Rocks when wet on this trail can be extremely slippery; please wear appropriate hiking footwear while on this trail.
This description assumes you are ascending the trail from Mill Field Parking lot (green mark) to the intersection of Great Notch Trail
(red mark). Also, know that this trail climbs one major peak (Bernard Mountain) and two minor peaks (Little Notch and Knight Nubble).
First off, if you are looking for a relaxing hike, this is not the trail for you. However, if you are looking a challenge, this trail offers plenty of steep and rugged grades.
Starting the trail from the Mill Field parking lot, the trail begins a steady incline up the mountain, crossing three creeks. The first 0.9 miles offer little to no breaks from ascending at a moderate or steep grade until you reach where the West Ledge Trail
connects up with the trail. After you pass this, there will be occasional steep sections but nothing like the first 0.9 miles of the trail until you reach the summit, which offers spectacular views of the western portion of MDI and Acadia. There is an overlook if you go just past the summit, about 150 feet down the trail.
After the summit and the overlook, you'll get a taste of what is to come later on in the trail with a rugged and steep descent. Once at the bottom of this first descent, the trail comes to an intersection with Sluiceway Trail
and there is a sign marking the minor peak of Little Notch. Continuing on the trail, you begin a steep and short rugged ascent of Knights Nubble where you find the minor peak right after you finish the ascent. Then you can enjoy the views once more as you are offered another overlook past the summit of Knight Nubble.
Then you begin an extremely steep and rugged descent of Knight Nubble. Then after the harsh descent, you are rewarded with a level trail through the woods until you reach the final descent which, again, is rugged and steep, just not quite as steep as when you come off of Knight Nubble. After the steep section, you have just a short way until you reach the end of the Bernard Mountain Trail and find yourself placed in a valley.