With a recent foot of snow, and possibly more on the way, Acadia National Park should be ideal for snowshoeing, hiking and cross-country skiing this weekend.
Recent rains also mean there is likely plenty of thick ice under the fresh snow to possibly make winter hiking risky in spots, even with MICROspikes(R) or snowshoes. It could also be that there is enough snow to protect winter hikers and skiers from the ice underneath. Conditions can vary so much in Acadia in winter.
A couple of weeks ago, after the park received seven inches of snow, we strapped on snowshoes and hiked a good part of the Cadillac South Ridge Trail with friends, and then to the peak of South Bubble the next day with Kahtoola MICROspikes(R). It was often tricky to negotiate ice under the snow and we slipped or fell several times over the weekend. At the time, we believed a foot of snow would be near perfect. (NOTE: Please see sidebar about Amazon.com links)
The National Park Service plows the lots at Jordan Pond and snowmobiles may groom tracks on closed sections of the Park Loop Road in the area, providing access to South and North Bubbles and other trails.
Acadia in winter a haven for hikers, snowshoers, cross-country skiers
If you want to cross-country ski in Acadia in winter, check the status of grooming. Under a partnership among the Acadia Winter Trails Association, the Friends of Acadia and Acadia National Park, volunteers regularly groom certain carriage roads for cross-country skiing when the conditions are right.
The Ocean Drive section of the Park Loop Road is plowed and open to motor vehicles, making it easy to access the park from Sand Beach to the Fabbri parking area. We even saw a woman cross-country skiing next to Ocean Path. We also enjoyed some stunning views of a frozen Thunder Hole and a nice walk to the causeway on the loop road with Dorr and Cadillac Mountains reflecting off Otter Cove.
We also hiked the Ship Harbor Trail and found the scenery fantastic. It is special to see snow covering pink granite and to view icy shores on nearby islands such as Baker and Little Cranberry. At Sand Beach and elsewhere, we were amazed at huge spikes of ice that hang from the cliffs in many spots.
Winter sunsets are also spectacular with the sun hitting the snow and pink granite. We didn’t have a chance to see a Snowy owl, but we hear you’re almost guaranteed to catch a view atop Sargent.
There’s also plenty of hotels, restaurants and other year-round businesses that are open near Acadia in winter. We stayed in the newer section of the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel and enjoyed the slow pace in downtown Bar Harbor. We liked the egg rolls at China Joy and enjoyed using the delivery service from Little Anthony’s Sports Bar and Pizzeria.
Acadia in winter is beautiful – so get out and enjoy, especially after a snowfall.
Snapshots of Acadia in winter provide a unique perspective