Category Archives: Hiking

Hiking in Acadia National Park.

Looking for romantic things to do? Ask Acadia on My Mind!

Bubble Rock in Acadia National Park helped prove the Ice Age

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 new page linking in one place all the Q&As.

I am coming up to Acadia. I figured you probably know a thing or two. So my girlfriend and I will be celebrating our year and a half anniversary on the trip (not really the reason for going, just kind of a coincidence), and I want to do something special or romantic. Of course the obvious answer for the most romantic thing would probably be to watch the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain, but I was wondering if perhaps you know of any other cool spots in the park we should check out. We are beyond ourselves with excitement, especially to see the fall foliage. We will be up for three days, arriving the morning of Thursday, Oct. 15 and leaving on Sunday, Oct. 18. – Aaron from Cleveland

Dear Aaron,

Congratulations on your 1-1/2 year anniversary! You and your girlfriend have timed your visit well for fall foliage in Acadia National Park, especially since the colors haven’t yet peaked according to last week’s official state of Maine leaf-peeping report.

sunrise on cadillac mountain

Sunrise on Cadillac Mountain (NPS photo)

There is no shortage of romantic things to do in Acadia and surrounding communities. You could hike or bike the miles of scenic trails and carriage roads; watch the sun rise or set; have popovers and tea or a lobster dinner; see a shooting star; or walk across at low tide to Bar Island.

Making it even more romantic this time of year: It’s less crowded after Columbus Day, and the trees are ablaze in autumn’s colors. No wonder many couples consider Acadia a perfect place to get married, go on their honeymoon, take photos for an engagement announcement – or celebrate their anniversary, like you and your girlfriend!

Here are some suggestions for romantic things to do in Acadia National Park: Continue reading

Fall foliage in Acadia tops things to see and do in October

UPDATED 10/14/15: It’s official, state of Maine report today shows Acadia region’s fall foliage at high to peak. See updated link below.

Spectacular fall foliage in Acadia National Park is a leaf peeper’s delight, at or near the top of the list for everyone from professional photographers to Martha Stewart, travel writers to cruise ship passengers.

fall foliage in acadia

Colors such as these can be found in Acadia National Park and surrounding communities in autumn. All rights reserved, Brent L. Ander Photography.

But enjoying the autumn colors is just one of the many things to see and do in Acadia in October, an increasingly popular time to visit, when the reds, golds, yellows and browns of fall’s turning leaves complement the year-round pink of the park’s granite.

Fall foliage in the Acadia region is at high to peak, according to the latest state of Maine’s weekly foliage report, as of Oct. 14. It came too late for the Columbus Day weekend, but it’ll be a brilliant color show for those racing or watching the Mount Desert Island Marathon and Half Marathon on Oct. 18.

In answer to one of its frequently asked questions, Acadia National Park says peak foliage is usually mid-October, ranging anywhere from the first week to the third week of the month.

Check back here regularly for current condition reports on fall foliage in Acadia, or link to some of the live webcams in area communities.

Here’s a list of top things to see and do in and around Acadia in October:

Fall foliage in Acadia

Official state of Maine foliage report declares high to peak foliage in Acadia region on Oct. 14, 2015. If you’ve never seen peak in Acadia, this is what it looks like, as captured by Vincent Lawrence of Acadia Images. All rights reserved, Acadia Images.

Continue reading

New Schoodic Woods Campground in Acadia offers plenty

Update: See new story on Schoodic Woods Campground including shower facilities offered by local businesses and extensive photo display of sites.

Bar Harbor retiree Alice Long was so excited about the new Schoodic Woods Campground in Acadia, she set up a lawn chair in front of the gate at 7 a.m. on opening day, and couldn’t wait to become the first happy camper.

Schoodic woods

Campers, hikers and bicyclists can find out more information about Schoodic Woods at this new ranger station.

“After months of waiting for the campground to open, I was thrilled to arrive there and get a tent site,” said Long in an e-mail, recalling the fun atmosphere on Sept. 1, chatting with others in line behind her, and earning a little notoriety while she was at it.

When park officials finally let her and other early-bird campers into the new Schoodic Woods Ranger Station to register, “they kept telling everyone that ‘the lady in the green chair was number one’ – from then on, that’s what everyone called me,” said Long, who is also a park volunteer.

It’s not only Long who’s excited about the opening of Schoodic Woods Campground in Acadia, which will feature 94 RV and tent sites once it’s fully completed next year, and already boasts 8.3 miles of bike paths and 4.7 miles of hiking trails for campers and day trippers.

schoodic woods

Explore Schoodic Woods by bike or on foot.

Park officials had Long sign a dollar bill, to be framed and hung in the new ranger station. US Sen. Angus S. King, Jr., camped with his RV at site B12 after he helped cut the ribbon. And so many other campers have wanted to be part of the inaugural season at Schoodic Woods, the limited number of available RV and tent sites have been filled up on a first-come, first-served basis several nights this month already.

Other reasons Schoodic Woods has been long awaited: The land that the campground and hiking and biking trails are on had been threatened by a proposal to develop a resort with hotel, golf course, sports center and luxury villas, until a change of ownership in 2011 led to a change in fortunes, so that Schoodic Woods is now part of Acadia National Park. Plus area businesses have been looking forward to a much-needed boost to the Schoodic Peninsula economy.

Here are some of the highlights of Schoodic Woods Campground in Acadia and the area, to help you plan a camping or day trip to Schoodic Peninsula. The campground is open on a first-come, first-served basis through Columbus Day this inaugural year. Next season, it will be open late May through Columbus Day, with reservations recommended through www.recreation.gov.

The hiking trails and bike paths are open year-round, weather and conditions permitting, according to John Kelly, park management specialist. A 100-space day-use parking lot, a seasonal Island Explorer bus stop, and two sets of restrooms, one open in season and another open year-round, help complete the picture. Continue reading

Top platform at Beech Mountain fire tower open in Acadia

One in a series of historic hiking trail highlights leading up to the Acadia Centennial

Most people who hike Beech Mountain in Acadia National Park may not be aware of a rare opportunity that could await them at the peak.

Beech Mountain fire tower

Only during a fire tower open house can you get the topmost views from Beech Mountain in Acadia National Park.

The National Park Service has begun opening the top platform of the steel fire tower on the peak of Beech Mountain, giving people spectacular, unfettered 360-degree views of landmarks such as Echo Lake and the Cranberry Isles. Previously, only a lower platform was open for viewing. The park service calls the opening of the top platform an open house at the fire tower.

During a recent visit on a clear day, we enjoyed the views from the tower’s top platform for the first time, even though we have been hiking in Acadia for nearly 20 years including many trips up Beech.

In an interview, Gary Stellpflug, trails foreman at Acadia National Park, said he is pleased to see the top catwalk open.

“It should be,” he said. “It is a wonderful place. Everyone wants to go up there. It’s just cool. You see fewer and fewer fire towers that you can safely go up and down.”

The top platform of the fire tower will be open from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays, through the end of August, according to the park’s online calendar.

beech mountain fire tower

On a clear day, you can see forever – or at least to the Cranberry Isles – from the Beech Mountain fire tower in Acadia National Park.

The fire tower’s cabin, however, remains closed. The cabin has a wooden floor, unlike the steel grating on the platforms.

Mary Downey, a ranger who was staffing the fire tower during our recent visit, said she didn’t believe most hikers were aware it was unusual for the top platform to be open.

Beech is a popular hike. Many people likely put it on their agenda without checking the park’s calendar for the open house or even realizing that the top platform is normally closed.

“On a clear day, it’s great,” Downey said. Continue reading

The cairns of Acadia: Objects of wonder, subjects of vandals

One in a series on Acadia’s Bates cairns

The iconic Bates-style cairns of Acadia National Park, Zen-like in their simplicity and historic in nature, keep hikers from getting lost on the trails. But they also attract vandals and random rock-stacking visitors, making trail maintenance a nightmare.

bates cairn

Each Bates-style cairn is unique in coloring, size and shape, such as this one along the Dorr North Ridge Trail.

A couple of years ago, vandals knocked over nearly all the cairns on the Cadillac South Ridge Trail, even shattering some of the rocks. And every season, visitors pile rocks on ridgetops and cobblestone beaches, not knowing that violates park rules, or that it may offend others who come after.

Just last month, a reporter for The Spectrum & Daily News of St. George, Utah, wrote an article entitled “Stacking cairns to commune with nature,” about a family trip to Acadia, featuring pictures of his sons piling rocks on the beach along the Ship Harbor Trail. He reasoned that the next big storm would knock the rocks over, and that it’s not the same as graffiti or vandalism marring national parks.

For park resource specialist Charlie Jacobi, who’s been trying to educate the public for years about leaving Bates-style cairns and other rocks alone, it’s been so disheartening, he almost gave up last year. “I was ready to throw in the towel and say, ‘We can’t do it,’” Jacobi said in an interview. “It is a waste of our time when somebody is undoing the work that you do on a daily basis.”

cairn

Like a mini Stonehenge, this Bates-style cairn stands guard on the Pemetic South Ridge Trail.

It’s against park rules to randomly stack rocks, or to add to or dismantle Bates cairns. The issue of people messing around with cairns or building stone heaps of their own isn’t just dogging Acadia. Earlier this month, National Public Radio focused on the controversy in a piece entitled “Making Mountains Out of Trail Markers? Cairns Spark Debate in Southwest,” spurred by a column in the High Country News, “Stop the rock-stacking.”

Whether the issue is unofficial rock piles in the Southwest or in Acadia, vandalized Bates-style cairns or graffiti in national parks, said Jacobi: “There’s a larger issue here about stewardship of public lands and land trusts and places we love and go to.”

“Leave What You Find,” one of the seven principles developed by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, is the message people need to get, said Jacobi.

“Whether it is rocks or wildflowers or anything else, the little bit of restraint that is needed to share Acadia or any place with thousands and thousands of other people is tough to accept. But I think that is what we need to do,” said Jacobi.

Otherwise there could be rock stacks littering the landscape, or vandalized Bates-style cairns. “I’ve got photos ad nauseum. I’ve got pictures of different things that visitors have built. You could see holes in the soil where rocks have been removed,” said Jacobi. He’s also seen rock stacks piled on a boulder in the middle of Echo Lake, destruction of summit cairns and other random acts.

cairn

This photo of cairn vandalism and rock-stacking on the east face of Dorr Mountain along what is now known as Schiff Path was taken in the late 1990s. (NPS photo provided courtesy of Charlie Jacobi)

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Tales of beaver in Acadia National Park, and other wildlife stories

Whether it’s moose or beaver in Acadia National Park, rare and unusual wildlife sightings can sometimes become the talk of the town, the chatter on Facebook, and the lore of the islands.

Take the cases of beaver on Isle au Haut, or the young bull moose that once wandered all over that remote island outpost of Acadia, and then the moose that followed hikers in the woods of Mount Desert Island.

Are there beaver on Isle au Haut? A management plan by the National Park Service says that beaver are absent from the Maine island, but a newly-released photo and recent sightings suggest otherwise.

One island resident says he has long seen beaver activity on the island, half of which is included in Acadia National Park.

beaver on isle au haut in acadia national park

A lone beaver, thought to be absent according to Acadia National Park’s recent management plan for Isle au Haut, was caught on camera in July 2014, apparently wary of Eli’s Creek, swollen by rains that month. (NPS photo taken by Ana Casillas and  provided by Ranger Alison Richardson)

Other compelling evidence includes a recent photo of  a beaver on the banks of Eli’s Creek on the southwest side of Isle au Haut.

The photo of the beaver was taken during a rain storm in July 2014 near a work cabin for Acadia rangers, said Acadia National Park Ranger Alison Richardson, who provided a copy of the photo.

Isle au Haut is in Penobscot Bay in the Gulf of Maine, about 7 miles south of Stonington. Richardson said she did not know how the lone beaver made it to the island.

“I don’t know if I would say beaver live on Isle au Haut,” but the single beaver was on the island somehow, she said. Fellow Ranger Nick Freedman said he thought it might be a transient.
Continue reading

7 peregrine falcon chicks fledge at Acadia National Park

UPDATE 8/6/15: Precipice, Jordan Cliffs and Valley Cove Trails reopened.

UPDATE 7/31/15: Statistics provided by the park state that in 2014, there were 9 peregrine falcon chicks hatched at Acadia including 1 chick at Jordan Cliffs, 2 at Ironbound Island, 4 at the Precipice and 2 at Valley Cove.

A biologist at Acadia National Park said he is pleased that 7 peregrine falcon chicks fledged at the park this year and that popular hiking trails in the nesting areas should reopen around the first week of August.

peregrine falcon chick

Park wildlife biologist, Bruce Connery, holds a peregrine chick that was lowered from its scrape, or nest, for banding, in this file photo. (NPS photo)

Bruce Connery, wildlife biologist at Acadia, said the Precipice on the east face of Champlain Mountain is now home to three fledged peregrine falcon chicks; the Jordan Cliffs, two; and Valley Cove cliffs above Somes Sound, also two.

The Precipice Trail, the Jordan Cliffs Trail, part of the Orange & Black Path and the Valley Cove Trail, which were closed early this spring to protect the peregrine falcon chicks, should all open in early August as is usual each year following the falcon nesting season, he said.

The park has not officially announced the date for reopening the trails and still needs to check some trail sections for safety reasons for hikers, he said.

“We are still watching chicks,” he added. “They are getting to be pretty good fliers but they still have a ways to go. They still all come back to the cliff every night. They are dependent on it. They seem to still be pretty much in a group dynamic. They go off for a little bit, but an hour later they will be back perched within 20 to 50 feet from each other. That cliff is still important to them.”

peregrine falcon

Peregrine falcon on the cliffs of Champlain Mountain this spring, with the Precipice Trail in Acadia National Park closed until early August. (NPS photo from Acadia National Park Facebook page)

He said the number of fledged chicks is around average for the park.

“It is right in the middle,” he said. “It’s pretty much what we should hope for and expect.”

Unlike last year, Connery said, no peregrine falcon chicks were likely born this year on Ironbound Island, which is located in the park’s legislative area and is protected with a park conservation easement.

“It’s hard to say,” he said. “Some people said they saw them but we never saw them. We were only out four times. If you pick the wrong day, you could be off. I don’t know. It seems odd we would not have seen them if they had chicks but it is possible.”

Also, there were no peregrine falcon chicks on the Beech Cliffs above Echo Lake, a fifth location where falcons have nested in the past.

According to Erickson Smith, biological science technician at the park, there were 9 peregrine falcon chicks hatched at Acadia in 2014 including 1 chick at Jordan Cliffs, 2 at Ironbound Island, 4 at the Precipice and 2 at Valley Cove.
Continue reading

Planning a visit to Acadia in August? Ask Acadia on My Mind!

Bubble Rock in Acadia National Park helped prove the Ice Age

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 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

Cobblestone Bridge in Acadia National Park

The Cobblestone Bridge in Acadia National Park is a scenic spot.

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. Continue reading

Is Otter Creek a good place to stay? Ask Acadia on My Mind!

Bubble Rock in Acadia National Park helped prove the Ice Age

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 a 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.

We will be visiting Acadia for the very first time in August and would like to use the car as little as possible. The kids would prefer to stay within walking distance to the trails and park. While we don’t want to be too far from town, I don’t want to sacrifice privacy. We were thinking of renting a home in Otter Creek. Would this be the best area to satisfy walking distance to hiking trails and access to town via Explorer? Would appreciate any insight you can provide. Thank you. – Evelyn Sullivan

Dear Evelyn,

Thanks for your question! Otter Creek is definitely off the beaten path and seemingly a world away, even though it’s only 5 miles south of Bar Harbor on Maine Route 3 and within walking distance of the newest Acadia National Park trails.

That’s great that the kids want to walk to the park, and that the family wants to use the car as little as possible. Otter Creek offers that, although visitors to Acadia National Park who want tons of restaurants and retail shops at their doorstep would be disappointed.

What the village doesn’t offer by way of hubbub, however, it more than makes up for with privacy, history and character. You sound like atypical visitors, perhaps even pioneering and adventuresome; the fierce independence of Otter Creek and its residents may suit you.

For these reasons, it seems Otter Creek would meet your needs, of easy walking distance to the park, and as car-free an Acadia experience as you would like:

otter creek

Local resident Karen O. Zimmerman’s map of Otter Creek and historic sites is available for purchase on her blog, or at Sherman’s bookstore in Bar Harbor. (Image courtesy of Karen O. Zimmerman)

  • An old village connector trail at the end of Walls Street in Otter Creek takes you less than half a mile to Acadia’s newest trails, the Quarry and Otter Cove Trails, providing access to Gorham Mountain, Ocean Path, Blackwoods Campground and beyond. This historic trail continues to be used by residents to access the waterfront, and park officials last year asked for public input on their plans to upgrade this and another village trail.
  • The Island Explorer’s Sand Beach / Blackwoods Campground route (Bus 3) runs past Otter Creek about every half hour to an hour in season, from late June through Columbus Day. Although the Island Explorer schedule doesn’t specifically list an Otter Creek stop, there is one on the east side of Maine Route 3 near Walls Street.
  • You can fashion as ambitious a one-way hike – say to the Beehive, one of the park’s premier cliff climbs – or as leisurely a stroll – say along the easy Ocean Path to Thunder Hole – as you would like. Then hop on the Island Explorer’s Sand Beach / Blackwoods Campground bus for the return to Otter Creek. Or you can do a long loop or out-and-back trek, even as far as Cadillac and back. The possibilities are endless.

Continue reading

Top 5 things to see and do for long-time visitors to Acadia

UPDATED 9/8/15: New information about Beech Mountain fire tower and Bass Head Harbor Light open houses, see #5 below.

Even if you’ve visited Acadia National Park many a time, there are still plenty of things to discover and experience in the Northeast’s only national park, so that even long-time visitors can feel like a newbie again.

jordan pond house

As we guest blogged for L.L. Bean, having lunch or afternoon tea at the Jordan Pond House is one of the Top 5 things to see or do for first-time visitors to Acadia National Park. Photo by our niece Sharon, with our other niece Michelle seated on the left, and one half of Acadia on My Mind seated on the right.

Here are some off-the-beaten-track things to see and do if you’re a veteran Acadia fan, whether you’re into bagging peaks, taking easy low-tide strolls or leisurely biking the carriage roads.

This “Top 5” is a nice complement to the recent guest blog post we did for L.L. Bean, “The Top 5 things to see and do for first-time visitors to Acadia National Park.” In fact, we like the idea of “Top 5” so much, we’ll be adding a page to link the various “Top 5” posts together, whether it’s “Top 5 hikes for dogs” or some other theme. What “Top 5” would you like to see? Let us know!

Continue reading

First-time visitor to Acadia? Ask Acadia on My Mind!

Bubble Rock in Acadia National Park helped prove the Ice Age
Ask Acadia on My Mind!

With this blog post, we’re launching a new feature answering questions, whether from a first-time visitor to Acadia National Park or a seasoned veteran. If you have a question about Acadia on your mind, 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. Thanks to Ryan for reaching out to us with this first question, about park campgrounds, for “Ask Acadia on My Mind!” Whether you’re a first-timer or a regular visitor, feel free to ask us a question about our favorite national park! See our new page linking in one place all the Q&As in this series.

Hello, I am planning a 3-day visit and either staying at Blackwoods or Seawall campgrounds. I am mostly a backwoods primitive tent camper and never gone RV camping so the campground thing and Acadia [are] foreign to me. Seawall looks nice and secluded but is nowhere near some of the attractions….. I guess my question revolves about getting around once I am there. Once in the park to reach the trailheads I am guessing I will have to drive and park at these. Coming from Seawall it seems like a good distance for some of the trails. Would parking be a problem at the various trailheads? Is it easy to go from one of these campgrounds to Bar Harbor or another of those small towns to grab something to eat and come back? Do I have to reenter the park? And if so, do you have to wait in line to reenter? I read that you need to purchase a 7-day park entrance pass. Where do you purchase that? Even if I make reservations to the campground, should I still be trying to arrive very early to enter the park?

Dear Ryan,

Thanks for being the reason we launched this new “Ask Acadia on My Mind” feature!

Blackwoods campground

Blackwoods has 275 tent and RV sites (NPS photo)

Most of our camping has been backwoods tenting as well, but because Acadia doesn’t allow backpacking, public or private campgrounds are the only way to go for tenting out.

If this is your first-time visit to Acadia and you want to hike the best-known trails on Mount Desert Island, the closest park campground would be Blackwoods. Even though it is not as secluded as Seawall, and the sites aren’t as spread out as in the drive-up Loop B section of Seawall you’ve been looking at, there are some advantages to Blackwoods, especially if you’ve only got 3 days and don’t want to do a lot of driving around. Continue reading

New edition of Best Easy Day Hikes, Acadia National Park

UPDATE 4/3/15: Just learned of a way you can get a copy of “Best Easy Day Hikes, Acadia National Park” for free – by joining the American Hiking Society​ at the family level. FalconGuides, publisher of the guide, is one of AHS’s partners in its Families on Foot initiative, to encourage families, particularly those with kids, to hike.

Officially published today, April 1, and Amazon.com is already selling our new third edition fast! Only 15 copies of “Best Easy Day Hikes, Acadia National Park” in stock as of this morning, and more will be on the way.

(See sidebar for note about Amazon.com links in this blog. The book is also available for purchase online at www.barnesandnoble.com and elsewhere. And it should also be available in Bar Harbor at Sherman’s Bookstore and at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center when it opens up for the season.)

Continue reading

Hope springs eternal for springtime in Acadia National Park

UPDATE 3/20/18: Visitor center hours and seasonal opening dates updated throughout.

Deep snow may still cover parts of Acadia National Park, but surely it can’t be long before birdsong fills the air, flowers and trees bud and the park rouses from its wintry slumber.

Jesup Path in acadia national park

Apple blossoms frame a view of Champlain Mountain along Jesup Path in springtime.

Acadia in springtime is an uncrowded paradise, perfect for hikers, birders, plant aficionados, bicyclists, runners, photographers, or anyone who enjoys the outdoors and magnificent scenery without the summer and fall foliage season throngs.

Maybe you can’t get into the water at Sand Beach – but who can even in summer? – or dine alfresco in Bar Harbor or at the Jordan Pond House. Maybe you can’t hop on the Island Explorer bus shuttle over to Northeast Harbor and anywhere else on Mount Desert Island, or around Schoodic Peninsula. And maybe you can’t take the Isle au Haut mail boat directly to Duck Harbor.

Sand Beach in Acadia National Park in spring

Sand Beach in spring shows the effects of winter storms, with the rocks to eventually be covered by sand again. (NPS photo)

But what you get instead during this season of rebirth: Roads less traveled, so you can more safely run and bike around the Park Loop Road – and maybe even up the 3.5-mile Cadillac Summit Road if you’re in great shape; plenty of parking at trailheads or carriage road parking lots; and as much solitude and communing with nature as you would like, whether you hike, bike or run, or watch for flora and fauna.

Here’s a guide to springtime in Acadia, including basics about visiting the park and activities to explore, to help you plan your trip. Continue reading

2014 top 5 blog posts about Acadia National Park, 2015 ideas

Since we began this blog about Acadia National Park last year, we’ve seen the top 5 posts draw thousands of Facebook likes, had visitors from more than 80 countries, and started a series of historic hiking trail highlights leading up to the Acadia Centennial.

Atlantic puffins are listed as threatened in Maine

The 2014 annual report from the Audubon Society’s Project Puffin had some good news about the seabird’s breeding success last year. (US Fish and Wildlife Service photo)

We’ve written about puffins, peregrine falcons and wild turkeys, and how pet-friendly Acadia is. We had fun carving Acadia-o-lanterns and sharing a Smokey Bear pumpkin carving pattern for Halloween. And we learned some of the stories to be told about Otter Creek and Isle au Haut, and the connection between a young Theodore Roosevelt and the trails of Mount Desert Island.

Who knew there could be so much to discover and write about Acadia National Park, even after all the times we’ve visited, miles we’ve hiked and guides we’ve written?

For 2015, we plan on adding more hike descriptions, news and features. And we may expand the blog to offer reviews or listings of products, services, restaurants and lodging that may be of interest to visitors to Acadia, Bar Harbor and surrounding communities.

Let us know if there are topics you would like us to cover, through either a comment at the bottom of this post, or in a private message in the contact form in the About us page.

Subscribe to blog to enter giveaway of autographed hiking books

Best Easy Day Hikes Acadia cover

Subscribe to blog to be eligible for free copy

To mark Acadia on My Mind’s first year, and as a thank you to subscribers to this blog, we’re giving away some autographed copies of the 2nd edition of our “Best Easy Day Hikes, Acadia National Park.” (The 3rd edition is coming out in April, but the only difference is the addition of a couple of new hikes and updated descriptions.)

If you’re already a subscriber, you’re automatically entered into the giveaway. New subscribers have until Feb. 28 to sign up (enter email address at top of sidebar). Followers of our Facebook page or followers of the blog through WordPress, bloglovin’ or any other source can also enter into the giveaway by subscribing directly to the blog by Feb. 28. Winners will be notified by email. Continue reading

New Year’s resolutions with an Acadia National Park twist

So you didn’t hike up Cadillac Mountain to catch the first US sunrise of 2015? Don’t worry, there are plenty of other New Year’s resolutions with an Acadia National Park angle, and many more days left in the year to accomplish them.

Cadillac Mountain double rainbow

If getting fit is one of your New Year’s resolutions, consider hiking up Cadillac Mountain rather than driving up it. You may see a double rainbow, even if you didn’t catch the first US sunrise of 2015.

Whether you resolve to get fit, give back, spend quality time with family, or cross something off your bucket list, we’ve rounded up some Acadia themes to motivate you for the New Year.

Get fit

Hike Acadia’s trails or peaks – Maybe you’re not as obsessed as Darron Collins, president of the College of the Atlantic, who recently tweeted a graphic showing he’d hiked Acadia’s peaks a total of 250 times, covering 1,000 miles, as part of his 2014 New Year’s resolutions. The tweet was then shared by Chimani, the hiking app, on its Facebook page.

Acadia National Park collectible patch

If you want to mark your peakbagging, consider this patch from the Hulls Cove Visitor Center bookstore. We’ll be adding this to our daypack, to go along with patches from climbing the 150+ highest Northeast peaks, from Washington to Katahdin, Marcy to Mansfield.

Or maybe you’re not as goal-oriented in your hiking as we are, having scaled not only all of Acadia’s summits, but also the Northeast’s highest mountains, with framed certificates on display and peakbagging patches on our daypack to mark the feats.

However you want to incorporate hiking into your 2015 fitness goals, or however you want to mark the accomplishment, there’s an Acadia theme to get you going.

Want to climb mountains? The park service used to have a prominent list of 26 peaks of Acadia on its Web site; we saw it most recently at the Cadillac summit gift shop and have memorialized it on a blog page, The 26 peaks of Acadia National Park. As a College of the Atlantic fundraiser in 2012, Collins and others hiked what they called 28 peaks in 24 hours.

Want to hike easy or moderate trails? Out of the more than 120 miles of hiking trails, there are plenty that fit that bill, as we document in our book, “Best Easy Day Hikes, Acadia National Park,” see link to it on Amazon.com in the sidebar. The more difficult trails, including cliff climbs, are in “Hiking Acadia National Park,” link also in the sidebar. Continue reading