Another in a series of “Ask Acadia on My Mind!” Q&As
If you have a question about Acadia National Park on your mind, whether you’re a first-time visitor or long-time fan, leave a comment below, or contact us through the About us page. We may not be able to answer every question, or respond right away, but we’ll do our best. See our new page linking in one place all the Q&As.
1) I will be in Bar Harbor August 10-12. Are there any special events in Acadia for the Perseid meteor showers? – I.D.
2) I’m excited to be visiting Acadia with my fiancee this coming August 3-4, for the first time in about 15 years. We’re planning to make the most of our short visit by packing it full of some of Acadia’s best hikes. We’d been hoping to be able to climb the Precipice Trail, but I have since learned that it’s usually closed through August for falcon nesting. Any chance of it opening back up a little early this year? If not, what are some similar alternatives you’d suggest that would be open? Beehive? Jordan Cliffs Trail? We are both experienced hikers, and do not expect anything in Acadia to be beyond our skill/fitness levels. – Dave
3) First, thank you for this Q&A. It is incredibly helpful as I’m researching for my first trip in August! I’m also getting married so my friend, who is on this trip, will help take some engagement photos. I’m hoping to have some shoots at Cadillac Mountain (sunrise/sunset), Thunder Hole, Bass Harbor, the stone bridges… do you have any other recommendations that would make a great shoot? Thank you! -Q
Dear I.D., Dave and Q,
Thanks for asking such diverse questions about the trips you each are planning to Acadia in August! It just goes to show how much Acadia National Park has to offer, no matter what your interests.
Acadia great place to watch for Perseids meteor showers
I.D., you’re right to pick Acadia as a place to watch for the Perseid meteor showers, since the park is so well-known for its night sky, there’s even a festival to celebrate it annually.
This year, the Acadia Night Sky Festival runs from September 10-14, which unfortunately is the month after the meteor showers. But while there may not be a formal festival during your visit, there are regularly scheduled ranger-led programs that focus on the night skies of Acadia.
For example, the park’s online calendar lists the following night-sky related events happening on Aug. 11: “Knowing the Night” and “Stars Over Sand Beach.” In addition, you can check with the visitor center or Seawall and Blackwoods bulletin boards to find out whether the campground evening programs are focusing on the meteor showers during your visit.
Schoodic Institute, a nonprofit partner of Acadia National Park, also offers night-sky related programs, but the calendar listings show they’re all after the meteor showers.
But even if there’s no formal Acadia program, you’ll probably have company if you drive to the top of Cadillac to catch the show when the meteors are expected to peak after midnight and before dawn. The moon won’t get in the way of the Perseids meteor show this year, making 2015 a good year to watch for them, according to EarthSky.org.
Other must-see night-sky events this year, whether at Acadia or anywhere else far from city lights, according to Backpacker Magazine:
– August 29, September 28, October 27 – Supermoons for 2015, with the moon closer than usual
– September 28 – Total lunar eclipse (Blood Moon)
– October 21-22 – Orionids meteor shower
– October 28 – Convergence of Venus, Mars and Jupiter
Wishing you clear skies during your visit to Acadia in August, I.D.!
Alternative hikes if Precipice Trail closed for peregrine falcons
Dave, there’s a possibility that the Precipice, arguably the toughest hike in Acadia, could be reopened in early August, depending upon when the peregrine falcon chicks fledge. Last year, the trail reopened on August 1 after the chicks had learned how to fly.
To keep track of the reopening, you can check the park service’s news release page or its Facebook page. Or if you’re in the park, you can go by the Precipice parking lot to see if the stairs to the trail are still blocked because of nesting falcons.
Three healthy baby girl chicks on the Precipice of Champlain Mountain were banded by park biologists in June, along with the help of professional climbers from the Atlantic Climbing School. The comeback of falcons is quite the success story in Acadia. Last year was a banner year, with chicks fledging at 4 sites.
If the Precipice is still closed at the time of your visit, it could be that the Jordan Cliffs Trail is still closed too. While the Precipice, Valley Cove and associated trails were closed April 2 to protect nesting falcons, the Jordan Cliffs Trail was closed on April 15 this year.
But Dave, you and your fiancee can get just as challenging a hike by climbing the Beehive, which doesn’t have nesting falcons. Since you’re visiting during the busiest month, it’s best to climb Beehive early or late, to avoid a trail jam.
Or you can try the lesser-known Ladder Trail up Dorr Mountain, or the Perpendicular Trail up Mansell Mountain. We describe those hikes in our Hiking Acadia National Park book. (NOTE: See sidebar about Amazon.com links on this site.)
Wishing you and your fiancee some good climbing during your visit to Acadia in August, Dave!
Acadia in August a perfect backdrop for scenic photos
Q, congratulations on your engagement! And there’s no more romantic place to have engagement photos taken than Acadia National Park.
You’ve already highlighted some of the most scenic spots for photos, Cadillac, Thunder Hole, Bass Harbor Head Light and some of the carriage road bridges. August is the busiest month in Acadia, so you’ll want to try to do the photo shoot early or late, to avoid the crowds. Plus the lighting for photos is probably better early or late, rather than when the sun is high in the sky.
We’d suggest these other picturesque sites too:
– Sand Beach and Great Head – At the far end of the beach, before you cross the narrow channel to Great Head, a rocky peninsula with a loop hiking trail, you can get a unique perspective back over the wetlands to the Beehive.
– Jordan Pond with the Bubbles in the background – From the tea lawn of the Jordan Pond House, you can get the distinctive twin mountains in the distance. There is also an observation deck at the Jordan Pond House worth checking out as well.
– Schooner Head Overlook – With the recent restoration of historic vistas there, grand views are visible once again from this area, toward Egg Rock lighthouse, and even toward the Precipice of Champlain Mountain.
We’re not photographers by profession, but hopefully these suggestions are helpful. There are professional photographers who do focus on Acadia National Park, however, and they may be able to give you even better ideas. Below are some of the photographers we’ve come to know in our travels through Acadia, and by researching and writing this blog. Checking out their Web sites may give you some additional ideas for scenic spots in Acadia:
– Acadia Images – The father-and-son team of Tom and Vincent Lawrence offer intimate photo workshops, specializing in Acadia. Their Web site includes a gallery of their photos, as well as those of workshop participants.
– QT Luong – Featured in Ken Burns’s documentary, “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” Luong is the first person to have photographed all 59 national parks in large format. His Web site has a section dedicated to his Acadia National Park photos.
– Don Gargano Photography – Based in Rochester, NH, this professional photographer makes forays into Acadia National Park and other parts of New England, and periodically posts Acadia photos onto our Facebook page.
For additional ideas, you can also check out Acadia National Park’s online photo gallery, as well as a book by Jerry Monkman, “The Photographer’s Guide to Acadia National Park: Where to Find Perfect Shots and How to Take Them.” (NOTE: See sidebar about Amazon.com links on this site.)
And Q, where will the wedding be? If you’re thinking of Acadia, there’s a whole page on marrying in the park.
Again, congratulations on the engagement, and on picking a beautiful spot like Acadia for photos to announce the happy news. Glad to know this Q&A has been helpful.