Before deciding where to park, we must decide how to do the trail. The problem is, the trip up Norumbega and the ridge of Norumbega rate an "A" by my "uniquely Acadia" criteria. However, the connecting trail, "the Goat Path", while a very nice trail, would rate an "F" by my "uniquely Acadia" criteria.
This offers three options.
Asssuming option 1 or 3, proceed South on route 198. There is a pretty good size sign for the Norumbega Mt. Parking lot.
The trail begins to ascend sharply. As you gain altitude, the Upper Hadlock Pond shows up clearly. There are also many views of the Sargent/Penobscot Ridge Line, behind Upper Hadlock Pond. The highest peak in the ridgeline is Mt. Sargent, the middle is Cedar Swamp and to the right is Penobscot. In the bowl in fromnt of Sargent are a bunch of smaller peaks including Parkman, Gilmore and Bald Mountain. But from this angle, they are hard to distinguish.
As the trail begins to flatten, a view of the western mountains begin to appear. The two roughly equal peaks are Acadia to the right (north) and St. Saveur to the left (south). Note that St. Sauver is much greener and less rocky than Acadia, which is why there are better views from Acadia.
From the summit of Norumbega, one can see either the Sargent/Penobscot ridgeline to the east, the mountains to the west and even glimpses of the ocean to the south.
Behind Acadia and St. Sauveur, is Beech Mountain, but at this point, the angle is such that the fire tower, which is the most distinguishing feature on the mountain doesn't show up. To the left of St. Saveur, are the smaller peaks: Valley Peak and Flying Mountain just above Somes Sound.
Proceeding south on the Norumbega Ridge line, you may think the views are over, byut there is one last superb view to the west. Now the fire tower on Beech Mountain shows up clearly. In addition, behind Beech and to the left of Beech is a ridgeline featuring 3-peaks. Nearest Beech is Mansell Mountain. In the center is Knight's Nubble and to the left is Bernard Mountain.
The descent continues, through the trees. There is a fork to the right toward the golf course that makes the hike a bit longer. I don't recommend it. The walk along Lower Hadlock Pond is very nice, especially when one reaches the end there is a pretty waterfall.
If you chose option 1 or 3, find your way back to route 198. If not, take the left onto the Goat Path and cross back to the Norumbega Parking lot.
Somes Sound and West Penobscot Bay from Norumbega Mountain
Photo by Henry Yung and posted with his permission