The Beauty of Acadia National Park; Top Places to Explore.
Acadia National Park is a special place along coastal Maine. It is a place of exploration, where you can climb mountains, bike ride along the carriage roads, watch the sun rise over the ocean and lay among the grass to gaze at the billions of stars. It is quite magical..to say the least.
For me, Acadia is my favorite National Park. Why, you ask? Besides the obvious reasons of beauty and tranquility, it is one of the few parks that allows dogs with little restriction. That means Boone & Crockett get to enjoy all of those special things with me. My dogs are my children, and if they couldn’t go, I wouldn’t go– so thank you, Acadia for understanding.
We usually buy a National Park Pass yearly ($80) so we can access National Parks and National Forests without paying multiple fees, but if you plan on visiting just once then the $25/day fee is probably your way to go!
If you are ready for a beautiful weekend get-a-way, then let’s adventure through some of Acadia’s National Treasures.
Sunrise on Cadillac Mountain
It may not feel worth it when you hear your alarm sound off at 4AM, but after a short drive you will be sitting atop the tallest mountain in Acadia, and the first mountain on the East Coast to see the sunrise…it will surely be breath taking–more than worth it.
Stay in your pajamas, bring a chair and a blanket and drive the 3-mile road to the top of the mountain. Beware, that you will not be the only soul to make this trip and surely not the only one who contemplates going back to bed after the grand rising. Even B & C were wondering what the heck we were doing as they both fought for a place in my lap.
If you are up for a challenge, you can also hike to the top. There are several routes, with the North or South Ridge trails being the most traveled. This was our original plan, but the sun was rising faster than our bodies were moving so we opted to play it safe and drive, rather
than hike to our destination. I am so glad we did, because that ball of fire was AWE-mazing!
Next we travel to some personal favorite hikes within the park.
Jordan Pond Loop
If the whole uphill-downhill gig doesn’t suit you, then this loop is perfect for you! Jordan Pond Loop is 3.4 miles with little elevation gain. You will walk along a smooth gravel path, over some man-made bridges and through a beautiful forest that surrounds the pristine Jordan Pond (which is more like a small lake). The loop on average will take about 2- 21/2 hours to complete, and is so well worth it.
After your adventure, stop into the Jordan Pond House where you can enjoy some tea and their famous ‘popovers’. I have never had the pleasure of experiencing them but it is well talked about around the park.
Jordan Pond Loop to South Bubble
If you want a little challenge thrown into your Jordan Pond loop, then head on up the South Bubble trail. It can be a bit steep, rocky and challenging– but if you’re up to it the view of the Pond from the top is breathtaking and all the hardship to get there will be well worth it.
This most recent trip to Acadia was with my mother, who is known to be a wee bit afraid of heights. This trail definitely challenged her, but with some coaching she made it to the top in no time and was all smiles. Those smiles just continued throughout the trip.
Tackling this mountain will only add 1.3 miles to your original loop. Do it- you won’t be disappointed.
Sargent Mountain to Penobscot Mountain
If you are looking for a slightly longer loop hike- these two are perfect (4.6 miles)
There are multiple ways you can access these mountains, but I will tell you our route. We walked on the carriage roads from Jordan Pond, totally in trance by the tranquility. Bikers or runners would pass by infrequently, with the casual “Hi’s”, but other than that it was total peace and quiet.
We may have been so in tune with nature that we missed the first cut off so we continued along until we came to a sign pointing the way to Sargent. It was a long stone stair case that went up and up. We made it to the top of Sargent in what felt like mere minutes. From Sargent, it was all views and fairly flat as we made our way over to Penobscot. It was a casual walk in the woods, just what everyone needs.
The trail down was fun– adorned with a bridge around the cliffs and more stone stairs. It met back up with the carriage roads soon after and we walked hand in hand along the carriage roads.
Acadia Mountain; Echo Lake
Nestled on the Western side of the park, is the gem of a mountain; Acadia. You can’t leave Acadia National Park without hiking Acadia Mountain, right?
Cross the road, and start ascending the 0.9mi to the top, where stair cases of stone mark your way. This loop is less than 3 miles and the summit has views to soak in for days. Continuing on this trail will give you more time to enjoy them views– where you will soon meet up with Man-O-War Road. This is an old logging road that is nice and easy, giving you time to frolic along at your own pace.
Feel free when you get back to your car to get your swimmies on and head down a short path to cool off in Echo Lake.
You’re here, but where should you stay? I’m going to let you in on my little secret place.
Lodging–My Personal Experience
When I am someplace like Acadia, I want the experience of camping, with maybe a little luxury of a bathroom nearby. Quietside campground has been our temporary home for the past two years and it is just the loveliest.
The prices are reasonable and it is a big further away from the Main park entrance (30 minutes) so the crowds are minimal. Also, the tent spots are just utterly adorable! You may hear a rooster crowing around dawn and a small dog barking in the distance (owners live on grounds), but those noises just make you feel more at home.
Campfire under the grand sky, vegan s’mores in hand and gazing for shooting stars is just how every night should be.
You Have My Heart, Acadia.
My advice is to come here and really absorb your experience. Don’t rush to do everything in one trip (unless you know you will never be back). Spend time among the trees, dip your toes in the ocean and stroll aimlessly along the carriage roads.
Watch the sunrise and watch it set. Bring your pups (mine love it here!). Take lots of pictures and make even more memories.
In the end, just enjoy– Maine is the Vacation State anyways.
Happy as always,
Ciara, Boone & Crockett