Acadia National Park: Wikis


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Acadia National Park
IUCN Category II (National Park)
Location Hancock / Knox counties, Maine, USA
Nearest city Bar Harbor
Coordinates 44°21′0″N 68°13′0″W / 44.35°N 68.216667°W / 44.35; -68.216667Coordinates: 44°21′0″N 68°13′0″W / 44.35°N 68.216667°W / 44.35; -68.216667
Area 47,390 acres (191.78 km2)
45,823 acres (185.44 km2) federal
Established July 8, 1916
Visitors 2,202,228 (in 2007)
Governing body National Park Service
Aerial view, 3D computer generated image

Acadia National Park preserves much of Mount Desert Island, and associated smaller islands, off the Atlantic coast of Maine. Originally inhabited by the Wabanaki people, the area includes mountains, an ocean shoreline, woodlands, and lakes.[1] In addition to Mount Desert Island, the park comprises much of the Isle au Haut, a small island to the southwest of Mount Desert Island and parts of Baker Island, also nearby. A portion of Schoodic Peninsula on the mainland is also part of the park. In total, Acadia National Park consists of 30,300 acres (47 square miles or 123 km2) on Mount Desert Island, 2,728 acres (4.6 square miles or 11 km2) on Isle au Haut and 2,366 acres (3.5 square miles or 9.2 km2) on the Schoodic Peninsula.



In the fall of 1604, Samuel de Champlain observed a high-notched island composed of seven or eight mountains rising to bare-rock summits from slopes of birch, fir, and pine. In spite of many changes over nearly 400 years, the area remains essentially the same.[2]

The landscape architect Charles Elliot is credited with the idea for the park.[3] It first attained federal status when President Woodrow Wilson, established it as Sieur de Monts National Monument on July 8, 1916, administered by the National Park Service. On February 26, 1919, it became a national park, with the name Lafayette National Park in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette, an influential French supporter of the American Revolution. The park's name was changed to Acadia National Park on January 19, 1929. From 1915 to 1933, the wealthy philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr. financed, designed, and directed the construction of a network of carriage trails throughout the park. He sponsored the landscape architect Beatrix Farrand, with the nearby family summer home Reef Point Estate, to design the planting plans for the subtle carriage roads at the Park (c.1930).[4] The network encompassed over 50 miles (80 km) of gravel carriage trails, 17 granite bridges, and two gate lodges, almost all of which are still maintained and in use today. Cut granite stones placed along the edges of the carriage roads act as guard rails of sort and are locally known as "coping stones" to help visitors cope with the steep edges. They are also fondly called "Rockefeller's teeth".

On October 17, 1947, 10,000 acres (40 km2) of Acadia National Park were burned in a fire that began along the Crooked Road several miles west of Hulls Cove.[5] The forest fire was one of a series of fires that consumed much of Maine's forest as a result of a dry year. The fire burned for days and was fought by the Coast Guard, Army, Navy, local residents, and National Park Service Employees from around the country. Restoration of the park was supported, substantially, by the Rockefeller family, particularly John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Regrowth was mostly allowed to occur naturally and the fire has been suggested to have actually enhanced the beauty of the park, adding diversity to tree populations and depth to its scenery. Acadia National Park is the only national park in New England and the first park on the east side of the Mississippi River.

On August 23, 2009, several park visitors were swept out to sea at Thunder Hole by high surf attributed to the remnants of Hurricane Bill (2009) passing through the area. All were rescued but one of the tourists, a 7-year-old girl, later died.

Towns and tours

The town of Bar Harbor is located on the northeast corner of Mount Desert Island. Southwest Harbor, on the western side of the fjord Somes Sound, is well known for boat-building and fishing, and has the largest year-round population on Mount Desert Island. Northeast Harbor is known for its beautiful private "cottages" yet retains a small town atmosphere. The town of Tremont is home to Bass Harbor Head Light and is located on what locals refer to as the "quiet side" of the island. Cadillac Mountain, named after the French Explorer of the same name who went on to found Detroit, Michigan, is on the eastern side of the island. Its green, lichen-covered, pink granite summit is one of the first places in the United States to see the sunrise, making it a popular tourist attraction. Miles of scenic carriage roads were originally built by Rockefeller, Jr. with great sensitivity to the trees and contours of the land. The mountains of Acadia National Park offer hikers and bicycle riders views of the ocean, island lakes, and pine forests.

Frenchman Bay and the Porcupine Islands around the town of Bar Harbor, viewed from Cadillac Mountain

Centennial Initiative Project

The National Park Service, as part of their Centennial Initiative celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016, has created a project to promote voluntary, multimodal park access for present and future generations. Going “car free” offers visitors the opportunity to explore Acadia by foot, bicycle, shuttle bus, commercial tour bus, private automobile, or private and commercial vessels. The project includes an inter-modal transportation center on state-owned land four miles (6 km) north of the park, multiple-use trails to connect gateway communities with the park, and rehabilitation of historic carriage roads surrounding Eagle Lake.


The park is home to some 40 different species of mammalian wildlife. Among these are red and gray squirrels, chipmunks, white-tailed deer, moose, beaver, porcupine, muskrats, foxes, coyote, bobcats, and black bears. Species that used to inhabit the island include the mountain lion (or puma) and the gray wolf. It is thought that these predators have been forced to leave the area due to the dramatic decrease in small prey and proximity to human activity. Many other marine species have been observed in the surrounding area and waters.



  1. ^ See "Asticou's Island Domain: Wabanaki Peoples at Mount Desert Island 1500-2000"
  2. ^ "Acadia National Park: Mount Desert Island | Bar Harbor Maine Scenic Byways". Retrieved 2010-01-16. 
  3. ^ History of Acadia
  4. ^ Nolan, David, Beatrix. The Gardening Life of Beatrix Farrand, 1872-1959. Viking, Penguin Group,1995. isbn 0-670-83217-0. pp. 208.
  5. ^ "Fire of 1947" National Park Service

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

A trail cairn
A trail cairn

Acadia National Park [1] is the only United States National Park in New England. It is on the coast of the Down East region of Maine, near the town of Bar Harbor.


Acadia NP encompasses more than 47,000 acres, 30,300 of which are on Mount Desert Island. 2,728 acres of the park lie on Isle au Haut and 2,266 more on Schoodic Peninsula.

Acadia is one of the smaller national parks in the country, yet it attracts nearly 3 million visitors per year. It is important that those who do visit and explore this wonderful park follow some basic guidelines in order to keep the park as clean, natural, and undisturbed as possible. Please review the Leave No Trace principles [2] if you're planning a trip, and remember them while you are having a great vacation. Help keep Acadia the way it should be. Friends of Acadia [3] is a group that offers additional details about respecting this natural wonder.


Originally designated as Sieur de Monts National Monument in 1916 by presidential proclamation, Congress renamed the park Lafayette National Park in 1919. Congress again enacted a name change in 1929 to the name we now use, Acadia National Park. It was the first NP established east of the Mississippi River.

In October 1947 Acadia, along with some adjacent lands, was ravaged by fire.


A quick look at any topographical map of Mount Desert Island will indicate the powerful and lasting effects of the last ice age on the island and the current landscape of Acadia. As the last glacier receded over 18,000 years ago it left behind the elongated mountains and lakes we see today. The moving ice was also the culprit behind the "bald" summits of most of the park's hilltops, scraping off vegetation and leaving the beautiful pink granite underneath.

Flora and fauna

More than 273 bird species have been identified in the park, including bald eagles, peregrine falcons, blue jays, finches, and chickadees (the Maine state bird). Mammal species include deer, squirrels, foxes, rabbits, porcupines and bats. Other species include garter snakes, the American bullfrog, and the North American red-bellied salamander.

The National Park's checklist of common plants can be found here [4]


Acadia's weather is largely a product of latitude and marine influences. On a daily and annual basis, Mount Desert Island temperatures are more moderate than those of inland Maine. The Maine coastal climate has been ranked second only to the Pacific Northwest in annual precipitation. This moisture occurs in every form at Acadia. Ice storms are regular in winter and early spring, and rain is frequent in every month. Fog is common during June, July, and August.

Spring can be foggy with temperatures ranging between 30 and 70 degrees F. Wear light-colored clothing, long sleeve shirts, and long pants for protection. Annual rainfall is 48 inches.

Summer daytime temperatures range from 45 to 90 degrees F. Evenings are cooler. Dressing in layers is advisable for any boating or hiking activities. Ocean water temperatures range from 50 to 60 degrees F. Lake water temperatures range from 55 to 70 degrees F.

Fall temperatures can range from low 70s during the day to freezing during the night. Come prepared for all types of weather, from sun to fog, from downpours to flurries. Fall foliage often peaks during the first couple of weeks in October. Weather conditions over the summer, such as drought, may alter the time that the leaves peak.

In the winter, due to Acadia's coastal location, snow and weather conditions change rapidly. Temperatures vary from mid-30s to below zero. The park averages 61 inches of snow annually. For the latest in weather information, call the local weather phone line at 207-667-8910 or call the park at 207-288-3338.

Get in

Acadia National Park is located along the rugged, rocky coast of "Downeast" Maine. Most of the park is located on Mount Desert Island, which is accessible by vehicle. The park is approximately six hours north of Boston.

By Car

From Boston take I-95 north to Augusta, Maine, then Route 3 east to Ellsworth and on to Mount Desert Island. For an alternate route, continue on I-95 north to Bangor, Maine, then take Route 1A east to Ellsworth. In Ellsworth, take Route 3 to Mount Desert Island.

Distances from Other Cities

By plane

Direct flights from Boston's Logan Airport land at the Hancock County Airport, located 10 miles from Acadia National Park. National airlines serve the Bangor International Airport, about one hour from the park. Car rentals are available at both airports.

By ferry

A ferry to Nova Scotia sails between Bar Harbor, Maine and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Schedules vary depending on the season. Phone (888) 249-SAIL or (207) 288-3395.


There are:

  • 7-day (vehicle) entrance permit, $20 in-season, $10 off-season
  • 7-day individual park pass, $5
  • Annual Acadia pass, $40
  • Commercial mini bus (capacity 16-25), $60 for 1 entrance
  • Commercial sedan (capacity 1-6), $25 + $5/visitor for 1 entrance
  • Commercial tour bus (capacity 26+), $150 for 1 entrance
  • Commercial van (capacity 7-15), $50 for 1 entrance

Get around

The free Island Explorer bus system, Phone: +1 207 667-5796, [5] can take you through the park, stopping at points of interest. There are bicycle racks on the front and back of each bus if you'd like to combine transport methods as you explore. Island Explorer buses are propane powered.

  • Egg Rock Light, (Acadia Loop Road, south of Bar Harbor.). This 1875 lighthouse is located on a barren ledge in the middle of Frenchman Bay, east of Mount Desert Island. It can be viewed from the Acadia NP Loop Road.  edit



There is an extensive network of carriage roads throughout Acadia National Park, which are closed to automobiles and are excellent places to ride your bicycle. The carriage roads are mostly paved with crushed stone and, therefore, are best navigated on a mountain or hybrid bicycle. Another option for cyclists is the ~20 mile long Park Loop Road, which encircles much of the eastern portion of the park. The road is open to automobiles, but is a one-way, two-lane road for much of it's length. Cyclists will be happy to note that the Park Loop Road appears to have been recently re-paved (as of August 2008), making for a very smooth, pleasant ride. Bikes can be rented in Bar Harbor.

Bird watching

Acadia is a great place to birdwatch, with many species calling the park home. Bald eagles, peregrine falcons, great blue herons, cranes, ducks, geese, chickadees, woodpeckers, owls, orioles and blue jays can be seen in the park, just to name a few of the most common. For an extensive checklist and more info on birdwatching opportunities in Acadia, see the NPS's birdwatching page here [6]

  • Carriages in the Park, Inc.[7] is the authorized carriage concession located at Wildwood Stables in the National Park. With a number of regularly scheduled tours as well as the option of private tours, Carriages in the Park offers guests a chance to see John D. Rockefeller's carriage roads and some of the Park's most stunning views. For the guests of the Park with horses Carriages in the Park also offers overnight stabling on site.
  • Acadia National Park's site on regulations, species, etc. [8]
  • While ocean fishing is open to all, fishing in freshwater lakes and ponds requires a Maine state fishing license. Licenses are required for residents 16 and up and non-residents 12 and up, and can be purchased at town offices and a few local shops.


Acadia has the best day hiking in the Eastern U.S. Walking the miles of trails is one of the best ways to experience the park. Immerse yourself in the flora and fauna of the island on a number of different hikes of various environment, length, and difficulty. These trails are stunning, with high ocean views, accessible tree lines, steep precipices, stone bridges, etc.


The last glacier of 18,000 years ago carved out the incredible and beautiful terrain of the park, leaving behind some of the cleanest lakes and ponds in the country. Sea kayaking tours and boat rental services are offered from numerous establishments in Bar Harbor and allow access to Mount Desert Island and other destinations.

  • Ranger-led Walks, various park locations, Phone: +1 207 288-3338, Fax: 207-288-8813, [9]. Ranger-guided walks and cruises.


Some ponds and lakes are used for drinking water. Check park office for list of approved swimming locations.

  • Sand Beach
  • Echo Lake beach
  • Jordan Pond House. Operated by the company which holds the franchise for food and shops within Acadia National Park, the Jordan Pond House, offers acceptable but overpriced food for lunch and dinner, but is essential for afternoon "tea and popovers". The setting, with a view of The Bubbles up the pond, is delicious, the popovers hot and eggy. Reservations are a must for tea (and even then you'll probably wait 10 or 15 minutes). (2005)



Mount Desert Island

  • Blackwoods Campground, Phone: +1 800 365-2267 (reservations), [10]. Open year-round. Reservations [11] are required from mid-June - mid-Sept. 306 sites, no hookup. $20.
  • Seawall Campground, Phone: +1 800 365-2267, [12]. Open mid May - Sept. Reservations are not accepted; Seawall is first-come, first-served. 214 sites. $20 drive in, $14 walk-in tent.

Isle Au Haut

Primitive camping is available on Isle au Haut. Reservations are recommended well in advance, but are not accepted before April 1st.

Access to Isle au Haut is via limited passenger ferry service; Confirm boat schedule with Isle au Haut Ferry Company, [13] (207) 367-6516, before reserving a campsite. Campers should be prepared to hike five miles to reach camp from Town Landing, if the ferry is not scheduled to continue on to Duck Harbor on date of arrival.

Stays are a maximum of 3 or 5 days, depending on season. Campsites have lean-tos and pit toilets; tents may be erected inside lean-tos only.

  • Duck Harbor Campground, Phone: (207) 288-3338, [14]. Open May 15 to October 15. Reservations required, by mail. [15] 5 sites. $25 per reservation.


Apart from the campgrounds, those looking to see the 'real' Maine can look into more adventurous places to sleep. The Park is full of locations where one can set up a pup tent for the night, although it is advised to do so at discretion, pack light, and leave no trace.

Officially, backcountry camping is not permitted (and strongly discouraged due to the fragile ecosystem) in Acadia National Park.

  • It is unsafe to venture out onto Maine's coastal waters without having the necessary equipment and experience. This is true of kayaking, canoeing, sailing or any other kind of boating. The water is cold and hypothermia can set in in a short amount of time. Dense fog often rolls in very quickly as well as the occasional storm.

If you are determined to go out on your own, it would be foolish and could result in serious fines from the Coast Guard or a Marine Patrol officer to do so without every single passenger:

  • wearing a PFD and/or
  • having a compass and knowing how to use it and/or
  • understanding how to navigate safely around other boats and water hazards

There are numerous companies on Mount Desert Island and elsewhere that offer guided sea kayak, sailing, and power boat tours.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


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