled, dirt trail gave way to granite ledge and small scrub blueberry bushes like you’d see near the summit of many mountains. It wasn’t long before we came to a large cairn of rocks with a summit sign publishing an elevation of 768ft. Although this seems pretty small, it felt pretty big when the base of the mountain is actual sea level!

 The eastern slopes of Cadillac Mountain. You could see cars making their way up and down the auto road...didn't come out in the picture, though.
 Bubble Rock...the picture doesn't do it justice. It's probably 10 feet tall or so.
Old pins in the summit ledges...maybe for an old antenna or tower structure. Not sure what.

To the northeast of the summit is a little foot trail that allows you to make your way down to the ledges. This is where the famous Bubble Rock is teetering on the edge of the cliffs. The rock is enormous…not as large as the Glen Boulder, but a good runner up for sure! As most boulders were put in place, glacial erratic is responsible for Bubble Rock’s current perch. Like most boulders on a cliff, it looks like it could come barreling down the mountain at any time, ready to demolish the road below…it’s pretty cool! More info on the Bubble Rock here.

To the west from south ledges

Great views of Jordan Pond with open ocean way off in the distance

Small cairns on south ledges

After checking out the boulder and having lunch on the ledge, we followed the South Bubble Trail south past the summit to the southern ledges of the mountain. Here, we got a breathtaking view of Jordan Pond, with some mountains and open ocean in the background. It was worth the jaunt to this end of the mountain. After taking a few shots and enjoying the views, we headed back to the trailhead the same way we came.

Map against GPS tracking

The hike was 1.75 miles per my GPS and was very easy for little kids. I would highly recommend this hike for families with little ones (mine are two and five and had no problem). Like you would with all open ledges, though, make sure your kids stay at arm’s length as they could take an easy tumble on the cliffs.

Trail signage

The parking situation was probably the toughest part of this journey. We got their rather early so we were able to claim a parking spot. However, with limited spaces, an overcrowded National Park and no roadside parking allowed, it’s not easy to find a spot to leave your car at this trailhead. So the moral of the story is, get there early!!!



  1. Excellent report about your experience at this terrific location. You included what I judge to be a "goldilocks" number of photos (not too many, not too few . . . just right) to supplement the key points described in your text. And, the inclusion of a map is always a welcome addition to any report, IMHO!

    And lastly, having visited this location myself, your advice about parking is very fitting.


    1. Hi John,
      Thanks for reading and the kind words! I always have a difficult time formatting blogger as I feel like it's turned buggy over the years. Bloggers like you and I that have older templates were left behind from a support standpoint I think!

      Parking at Acadia is the worst I've ever seen. I drove our GMC Acadia around the Acadia parking lot near the Jordan House for 1 hour trying to snatch a spot! They need to figure out something better for visitors!

      The hike made it worth it, though. Great little hike for kids (and me :) ).