Category Archives: Hiking

Hiking in Acadia National Park.

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 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 links in this blog. The book is also available for purchase online at 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.)

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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 in the sidebar. The more difficult trails, including cliff climbs, are in “Hiking Acadia National Park,” link also in the sidebar. Continue reading

Year in review: Top 10 Acadia National Park stories in 2014

From being named America’s favorite place to hosting US Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell, from setting record visitation numbers to launching Centennial celebration plans, Acadia National Park made news in 2014.

South Bubble Acadia National Park

Some of the visitors who contributed to a record-breaking October 2014 in Acadia National Park take in the great weather and views from South Bubble. (Photo courtesy of Greg Saulmon,

Here are the top 10 stories in Acadia on My Mind’s opinion:

1. Acadia No. 1 – Viewers of “Good Morning America” named Acadia as their favorite place in July, while USA Today readers voted Acadia as the top national park, ahead of Glacier and Yellowstone, earlier that same month.

2. Record-breaking October – With more than 313,000 visitors that month, Acadia recorded its highest ever October visitation. Park officials attributed the bump up to good weather, peak foliage, increasing cruise ship traffic and national media attention.

Island Explorer bus in Acadia National Park

Park fees help pay for the Island Explorer. (NPS photo)

3. Island Explorer sets records – For the first time, more than 500,000 passengers took the popular fare-free shuttle bus during a season, as we reported first in this blog on Oct. 29. The bus system marked another milestone on June 30, when it carried its 5 millionth passenger, an Otter Creek high school student commuting to her summer job in Bar Harbor. Continue reading

Dogs have best friend in Acadia National Park

When Nicole Ramos hikes in Acadia National Park, she is elated she can bring Lucy, her Jack Russell Terrier.

Nicole Ramos likes to hike in Acadia with her Jack Russell Terrier

Nicole Ramos hikes in Acadia National Park with Lucy, her Jack Russell Terrier.

Otherwise, she is unsure of what she would do. “I’d probably be disappointed and maybe have to go somewhere else,” said Ramos, 35, of Camden, Me., while starting a hike with Lucy along the Asticou & Jordan Pond Path in Acadia.

Of the 59 national parks, Acadia is in the minority in keeping dogs and owners together on hiking trails. In fact, Acadia is among only a few national parks – Shenandoah in Virginia is another – that allow dogs and other pets on trails, as long as they are leashed, according to the National Park Service. My friend recently took their Goldendoodle out for a walk around some national parks. She met with some other Goldendoodle owners and she asked Are Goldendoodles Hypoallergenic?
When they plan a trip to Acadia, dog owners are generally happy to discover that they don’t need to leave their pets at home or place them in a kennel if they want to hike. So if you’ve got a suitable vehicle for your pooch, like the ones on All Car Leasing, you’re all set for a great day out! If your dog isn’t overly keen on long car rides to get to these hiking destinations, you can try and ease their stress by placing them inside one of these travel crates to allow them to sit closer to you, reducing their distress. With happy passengers, the day can start positively!

Todd Long and his two dogs in Acadia National Park.

Todd Long is shown walking on Cadillac Mountain with his two Jack Russell Terriers, Chelsea and Daisy. Long and his dogs visited Acadia National Park for the first time.

“I couldn’t put them in a kennel,” said Todd Long, a water well service contractor from Brevard, N.C., who was walking on the Cadillac Summit Loop Trail with Chelsea and Daisy, his two Jack Russell Terriers, during his first-ever visit to Acadia.

“They are too spoiled. They are used to being with me,” said Long. It turns out they were very spoiled, as his dogs eat oranges! A weird little treat, but apparently if you remove the rind and seeds it’s perfectly safe!

(See Acadia on My Mind’s new page for Top 5 hikes for dogs)

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Acadia National Park eyes Sept. 5 deadline for Isle au Haut comments

Time is running out if you want to have a say on the future management of Isle au Haut, a spectacular part of Acadia National Park.

Goat Trail on Isle au Haut in Acadia National Park

The contrasts are dramatic along the Goat Trail on Isle au Haut.

The National Park Service has set a Sept. 5 deadline for people to comment on a draft “Visitor Use Management Plan” for park-owned land on Isle au Haut, a 6,500-acre island off the coast of Stonington. Comments can be made over the Internet on the site established by the park service.

In the draft, the park service proposes to keep intact a “non-promotion” policy for the roughly half of the island it owns and administers on Isle au Haut. According to the longstanding policy, which is aimed at helping protect the fragile island from heavy use, visitors to the mainland sections of Acadia National Park generally will receive no information about Isle au Haut unless they ask for it. Continue reading

5 tips to avoid crowds on Labor Day weekend in Acadia National Park

Labor Day weekend is sure to bring out the masses to Acadia National Park, especially since it was named the No. 1 destination this summer by both readers of USA Today and viewers of Good Morning America.

Ocean Path in Acadia National Park

Late-summer goldenrod contrasts with the pink granite along Ocean Path in Acadia National Park.

Here are 5 tips to avoid what can be a maddening crowd:

1) Buy your Acadia National Park pass either early or late at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center (open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. through August 31, and 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in September) or the Bar Harbor Village Green Information Center (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Columbus Day). Better yet, buy your Acadia National Park pass at one of a dozen other places, as listed on the Acadia Web site:

Blackwoods Campground
Sand Beach Entrance Station
Seawall Campground
Thompson Island Information Center
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Retrace George Dorr’s footsteps on the Beachcroft Path in Acadia National Park

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

Walk along the intricately laid stepping stones of Beachcroft Path, and you will find yourself walking in the footsteps of George Dorr, the “father of Acadia National Park.”

George B. Dorr is father of Acadia National Park

George B. Dorr on Beachcroft Path in Acadia National Park. National Park Service photo.

First built in the late 1800s by Dorr and the Bar Harbor Village Improvement Association, Beachcroft Path originally began at the garden-like setting of Sieur de Monts.

Construction of Maine Route 3 severed that connection, with the Beachcroft Path trailhead now across from the Tarn parking area, on the east side of Route 3.

But a garden-like series of stepping stones still brings hikers up gradually around dome-shaped Huguenot Head, as it did in the days of Dorr.

Named after the estate of the Bar Harbor summer resident who funded construction, Beachcroft Path offers views north toward Frenchman Bay, west toward Dorr Mountain, south toward the Cranberry Isles, east toward Champlain Mountain, and down to the Tarn.

Hikers today can envision how the path might have been one of Dorr’s favorites. There is an iconic photo of him in front of a distinctive large granite boulder, one foot on a smaller rock, and the stepping stones stretching behind and in front of him. Continue reading

Peregrine falcons cap great year at Acadia National Park

A biologist with Acadia National Park said it was “a great year” for nesting peregrine falcons at the park.

peregrine falcon chick

Park wildlife biologist, Bruce Connery, holds a peregrine chick that has just been lowered from its scrape, or nest, for banding. Acadia National Park photo and caption.

Bruce Connery said peregrine falcons raised chicks that fledged at four sites including Jordan Cliffs, the precipice on the east face of Champlain Mountain, Valley Cove cliffs above Somes Sound and privately-owned Ironbound Island in Frenchman Bay, an island where the park holds a conservation easement.

“It’s great to have that kind of recruitment into the overall Maine population,” Connery said. “We had a great year. We have to be thankful for that.”

Connery attributed the success to a spring with low amounts of rain or snow. Damp or wet springs can be a problem for the eggs of birds that nest early including falcons and eagles, he said.

It might be the first time that particular combination of four sites was home to peregrine fledglings, he added.

“It seems to vary year by year,” he said. Continue reading

Acadia National Park proposes to keep Isle au Haut primitive

UPDATED 12/13/14: Final management plan released, see link at bottom of story.

Acadia National Park in July released a 30-page draft report that shows the reasons Isle au Haut is such a special place and spells out efforts to keep it that way.

The National Park Service’s draft “Visitor Use Management Plan” for Isle au Haut recommends only a minor increase in the longtime daily cap on the number of visitors to the island, the first such increase in more than 30 years.

Eben's Head is a spectacular rocky promontory on Isle au Haut

Eben’s Head, a rocky promontory, can easily be climbed and is great for watching a sunset on Isle au Haut.

The draft, which will be discussed at an Aug. 5 public hearing, includes a plethora of other important, but so far little-noticed, points:

— Shush! Stay quiet about this island 6,500-acre paradise, half of which is owned and managed by the park service. In order to protect the island from too much use, the draft says the park service will continue a so-called “non-promotion” policy for Isle au Haut. Tourists on Mount Desert Island and the Schoodic Peninsula, the two other sections of the Maine national park, generally will not get information about Isle au Haut unless they ask. Continue reading

Bubble Rock in Acadia National Park a popular destination

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

Dating back to the late 1800s, the trail to South Bubble and its precariously perched 100-ton Bubble Rock has lured scientists, artists, outdoor enthusiasts and first-time visitors for generations, long before the area was protected as Acadia National Park.

Bubble Rock in Acadia National Park helped prove the Ice Age

100-ton Bubble Rock in Acadia National Park moved about 20 miles by glaciers.

Eons of geological forces are laid bare there if you know what clues to look for, as a ranger-led “Mountain Mysteries” program reveals during the summer months.

In fact, Bubble Rock was one of those clues that led 19th century scientist Louis Agassiz to theorize that massive glaciers once covered the earth and pushed big boulders around, not floods of biblical proportions as had been previously thought.

The moderate 1-mile round-trip hike starts from the Bubble Rock parking area and Island Explorer bus stop and takes you first along the Bubbles Divide Trail, the historic route that goes between the South Bubble and North Bubble, then up the lower of the twin mountains. Continue reading

Artist in Residence offers lesson in Acadia National Park

Update on Wednesday, July 23:

Robert Dorlac has posted some watercolor paintings of Acadia National Park that he completed while in residence at the park.

Over the next year or two, Dorlac will add studio-made monotypes and oil paintings.

Here is original story:

With watercolors in hand, Acadia National Park Artist in Residence Robert Dorlac walks the dramatic coast looking for the right light.

Artist Robert Dorlac at Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park Artist in Residence Robert Dorlac with some of his watercolors in progress.

“I’m trying to make as honest a response to the place as I’ve experienced,” said Dorlac, 60, professor of art at Southwest Minnesota State University, in Marshall, Minn., during an interview along the shore of Schoodic Peninsula, the base for the residency program and the only section of Acadia on the mainland.

Dorlac’s two-week stay at Acadia continues a long tradition of artists responding to nature and sharing their experiences with the public. Landscape painters Thomas Cole and Frederic Church helped make Mount Desert Island famous in the mid 19th century, while writer John Muir and photographer Ansel Adams were important in revealing the beauty of the American West.

On Thursday, July 17, at 1 p.m., on Schoodic Peninsula, Dorlac is leading a two-hour sketching workshop with charcoal and colored pencil. The workshop is open and free to the public. Continue reading

Sargent Mountain in Acadia National Park gets new protection on peak

Sargent Mountain in Acadia National Park is benefiting from an important project aimed at protecting the fragile terrain on its peak.

Using rocks and stones mostly from a massive cairn on Sargent Mountain, workers are completing a new 50-foot causeway on the Sargent South Ridge Trail. The work is being done to encourage hikers to stay on the trail instead of venturing to the subalpine zone around the mountaintop.

Members of Youth Conservation Corps swing sledge hammers to bust rocks as part of project on Sargent Mountain

From left to right, Liam Hassett, 16, of Cleveland, Ransom Burgess, 18, of Bar Harbor and Billy Brophy, 15, of Hyattsville, Maryland swing sledgehammers to bust stones into tiny pieces for creating a new 50-foot-long causeway atop Sargent Mountain in Acadia National Park. The three are members of the Acadia Youth Conservation Corps.

The new causeway is being constructed with two layers – rocks and stones on the bottom and gravel stones on top, along with a stone border on each side. The work is shoring up a section of the trail that was deeply eroded, said Acadia Trails Foreman Gary Stellpflug on the peak on Tuesday.

“It’s really a good project,” Stellpflug said while he and other workers moved dozens of stones and rocks into the new trail section. Continue reading

Special ways to celebrate July 4 in Acadia National Park

Rather than fight the crowds in Bar Harbor for the fireworks, why not try watching from atop Cadillac? How about having a cookout at one of the six picnic areas in Acadia National Park? Or, for a patriotic tour, why not retrace the historic visit by President Barack Obama and his family in July 2010?

President Barack Obama hikes Acadia National Park

President Barack Obama and family hiked the Cadillac Summit Loop on their July 2010 visit to Acadia National Park (White House photo)

There may be no better way to celebrate Independence Day than at one of America’s best ideas, the National Parks. For new and repeat visitors to Acadia, there are plenty of tried-and-true or off-the-beaten-path methods to mark the founding of our country.

Among the July 4 weekend activities, from the Acadia National Park calendar: Take a cruise to Baker Island or Islesford, walk along Cadillac Summit Loop, learn about park founder George B. Dorr at the “Missing Mansion” tour, or introduce the youngsters in your lives to the wonders of nature through a tidepool visit. Continue reading