Pack plenty of water and snacks for an up-and-down 11.8-mile loop linking seven of the island’s bare granite peaks via a spiderweb of trails. Start from the Bubble Mountain parking lot and climb a steep 786 feet to South Bubble Mountain. Hike west to Sargent Mountain (1,373 feet) for 360-degree views of the area’s most calendar-worthy features: the Cranberry Isles, Porcupine Islands, and Somes Sound, the East coast’s only fjord. From there, summit Gilmore Peak (1,036 feet), Parkman Mountain (941 feet), and Bald Peak (974 feet), following cairns and blue hash marks. Resume hiking south and link Hadlock Brook, Sargent Mountain South Ridge, and Penobscot Mountain Trails to reach Penobscot Mountain’s 1,194-foot summit. Continue on to the Spring and Asticou Trails and the Jordan Pond House, a restaurant built in 1847 that opens in May each year (jordanpond.com). Grab a cup of hot tea (if anybody’s there) before tackling the last climb (750 feet) up Pemetic Mountain. Descend one final half-mile to the trailhead, knowing you’ve beaten the crowds by a matter of weeks.
Best Damn Weekend Ever: Acadia National ParkAvoid the crowds in Maine's Acadia National Park by skipping getting a jump on the season and hiking the park in the Spring. Stephen King country never looked so good.