Acadia National Park is the only national park in New England and was the first one established east of the Mississippi. In the summer months it attracts visitors like a magnet. But by fall quiet space is easier to find especially if you’re prepared to camp and hike in the park.
It’s a special place on America’s Atlantic coast and famous for its rocky and breathtaking coastal terrain. The park is home to more than 500 species of plants, 300 species of birds, and the tallest mountain, at 1,530 feet, on the east coast of U.S.
The park is largely located on Mount Desert Island, which is south of Ellsworth, Maine. Acadia covers 46,000 acres and includes 120 miles of hiking trails and an extensive 45-mile network of carriage paths popular for mountain biking. The paths were created during 1913 and 1940 by John Rockefeller, Jr.
Peak foliage in the area is generally around early to mid-October and camping is restricted to Blackwoods campground after September. But the park has many trails and a number can be combined to create longer excursions and climbs for hikers of all ability. Just allow enough time to return to Blackwoods campground for your overnight stays as backcountry camping is not allowed in the park.
Moderate ability trails include: the 4.4 miles Cadillac Mountain North Ridge Trail with open views of Bar Harbor and Frenchman Bay, Champlain Mountain at 2.2 miles, and the 3.3 mile loop of the scenic Jordan Pond Shore Trail.
Three of the more popular trails for strenuous hikes are the Precipice Trail, Cadillac Mountain South Ridge Trail, and Acadia Mountain Trail.
The Precipice Trail is very steep as it ascends 1,000 feet almost vertically, and includes climbing ladders on exposed cliffs. It’s the most challenging of all the trails in the park but an exhilarating climb if you’ve a head for heights.
The Cadillac Mountain South Ridge Trail starts close to the campground and is a 7.4 mile roundtrip hike through forests and to the summit with marvelous scenic views at the top. The Acadia Mountain Trail is on the opposite side of Sommes Sound and offers stunning views of the Sound, and Southwest Harbor.
Mountain cyclists can marvel and enjoy the impressive broken-stone carriage roads located east of Sommes Sound in the Jordan’s Pond and Eagle Lake areas. These roads are also a wonderful way of seeing the park for hikers, and those wanting easy scenic walk trails.
Allow a week to experience the varied hikes and terrain of the park during fall.
Trail maps and park information can be picked up at Hulls Cove Visitor Center located on Route 3 and open from May thru October. For more information on Acadia National Park and reservations at the campgrounds visit www.nps.gov/acad