Acadia National Park is located on the rugged coast of Maine near Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island, most of the Isle au Haut, parts of Baker Island, and on a portion of the Schoodic Peninsula on the mainland. The park is over 47,000 acres in size consisting of rugged and picturesque coastline, lakes, mountains, ponds, and woodlands. It is also home to the tallest mountain on the U.S. East Coast – Cadillac Mountain at 1,528 feet tall.
Acadia National park is known for its striking scenery and diverse habitats. It is also home to a diverse range of wildlife including: beaver, black bears, bobcats, chipmunks, coyote, foxes, gray squirrels, moose, muskrats, porcupine, and white-tailed deer.
Acadia National Park History
Acadia National Park was created as Lafayette National Park in 1919. It was the first National Park east of the Mississippi. To this day it is the only National Park in the Northeastern United States. The park’s name was changed to Acadia National Park on January 19, 1929.
Acadia National Park Activities – Warm Weather
The park has a diverse range of activities throughout the year. Some of the popular activities in the warm weather months include:
- Bicycling – portions of the paved roads and 45 miles of carriage roads are available for biking.
- Bird Watching – Get your binoculars and bird identification book ready. There are over 270 species of birds in Acadia National Park.
- Climbing – There are several climbing routes in the park on cliffs that are typically coarse grained pink-granite.
- Fishing – Both fresh and salt water fishing is available in and around the park. Freshwater species include bass (small and largemouth), landlocked salmon, trout, and more. Bluefish, mackerel, and striped bass are among the more popular saltwater species.
- Hiking – There are 125 miles of hiking trails as well as the 45 miles of carriage roads.
- Horseback Riding – Most of the 45 miles of carriage roads are available for horseback riding.
- Scenic Driving – Drive the 27-mile Park Loop Road to see the Park’s spectacular scenery.
- Swimming – The park has two beaches with lifeguards: Echo Lake Beach, and Sand Beach. Echo Lake Beach provides “somewhat” warmer swimming. Sand Beach’s water temperature is rarely above 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
In addition to these activities there are guided tours that include bus and carriage tours, ranger-led group tours, and ranger-narrated boat cruises.
Acadia National Park Activities – Cold Weather
Although many of Acadia National Park’s facilities are closed during the winter, including most of the Park Loop Road, there are still many things to do in the park when the snow flies, including:
- Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing – The 45 miles of carriage roads are available for Nordic skiing and snowshoeing.
- Dog Sledding – Dog sledding, dog carts, and skijoring with dogs is permitted on all closed motor roads and fire roads within the park. The carriage roads may not be used for this purpose.
- Ice Fishing
- Snowmobiling – Snowmobiles are allowed on the 27-mile Park Loop Road system, most fire roads, and two miles of carriage roads as connector trails.
- Winter Camping – During the winter a limited number of campsites are available at Blackwoods Campground for primitive winter camping.
- Winter Hiking
Camping in Acadia National Park
There are four campgrounds in Acadia National Park:
- Blackwoods Campground on Mount Desert Island
- Seawall Campground also on Mount Desert Island
- Wildwood Stables Campground which is only open to visitors with stock animals
- Duck Harbor Campground located on Isle au Haut and only accessible via boat is available for primitive camping.
The two main campgrounds on Mount Desert Island are mainly for tents, but do have sites that can accommodate pop-ups, vehicle campers, and RVs up to 35 feet. There is no back country camping in the park.
Fall Foliage in Acadia National Park
Combine rugged beauty with the spectacular colors of fall and you have a recipe for some memorable sights. Peak foliage season in the park comes around mid-October but good viewing should happen from the first to the third week of October. You will want to remember your camera…
Acadia National Park Operating Hours
While the park is open year round, most facilities and many of the roads are closed from November through mid-April.