Wanted: Acadia camping with a view, or in the backcountry

ask acadia on my mind

Ask Acadia on My Mind!

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 page linking in one place all the Q&As.

1) Hi, I’m looking for a recommendation for a good camping site in Blackwoods in August with a view for my family of 4. It has been years since we have camped up there (before kids)! Thanks!Gia, of Colchester, Conn.

2) Hi! I’m planning my first trip to Acadia for the third week of April. I am currently looking for a generally primitive campsite where I can just bring my tent and needed supplies, but all the campsites I’ve checked on this list do not have any available sites according to https://www.recreation.gov/. I am hoping to find a place to camp that’s the closest to primitive or backcountry camping that I can find. Do you have any suggestions, know of any other places I should be looking for site availabilities or know of any campsites that are definitely available? Thank you! – Maud Rydell, Hope Valley, R.I.

Dear Gia and Maud, glad to see you’re both planning ahead for Acadia camping!

acadia camping

The official Blackwoods camping map shows the A and B loops. (Image courtesy of recreation.gov)

Blackwoods, the only Acadia National Park campground that is open year-round, is wooded and offers 217 tent-only non-electric sites, 60 RV electric and 4 group non-electric sites.

Gia, while there aren’t any water or mountain views to be had directly from sites at Blackwoods, some are more private, others are closer to bathrooms, and yet others provide more direct access to trails, as you can see from the Acadia camping map.

Another resource that we’ve come across in our Internet research that you might find helpful: A Web site, www.campsitephotos.com, that shows a photo of every Blackwoods campsite, in both the A and B loops.

And since it’s been years since you’ve been to Blackwoods, Gia, you’ll want to know about the Quarry and Otter Cove Trails, which opened just in 2014. They provide direct access to Gorham Mountain and Ocean Path, and you can find the trailhead across from the campground entrance station.

acadia national park

The Quarry and Otter Cove Trails, opened just in 2014, lead from Blackwoods Campground, past Otter Cove, as seen here, and on to Gorham Mountain and Ocean Path.

Make reservations for Acadia camping in Blackwoods May-October

Gia, you’ll also want to know that Acadia has gotten busier over the years, with August being the busiest month. To avoid being frustrated by crowded parking lots at trailheads or such popular destinations as Sand Beach, Thunder Hole or Jordan Pond, you’ll want to consider taking the fare-free Island Explorer bus. The Blackwoods bus line takes you directly to Bar Harbor Village Green, where you can transfer to bus lines that take you everywhere from Sand Beach to Jordan Pond.

Blackwoods campground

The only Acadia National Park campground open year-round, Blackwoods features 214 tent sites and 61 RV sites. (NPS photo)

Maud, you won’t need to worry about crowds in Acadia if you’re camping in late April, that’s for sure.

Actually, that’s the reason you couldn’t find an Acadia camping site listed at recreation.gov, even at year-round Blackwoods: There are so few visitors that time of year, no camping reservations are necessary. This is great for campers who plan on travelling around the area as they can stop wherever they think looks good or wherever is nearest them. If you are travelling around the country in a camper, be sure to check out One Sure Insurance for information on the benefits of ensuring a camper!

As a small footnote at the bottom of the Facility Map and Site List tabs on the Blackwoods reservation page says: “Arrival dates earlier than the online-reservation-window may also be available at the facility.”

And if you go directly to the park’s Web site, there’s a description of how to get a campsite at Blackwoods in April, on a first-come, first-serve basis:

“April and November: Weather permitting, Fee: $15 (Cash or Check only) During this time a limited number of campsites are available for self-registration at a kiosk in front of the ranger station but there are no rangers staffing the campground. The available sites can fill up quickly so please make sure you have alternate plans if you find there are no campsites available. Facilities are limited to one or two restrooms and a water pump.”

The Cadillac Summit and Park Loop Roads are scheduled to open April 15, weather permitting, so you should be able to see all the sites without the crowds, Maud. And if you’re into long-distance hiking, you can hike right from Blackwoods all the way to the top of Cadillac, via the Cadillac South Ridge Trail, the longest trail in Acadia at 3.5 miles one-way, not counting the connector from the campground.

If you’re interested in lobster by the campfire, you can stop in at Otter Creek Market to see if they’re selling them to campers yet. If not, and you’ve got a hankering for lobster in April, you can check out our year-round listings of restaurants in Bar Harbor and surrounding areas.

A few options for primitive Acadia camping, possible views

If you’re looking for a more primitive Acadia camping experience, Maud, or Acadia campgrounds with a view, Gia, here are a few other options, perhaps for another trip:

  • Blackwoods – From December to March, there are a limited number of free sites for primitive camping. No facilities are open, and you have to backpack in from ME 3, as the campground road is not open. You can get a permit from park headquarters on ME 233.
  • Duck Harbor Campground – Available by advance reservation only, and for the first time this year, beginning April 1, on recreation.gov, this is the most remote of Acadia’s campground. It involves a mail boat trip from Stonington to Isle au Haut. Five primitive sites are available from May 15 through October 15. If you go too early or too late in the season, when the mail boat only goes to Town Landing and not to Duck Harbor, you may need to backpack a few miles to get to the campsite. This campground is truly remote, with views of Duck Harbor through the trees.

    schoodic woods campground

    It’s nearly a half mile hike into campsite H-2, but the view of Frenchman Bay and Cadillac is worth it. The only other Schoodic waterview campsite is H-8.

  • Schoodic Woods Campground – The newest of Acadia’s campgrounds, opening in 2015 on Schoodic Peninsula, the only part of the park on the mainland, Schoodic Woods offers 9 walk-in sites. The 2 offering the best views: H-2 and H-8, of Cadillac Mountain and Frenchman Bay in the distance.
  • Seawall Campground – While there are no water views from the sites, it’s a short walk to the ocean from the campground. Our ranger friend, Maureen Fournier, says her favorite is Loop B. “Views of moss covered boulders and evergreen forest. Best is the sound of the hermit thrush flute song high above,” she tells us.

Thanks for the questions about Acadia camping, Gia and Maud!

You may also be interested in the following blog posts about Acadia camping:

https://acadiaonmymind.com/2016/06/camping-in-acadia-national-park-ask-acadia-on-my-mind/

https://acadiaonmymind.com/2015/09/camping-or-cruise-ship-question-ask-acadia-on-my-mind/

https://acadiaonmymind.com/2016/07/acadia-campers-fired-up-over-schoodic-woods-campground/

2 thoughts on “Wanted: Acadia camping with a view, or in the backcountry

    1. Acadia on my mind Post author

      Hi Jim, thanks for the suggestion! Have run by Mount Desert Campground during the MDI marathon, but never camped there. Nice to see they have waterviews, as well as wooded sites.

      Reply

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