Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Rudolph Brunnow - the man who build sections of the Precipice trail, was looking for a way to get more hikers to climb the Precipice trail.  His plan, build a connecting loop from one section of the Precipice trail and have it lead to The Great Cave, and the loop would continue on to a second section of the Precipice trail.  His plan was to make the Great Cave on the side of Champlain Mountain as the gem that would get hikers coming to the much larger Precipice trail.  The VIA felt the new trail loop from the Precipice trail to Great Cave wold attract even more hikers to the trail as well, and gave Brunnow the go ahead for the trails construction.

Acadia National Park Trail Map
 The map above not only shows the loop trail that  Rudolph Brunnow constructed to the Great Cave, it also
has listed a second trail he built, the Hanging steps trail.  Below is a close up of the Great cave loop, with an arrow pointing to it.  It was not the main trail, but served its purpose back than to lure more hikers to the Precipice.  Once you enlarge the photo above you can better see the loop trail that Rudolph Brunno's constructed.

Map of The Great Cave - Acadia National Park

The Great Cave is about 100 feet high and about 100 feet deep inside.  Brunnow constructed a trail that included stone steps and at one spot a rock and metal bridge.
 One half of the Great Cave Loop has now been found and documented by photos, maps and on blogs you can find online.   
   I recently heard from Nick Thorndike who brought us very good news, he has discovered the other half of the Great Cave Loop.  Not only has Nice discovered it, he has also sent in a photo of the stone steps leading upward above the cave - this is a huge find because I know a lot of you have contacted me asking if anyone has discovered that half of the trail yet.
So once at the Great Cave, When facing the cave begin to walk around the left side and being looking on you're right for the steps .(see photo below sent by by Nick) which run about the whole way up except for where you pass through a blueberry patch on the right.  The trail finally comes to a footbridge which leads you to the official upper section of the Precipice Trail.
Great Cave Steps, submitted by Nick Thorndike

For me, it seemed like the Great Cave would never get found, but it was.  Than the Hanging Steps came next, and just last week me and my son located the lost Rudolph Brunnow trail, so slowly but surely the Precipice is giving up her secrets.

The Great Cave - Acadia National Park

George B. Dorr, in honor of the work crew that helped build the Precipice Trail, built a miniature version of the Precipice trail by Glen Mary Park in downtown Bar Harbor.  

It was on a cliff with ladders and iron rings so people could go there and practice before attempting to hike the real thing.

To learn more about the Great cave, visit one of the links below.





  1. wow, great information on the great cave and precipice trail! thanks for sharing all this research!

  2. And a big thank you to Nick Thorndike for locating the second half of this historic loop.