Established in 1928, Acadia National Park is the oldest national park east of the Mississippi River.
The park protects approximately half of Mount Desert Island; the other half is owned by private residents. Despite its dry discouraging name, Mount Desert Island’s glacially carved mountains possess a healthy network of creeks, ponds, and lakes. The islands southern coastline is exposed to powerful swells from the Atlantic Gulf Stream. There are many trails that follow the coastal cliffs, and I enjoyed reading and writing above the waves and under the trees, where stubborn granite bedrock met the unrelenting sea.
Must See: Most of Acadia’s two million annual guests experience the park by driving a lap around the 27 mile Park Loop Road, typically concluding their drive with a detour up Cadillac Mountain (elev. 1530 ft, 465 m). The name Cadillac Mountain may ring a bell because of its reputation for being the first place in the United States to see the sunrise.
Off the Beaten Path: The wildly wealthy and famously philanthropic oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, Jr. financed the construction of over 50 miles of narrow carriage roads to navigate the wilderness. These roads are open to hiking, biking, and horse riding, and they allow visitors to explore deep into the park without the distraction of motored vehicles.
Next Time: The vertigo inducing Precipice Trail was temporarily closed due to nesting peregrine falcons. Instead I settled for the similarly steep Beehive Trail. Also, the $100 price tag for a half-day guided rock climbing session may seem steep, but I remember feeling a pang of envy when I saw a handful of colorful climbers dotting a distant rock face.
Bonus: Most national parks have nearby towns that provide park visitors with accommodations. These border towns range from being outright tourist traps to minimalist mail outposts. Bar Harbor strikes a happy balance, retaining its character and offering solid entertainment and food options. Check out Reel Pizza if you get a chance.
For more information on my visit check out my post.