The Bubbles
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont (AMC Books)
Address:Park Loop Road, Bar Harbor
Hours:No posted hours; contact park for seasonal road and trail closures
Fee: $20 per vehicle; $5 per adult without a vehicle, including bicyclists and pedestrians (children under 15 are free)

Acadia National Park, 207-288-3338,; Island Explorer Bike Express, 207-667-5796,

Bathrooms: None
Water/Snacks: None

USGS Southwest Harbor quad; Acadia National Park Discovery Map (AMC), Eastern Mount Desert Island: D6, E6

Kids will delight in the huge, precariously perched boulder and the surrounding panoramas of the Gulf of Maine and Jordan Pond.

The South Bubble’s large glacial erratic left over from the last ice age is not as easy to push off the steep cliff face as it looks…but you’re welcome to try!

Rising above the north end of Jordan Pond, North Bubble and South Bubble look just the way they sound—two perfect bubbles of pink granite symmetrically rising from the earth. While more experienced hikers prepared for a longer hike can easily summit both in a day (see Plan B), start with the South Bubble. It is slightly smaller and more accessible, with arguably greater views and features at the summit.

From the well-marked trailhead at the western side of the parking lot, trails for both North and South Bubble begin together, gradually ascending through deciduous forest on a well-worn path. The compacted dirt terrain soon gives way to a natural staircase of terraced log and stone. Ample signage directs you toward the Bubbles as you continue on your climb. Just after the 0.3-mile mark, North and South Bubble trails diverge: stay left (southeast) toward South Bubble. As the trail rises above tree level, follow infrequent blue blazes on rocks to keep your bearing.

Reach the 768-foot baldface summit (0.5 mile). The true kid-magnet, Bubble Rock (sometimes called Balance Rock), lies slightly below the summit, as do the views of Jordan Pond, Eagle Lake, Penobscot and Cadillac mountains, and even the Atlantic Ocean. Descend eastward on a marked spur trail to reach this glacial erratic within a few hundred feet. The precariously perched boulder looks as though it could easily roll off the mountain at any moment. (Don’t worry, it won’t! It weighs 14 tons.) While admirers are welcome to get up close and personal with the rock—which is estimated to have been deposited here by a glacier approximately 10,000 years ago—children should explore the ledges surrounding it with caution and supervision. Return to the summit and then retrace your steps back toward the trailhead and parking area (1.0 mile).

Plan B:

When in Bubble territory, why not explore both? Descend from the South Bubble summit via Bubbles Divide Trail. Instead of continuing straight down toward the parking area, take a left (heading north) at the trail junction for North Bubble Trail. Reach the summit in just over 0.1 mile. This adds 0.2 mile to the route above.

Where to Eat Nearby:

The town of Bar Harbor, 7 miles from the Bubble Rock parking lot, is a lively tourist destination, offering plenty for families to do, see, eat, and enjoy. Those interested in marine life can venture to the marina at the end of Main Street and sign up for tours to see everything from puffins and seals to island lighthouses.


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