ACTIVITIES IN ACADIA NATIONAL PARK

Acadia offers a variety of activities throughout the year.

During the summer, spring, and fall, 45 miles of carriage roads are ideal for walking, hiking and biking. In addition, over 115 miles of hiking trails offer spectacular ocean and woodland views. Trails range from easy to strenuous.

By automobile, visitors can drive the 20-mile Park Loop Road and take the 7-mile spur road to Cadillac Mountain, both of which include views of some of the most dramatic scenery along the eastern seaboard.

A variety of ranger-led programs, including bird walks, boat cruises, evening slide programs, mountain hikes, stargazing, short talks, and nature walks, are available from late May to mid-October.

Other summer activities include fishing, boating, carriage rides, and wildlife viewing.

During the winter, the carriage roads and the closed portions of the Park Loop Road are ideal for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.


Explore Acadia with a Ranger

Learn how glaciers carved Acadia's landscape and what trees and plants are found along trails. Cruise to an offshore island and view wildlife en route. Learn about pioneers who went Downeast instead of out west.

These are just a few examples of what is possible when you explore Acadia with a ranger. From late May to mid-October, park rangers lead interpretive walks, cruises, talks, hikes, and evening slide programs highlighting geology, marine ecology, wildlife, plant life, and human history. When you arrive at the park, request a schedule of ranger-led activities.

Become a Junior Ranger! For young visitors, the Junior Ranger Program offers a variety of fun activities for explori Acadia. Purchase a Junior Ranger Booklet, complete the activities, and join several ranger-led programs. Upon successful completion of these activities, a park ranger will reward a job well done.


Scenic Driving

The 27-mile scenic Park Loop Road begins at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center and offers access to Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, Otter Cliffs, Jordan Pond, and Cadillac Mountain.

Park Entrance Fees are collected at the entrance station one mile north of Sand Beach on the Park Loop Road. In addition to the Park Loop Road, state and county roads may offer scenic views. The road located on Schoodic Peninsula, one hour north of Bar Harbor, offers views of the rugged coast on the only part of the park on the mainland. Federal law requires you to wear seat belts while driving in a national park.


Hiking and Walking

Acadia offers 120 miles of hiking trails ranging in difficulty from easy to strenuous. Terrain varies from rugged shoreline and deep woods to open mountain summits with views of the ocean and outer islands. Acadia's 45 miles of carriage roads are excellent for walking.


Biking

Acadia's 45 miles of carriage roads and portions of paved motor roads are suitable for bicycle riding. The carriage roads have crushed rock surfaces and wind through the heart of the park. Private carriage roads are posted and closed to bicycles.

RULES OF THE ROAD: Cyclists share the carriage roads with horses and pedestrians. Before heading out, cyclists should familiarize themselves with courtesy rules of the roads. Slow down, as speeding is discourteous to others. Be prepared to stop. Sudden stops are dangerous on gravel surfaces. Stay to the right. Give a clear warning before passing on the left. Bicyclists yield to all users. Everyone yields horses. Move to the side when stopped. Wear a helmet and carry water. Be careful! Biking is not permitted on hiking trails.


Swimming


Acadia National Park has two life guarded beaches: (Staffed Memorial Day to Labor Day)

Sand Beach, located off Park Loop Road, offers ocean swimming. The water temperature rarely exceeds 55 degrees. Echo Lake Beach, on the west side of the island, offers a somewhat warmer swimming experience. Other freshwater lakes located in the park serve as drinking water reservoirs and are closed to swimming and wading.


Fishing

Freshwater fishing requires a Maine state fishing license for residents 16 years or older and non-residents 12 years or older. Non-resident licenses can be purchased for the season or for shorter periods in town offices and some local businesses. Ocean fishing requires no license. Be cautious of surf conditions. Seaweed and algae covered rocks are extremely slippery.


Boating

A number of lakes and ponds on Mount Desert Island permit boating. There is a 10 horsepower limit on Jordan Pond, Eagle Lake, Upper and Lower Hadlock Ponds and Echo Lake. There is no horsepower limit on Long Pond. All towns have launching areas for saltwater near town docks and municipal piers. The law requires you to carry a Coast Guard approved life vest for each passenger. A better idea is to wear them. It could save your life! Canoes, kayaks, sailboats, and motorboats can be rented in surrounding communities. A variety of commercial vessels offer ferry service, fishing, nature cruises, sailing, and whale watching excursions.


Climbing

Acadia National Park offers a variety of fine climbs on small cliffs created during the last continental glaciation. Most of these cliffs are composed of solid coarse-grained pink granite. The longest routes are three pitches. Otter Cliffs and Great Head provide a spectacular setting for sea-cliff climbing not commonly available elsewhere in the U.S.



Winter Activities

Cross-country skiing: Forty-five miles of carriage roads and 41 miles of unplowed park roads are suggested for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Skiing on hiking trails is not recommended because of the uneven and steep nature of trails, ice falls blocking the path, and trail routes obscured by snow. Ski equipment and rentals are available in some of the local communities. Ski tracks are sometimes laid down by volunteers on sections of the carriage roads when snowfall exceeds four inches.


Snowmobiling:

Visitors trailering their snowmobiles are encouraged to use the Hulls Cove Visitor Center, Sieur de Monts Spring, and Jordan Pond (boat ramp area) parking lots in order to access the Park Loop Road. Snowmobile travel is allowed on the 27-mile Park Loop Road (except a 1-mile section at Jordan Pond House), and most fire roads. Only two miles of carriage roads are open to snowmobilers as connector trails. remaining 43 miles are closed to snowmobilers.

RULES OF THE TRAIL: Stay to the right; all park routes are two-way travel.
Snowmobiles must display a valid state registration.
Maximum speed limit is 35 m.p.h.
Snowmobilers must use caution and yield the right of way to anyone not on a snowmobile.
Towing people on skis or sleds is prohibited.
It is illegal to operate a snowmobile while under the influence of liquor or drugs.
Turn on your white headlight and red tail light half an hour after sunset to half an hour before sunrise, and
whenever visibility is less than 500 feet.
Drivers under age 10 must be accompanied by a person 18 years or older on their snowmobiles. Drivers 10 to14 years old must be accompanied by a person 18 years or older. Drivers under the age of 14 are prohibited from operating a snowmobile on any public road. An adult may supervise only one minor.
Call the park at 207-288-3338 for updates on snow conditions.

MUSEUMS

Sieur de Monts Spring

The Nature Center:
What role does fire play in the park? How does the park track air and water quality? What wildlife have been seen recently? Find the answers to these questions and more at the Nature Center located at Sieur de Monts Spring. Open mid-June to late September. There is no admission charge. Operated by the National Park Service.

The Robert Abbe Museum: Each season this private museum features a major exhibit on Native American culture from this region. Open mid-May to mid-October. Adults: $2.00, children $.50. For information call (207) 288-3519.

The Wild Gardens of Acadia: Managed by the Bar Harbor Garden Club, this three-fourths acre outdoor garden reflects typical habitats found on Mount Desert Island. Each species is labeled in its most characteristic habitat. There is no fee. Open year round.

The Islesford Historical Museum: Visit the maritime past at the Islesford Historical Museum on Little Cranberry Island. Exhibits tell the story of the Cranberry Isles and its people through ship models, dolls and toys, photographs, and tools. The museum can be reached by mailboat or tour boats from Northeast Harbor and Southwest Harbor. Open mid-June through September. There is no admission charge. Operated by the National Park Service.

Concession Services (Private businesses operating in Acadia National Park)

The Acadia Corporation is a Maine-owned company operating with the National Park Service to provide for service and merchandising facilities in the park. The Acadia Corporation operates the Jordan Pond House Restaurant and Gift Shop as well as gift shops at Cadillac Mountain and Thunder Hole. Contact Acadia Corporation at P.O. Box 24, Bar Harbor, Maine 04609, or (207) 288-5592

Wildwood Stables provides a variety of carriage tours along the scenic carriage roads in Acadia daily from mid-June to early October. The roads were built between 1913 and 1940 by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and are the best example of broken stone roads in the United States. Wildwood Stables also offers a horse camp for visitors wishing to bring their horses with them. No horseback riding is offered through Wildwood. Wildwood Stables is located on the Park Loop Road, one-half mile south of the Jordan Pond House Restaurant.

National Park Tours offers narrated bus tours through the park. Board bus in downtown Bar Harbor. Call (207) 288-3327 for more information.

Oli's Trolley offers narrated trolley tours through the park. Board trolleys in downtown Bar Harbor. Call (207) 288-9899 for more information.