Category Archives: Hiking

Hiking in Acadia National Park.

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!

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)

Continue reading

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
Continue reading

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

School spirit and the Orange and Black Path in Acadia National Park

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

When Princeton professor Rudolph E. Brunnow designed this intricate path up the east face of Champlain in the early 1900s, he was apparently as passionate about the trail as his university, since he named it after his school’s colors.

Orange & Black Path in Acadia National Park

A hiker ascends the Orange and Black Path in Acadia National Park.

In honor of Brunnow and today’s trail crew, why not share a photo of yourself on the Orange and Black Path with a caption of your school colors on our Facebook page? Thanks to our friend Maureen, a Georgetown alum who took a picture of a couple of “blue and grays” on the Orange and Black, for inspiring this idea.

Our favorite part of the path is the recently reopened historic section leading from Schooner Head Road, up to a terraced area where you can sit on granite slabs to rest, take in the views or strike up a conversation. That’s about 0.5 mile one-way.

If the rest of the path to the Precipice Trail is closed for peregrine falcon nesting season (mid-May through mid-August), you can take a spur to the Champlain North Ridge Trail instead. Get spectacular views of Frenchman Bay from the 1,058-foot summit of Champlain. Continue reading

Compass Harbor Trail leads to missing mansion at Acadia National Park

It’s easy to sense the spirit of park visonary George B. Dorr at the Compass Harbor Trail at Acadia National Park.

Visitors can climb the granite stairs to the ruins of Dorr’s old estate – called Old Farm – and wade into the same deep inlet where Dorr took his regular swims. Continue reading

Acadia National Park boosted by trail workers

Acadia National Park is benefiting from the most trail workers this summer than at any time in the past 80 years at the Maine park.

Largely because of a federal grant, the park has hired 51 people to work on the trails, including 35 federal workers and 16 from the Youth Conservation Corps, according to Acadia Trails Foreman Gary Stellpflug, who did all the hiring.

Memorial path on Gorge Path in Acadia National Park

Gary Stellpflug, trails foreman at Acadia National Park, has refurbished this memorial plaque on Gorge Path for Lilian Endicott Francklyn. Separately, a federal grant will also help finance improvements to stone steps on the path.

Stellpflug said it’s the largest crew since the Civilian Conservation Corps established two camps on Mount Desert Island in 1933 as part of the New Deal during the Great Depression. Continue reading

Lady’s slippers are blooming pink and white again in Acadia National Park

It is a little later than usual this year, but lady’s slippers are back in bloom at Acadia National Park.

Lady's slippers in Acadia National Park

Lady’s slippers are showing their pink and white colors in June in Acadia National Park.

Our friend Maureen took the above photo of the orchids on Monday during a hike in the park. The photo shows a large colony of pink and white lady’s slippers growing in the shade of a boulder and pine in a hidden spot in Acadia. Continue reading