In sticking with our "uniquely Acadia" theme, this hike offers great views of a glacially carved river valley that has wonderful cascades of water if it has been wet. It also provides great views from Parkman Mt. (Those wanting to add a bit more to the hike, can add a spur to Bald Mountain. It will add about 0.8 miles to the hike and about 45 minutes to the time. Bald has very different views from Parkman.)
Until you reach the intersection of the Trail and Giant Slide Road, its just a flat walk in the woods. When you reach Giant Slide, the glacial remnants are all around you. In places, you are going under tunnels of glacial rock remnants. If it has been rainy, there are waterfalls and cascades everywhere. When you reach the first signpost, bear right. (If you go straight, there is a tunnel.) Follow along this trail until you reach a carriage road. Cross the carriage road and continue to the top of Parkman. If you look straight south you will see Bald. To the left is Gilmore and behind Gilmore is Sargent.
Side-trip 1: The red Line offers a side-trip to Bald Mountain. Well worth the trip if its a clear day, but a pretty rugged down and up both to and from Bald Mountain to include it. In addition to great views of Mt. Gilmore, Sargent and Parkman, it also opens to show Norumbega to the West and the Hadlock ponds in front of you.
Whether you took the side-trip or skipped it, follow Grandgent. When Grandgent crosses Giant Slide, you can take the left onto Giant Slide or you can take the side trip to Mt. Gilmore.
Side-trip 2: If you skipped Side-trip 1, skip this one too. If you took side-trip 1 and didnt think it worthwhile, the view from Mt. Gilmore isnt as good, so you wont find this worthwhile either. If however, you enjoyed your trip to Bald Mt. and you have the energy, go to Mt. Gilmore and back.
Whether you took the side-trip or skipped it, follow Giant Slide north. When you cross the carriage road, continue down Giant Slide until Rte. 198. When the carriage road crosses the Giant Slide Trail, take a left and return down the Giant Slide.
In a medium length hike, although you're close to 4-hours if you added both side-trips, you've gotten a pretty good work out and a set of "Uniquely Acadia Views," both of the peaks and the glacial valley. On my "uniquely Acadia scale", I rate this hike an A-.