Distance: 8.1 Miles
Elevation Gain: 1,318 Feet
Location: Northeast Harbor, ME
Sargent Mountain is my favorite summit in Acadia National Park. The panorama is stunning, and the peak is sprawling and barren in a peculiar way. There are a number of trails up. In warmer months, I recommend Great Slide, which follows runoff up the western side of the mountain with small waterfalls and the babbling of running water for a good duration of the ascent.
With this much snow and ice, though, Great Slide becomes dangerous with plenty of places where snow seems to cover rock but really hides a hole, so it's easier to get your foot caught in a bad way. The waterfalls are snowed over, too, so it isn't as striking.
The South Ridge Trail is funny because it casually passes the summit of Cedar Swamp Mountain, which not only has to live with being called Cedar Swamp Mountain, but is basically made to be a mere subplot en route to Sargent.
Just southeast of Sargent is Penobscot, which is beautiful itself - almost warm with a deep sense of being within the natural world.
Everything feels nearby: Jordan Pond below, Pemetic Mountain to the east, the Bubble to the northeast, Eagle Lake and the Atlantic to the north, Sargent to the northwest, Seal Harbor and Northeast Harbor to the south.
Sargent, however, is a different story. In warmer months, the cairns seem to wind themselves through the vegetation protecting bushes and mosses. But buried in snow, the trail feels random, wandering, almost lost itself.
And that deep sense of belonging in the world leaves, and it feels like there is only you, your breath, rock, snow, ice, and conifer till the distant blue horizon.