Acadia National Park, is a perfect illustration of the incredible landscape of coastal Maine. Located on Mt. Desert Island, Acadia National is known for it’s orange hued jagged cliffs, crashing waves, plentiful forests, and breathtaking ocean vistas. It’s everything you’d imagine and more when you think “coastal Maine”. Acadia is one of the most visited National Parks in the nation, receiving over 2 million visitors per year. We visited just after peak season (summer) ended, and were welcomed by crisp cool weather, and first appearance of fall. As we looked back over our photos from the trip, I couldn’t believe some of the shots, they almost seem unreal! I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, as Dennis says, it’s hard not to get an incredible photo in a place like this. We think the video does a darn good job illustrating how great this place is, but take a look for yourself. Don’t forget to scroll down after, we have a ton of amazing photos that capture Acadia’s beauty!
If you’re coming to Acadia, schedule a solid week (minimum) or spread the experience out over several visits in order to truly appreciate and explore the beauty and adventure it has to offer. We felt like we didn’t get to do or see nearly enough! It also wasn’t ideal that it rained two days during our stay, so we opted for fun things around the island vs. experiencing the park by foot. 49,000 acres make up this beautiful landscape. Most of which is covered in hiking paths, mountainous terrain, and rocky beaches. Our first day exploring in the park itself, we walked along Ocean Path, which is a long and very easy walking path, that takes you along the gorgeous oceanside. There are small footpaths that take you off the trail itself and onto the orange seaside cliffs. Our first step on the cliffside and we were blown away. We sat there in awe for a while before moving on to the next footpath, which provided equal if not more magnificent views. If there is one thing you see when you are there, it’s this!
On your walk down Ocean Path you will pass Thunder Hole. It’s a naturally formed inlet that was created from erosion over time as the powerful waves beating a “hole” into the cliff. Whenever a decent size wave comes through the narrow passage way and into the inlet, it makes the sound of thunder. We had some fun watching and listening to the waves power their way into the hole. We even got splashed a few times!
To finish the day off, we hiked up Gorham Mountain. It was a medium/moderate trail that had some decent incline to it. When we got to the top we rewarded with awesome views of the ocean and beach! We climbed back down the mountain just in time for the sun to set. It was a great start to Acadia National!
On almost all the trails we went on, there were unique trail markers called Cairns. They were created over 100 years ago for trails that didn’t have trees to easily use as markers. The top rock and the space between the rocks below point to the direction of the trail. They are still used today and have supplemental trail markers (painting on the rocks or traditional trail signs). We thought these were a really cool way to mark paths and enjoyed following along as we hiked up and down the mountains.
The next day we went on a hike on Bee Hive Trail. This is one of the more famous trails within Acadia National. There were lots of people (all ages and abilities) determined to make it up this “nearly vertical” hike. We loved every bit of it (well Dennis loved every bit of it). It’s more mentally challenging than physically, and overall is a really fun trail. We enjoyed a picnic lunch at the top with beautiful views of the oceanside then headed down the rear of Bee Hive mountain. This would have connected us to Cadillac mountain but with clouds brewing in the sky we opted for a short hike to Bubble Pond which was pristine water and lush trees. It reminded me a lot of Northern California where my Aunt Beth & Uncle John have property. Then we headed toward bubble rock for a hike. Unfortunately it started raining, (you might have seen that in the video), so we weren’t able to hike up Bubble mountains. Next time!
We went to the northern area of the park which is about a 20 minute drive from the main loop of Acadia Park that most visitors stick to. It was much quieter and calmer on this side of the island. Less of the orange rocky terrain that we had become familiar with and more trees, birds, animals, and small bays and coves.
I suggest taking the time to venture out there, we found some really peaceful and beautiful spots to enjoy! You can also head to Bass Harbor Lighthouse on this side of the island which is one of the most photographed lighthouses in the United States. We were lucky enough to see it at sunset!
There is about 40 miles of “carriage roads” that wind through Acadia National originally paid for and designed by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. during 1913 to 1940. He felt cars were ruining the experience of nature, and wanted people to see Acadia from actual horse and carriages. We went for a short walk through the carriage roads where we saw deer, birds, a beautiful lake, and one of the bridges Rockefeller designed and built in 1926. If we went back, we would dedicate a morning or afternoon to hiking the full 40 miles of trails. It would be a really nice way to see the park.