Scenes of Acadia in winter like a picture-perfect postcard

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.

Snow shoeing in Acadia National Park

With islands looming in the background, snowshoeing is tops on the Cadillac South Ridge Trail.

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 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

Blue skies over the Bubbles, and snow blankets the pink granite shore of Jordan Pond.

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.

Icicles and windblown-snow cover the cliffs of Thunder Hole in Acadia National Park.

Icicles and windblown snow cover the cliffs of Thunder Hole in Acadia National Park. The eastern sky is also beginning to turn pink at sunset.

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.

The Beehive in winter at Acadia National Park.

The Beehive, at 520 feet, looms above a snow field off Sand Beach in Acadia National Park.

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

acadia in winter

Snowshoers on the way to the Featherbed, along the Cadillac South Ridge Trail.

The Ship Harbor Trail in winter in Acadia National Park

Pink granite cliffs on the Ship Harbor Trail look spectacular in winter. Acadia National Park may be one of the few places in the world where you can see snow on pink granite.

acadia in winter

Snowy woods in Acadia, on the way to the Bubbles.

acadia in winter

Reflections in Jordan Pond, framed by snow and a shimmer of ice.

acadia in winter

Blue and white ice near the Otter Cove causeway.

acadia in winter

Looking west toward the snow-covered Precipice of Champlain, from Schooner Head Path.

acadia in winter

Bass Harbor Head Light in Acadia in winter.

Bubble Rock is capped with snow during winter in Acadia National Park.

Bubble Rock, capped with snow, sits atop 766-foot South Bubble, the 16th highest peak in Acadia National Park.