This loop is such a gem in Southwest Harbor. It is considered to be on the quieter side of the park, however, the views you receive during this hike are great! The trail is on Route 102 on your way to Southwest Harbor. The parking lot is on the left and you cross the road to access the trail for St. Sauveur and Acadia Mountain. There is also a separate parking area that brings you to the same loop on route 102, the access trail to the loop is just slightly longer.
I brought my dad here for his first big hike with me on Independence Day! We got an early start to beat all of the crowds so we could enjoy the trails with as little congestion as possible. I suggest starting early in the park during tourist season to reduce the amount of traffic you have to share the trails with.
The trail starts with a set of stairs that you can see from the parking lot which is about 0.1 miles to the intersection of the loop trail. Numerous reviews gave recommendations to go counter clockwise and I am glad we followed their suggestions.
Once you get to the first intersection, to go counterclockwise you will head right on the St. Sauver Trail. This also makes it so you hit the first peak, St. Sauver first, which I also recommend because it isn't overly exciting. The trail to get there is decent, however, the peak doesn't have any views. From the intersection to the peak is about 1 mile.
The signage is a little confusing once you get to St. Sauever mountain as it looks like you are headed onto the valley peak trail, but All Trails calls it the Sauever Mountain trail. This will cut off some of the mountain trail and put you on the Valley Peak Trail. You will veer right to hook back onto the correct direction for the loop to get back towards Acadia Mountain. From this point you are about one mile from the Man O War Brook Trail crossing. From there you will head straight across towards Acadia Mountain which is 1.1 miles away.
There is an overlook on this trail to bring you to the Man O' War Waterfall. I skipped out on that portion of the trip as I had seen it previously and it has been fairly dry so the run off/ "waterfall" was probably less than impressive this day. To get to Acadia Mountain you will begin to gain elevation again. This portion of the Valley Peak Trail is very pretty and gives some nice views of Northeast Harbor and out to the Cranberry Isles. This is where there are ledges and rocks that you begin to climb that would be questionable for a lot of dogs, including my own, so I left him home for this trip.
The summit for Acadia is somewhat small on a busy day but luckily we did time it somewhat decent so there were only 5 groups there while we were there. (I feel bad for those coming up while we were on our descent as I am sure there was not a whole lot of breathing room up there at that time). From the Acadia summit, you are about 1 mile from the parking area
Overall, this loop is just shy of 4 miles long. You gain just under 1200ft of elevation, as you climb one, come back down to level ground and begin the climb back up again. We took an average amount of time for this loop which was about 3 hours with a couple of stops to take a break and for some photos.
If you get the chance to take this loop I recommend it! If you only have time to do Acadia Mountain, you can do a smaller loop by using the Man O War trail. However, I recommend taking the 3 hours to do the full loop. Use caution if there is rain in the forecast. This could become a little more technical and a very slippery trail with rainfall.