Tag Archives: cadillac mountain

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

If you’re first-time visitors to Acadia National Park this Centennial year, you’ll soon see why generations of families, artists, millionaires and even presidents have been lured by the magnificent scenery.

Centennial logo for Acadia National Park

The official Acadia Centennial logo

The first national park east of the Mississippi, and still the Northeast’s only such park, Acadia boasts about 155 miles of hiking trails, from easy ocean walks to strenuous cliff climbs; 45 miles of carriage roads for biking, walking and riding in a horse-drawn carriage; scenic Park Loop Roads; a lighthouse; and the amazing contrast of deep blue sea and pink granite shores.

There’s plenty to see and do for first-time visitors to Acadia, especially during 2016, the 100th anniversary of the park and also of the National Park Service. But there will also be plenty of company too, with the Centennial expected to draw even more visitors than the 2.8 million who came to the park last year.

Here are the top 5 things to see and do for first-time visitors to Acadia National Park, as well as some insider tips on avoiding the crowds during the busy summer and fall foliage seasons. And be sure to check out our 5 tips to beat the crowds while visiting Acadia National Park, and the park’s official Web site to help you plan your trip:

Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park

Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park

1. Soak in the panoramic view on Cadillac Mountain

The highest peak in Acadia, and the first place to see the sun rise in the United States during certain times of the year, Cadillac is a must-see stop. From here, you can see all of Frenchman Bay, the distinctive Porcupine Islands and down to Bar Harbor. Continue reading

Dogs in Acadia get national park’s conditional love

When Maria Yoder traveled to some national parks in the West last year, she said she left behind her dog, Rory, because the parks ban pets from the trails.

hiking with dogs in Acadia

Maria Yoder with her dog, Rory, along the Compass Harbor Trail at Acadia National Park

As a dog owner, Yoder, a Bar Harbor resident, said she is pleased that she lives near Acadia National Park. The park is unusual among national parks in keeping dogs and owners united on the hiking trails and offering some great hiking for dogs.

“It’s a great place for people to come with their dogs,” Yoder said recently, while walking with her Shiba Inu on the Compass Harbor Trail in Acadia. “I really like it.”

In fact, of the 59 national parks, Acadia is among only a few – 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. Make sure your dog is on a long, sturdy lead though, since this will help when your dog is pulling.

Yoder, manager at Bar Harbor’s Made in the USA shop, said she became aware that Acadia is pet friendly when she researched her trip to the West and discovered that pets are banned from the trails in national parks such as Joshua Tree in California and Arches in Utah. Dogs are severely restricted in others such as Zion in Utah, which allows pets on only 1.5-mile trail and Yosemite, only a 2-mile paved trail.

dogs in acadia

People love petting Rory, with good reason.

Yoder keeps Rory on a leash and hikes trails such as Ocean Path, Gorham Mountain, Champlain Mountain and Great Head Trail.

“She is very popular,” she said. “People are always petting her.”

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. Continue reading

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

Traffic and crowds in Acadia prompt public hearings

UPDATE 8/29/2015: Deadline for public comment now September 30. See link below to make online comment or find address to mail in comments.

UPDATE 7/31/15: Park extends public comment period to September 16. See link below to make online comment or find address to mail in comments.

If you’ve ever been stuck in a traffic jam atop Cadillac Mountain or found mobs of other hikers on the trails of Acadia National Park, the park wants to hear from you.

crowds in acadia

Crowds in Acadia can make for an unpleasant experience as seen here on the Park Loop Road and Ocean Path. (NPS photo)

In a major planning process that could help shape transportation and public access to the park for years to come, officials are holding two hearings this week to document concerns and get ideas, one at Mount Desert Island High School in Bar Harbor on July 29, and one at Peninsula School in Prospect Harbor on July 30, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

“We are looking for public comments – both positive and negative – about how people visit the park and use the roads and trails and the carriage roads. Those are all transportation networks and they are all interlinked. We want you to tell us about your experiences, the good and the bad, and even to the point of what you think we should do about it,” said Charlie Jacobi, resource specialist for Acadia National Park, in an interview with Acadia on My Mind.

And if you can’t make either hearing, the park is taking online and written comments about transportation problems and crowds in Acadia through Sept.30.

With approximately 2.4 million visitors a year coming to a relatively small park, a 350% increase in cruise ship passenger visitation to the park since 2000, and the limits of the current parking and transportation infrastructure, the park is at a planning crossroads for dealing with crowds in Acadia. Continue reading

Flight of the Snowy Owl over Acadia National Park

UPDATE 1/24/2016: See updated Snowy Owl information for 2015-2016 on our Bangor Daily News blog.

UPDATE 2/16/15: Total of 17 Snowy Owl sightings in Acadia National Park have been reported to eBird.org as of 2/8/15, up from the 10 as originally reported in this blog last month, the most ever reported in one season. See updated numbers below.

UPDATE 1/31/15: Want to help fund a better understanding of the enigmatic Snowy Owl, and get some Snowy Owl memorabilia to boot? Consider a tax-deductible donation through an Indiegogo campaign by Project SNOWstorm, going on through end of March. See some amazing video of Snowy Owls in motion while checking out the fundraising page.

This time of year on the wintry mountaintops of Acadia National Park, the serious birders come to scan the landscape for the Snowy Owl, normally a raptor of the Arctic tundra.

snowy owls in acadia national park

Michael J. Good calls this his favorite photo of a Snowy Owl he saw on Sargent Mountain in December. (Photo courtesy Michael J. Good and Down East Nature Tours)

They may sit and observe a Snowy Owl for more than an hour at a time, as Michael J. Good did, watching the same owl on different days in November, on Cadillac and Sargent Mountains. “There is nothing quite like spending time with this charismatic bird from the North,” Good wrote, in sharing a favorite Snowy Owl photo with us.

Or they may post photos from their field trips on Facebook, as Rich MacDonald did, not only of the two Snowy Owls he saw the same day in December on Sargent, but also of owl pellet degrading after the rains from a day earlier. “Snowy Owls are back!” his Facebook page proclaims.

snowy owls in acadia national park

This was one of two Snowy Owls that Rich MacDonald spotted the same day on Sargent Mountain. (Photo courtesy of Rich MacDonald and The Natural History Center)

MacDonald, a naturalist and field biologist, is co-owner of The Natural History Center with his wife Natalie, while Good, a Registered Maine Guide, is owner of Down East Nature Tours. Both Bar Harbor businesses lead tours year-round in Acadia, and around the globe.

Acadia National Park – well-known for peregrine falcons, the annual HawkWatch and the Acadia Birding Festival – may also rightly lay claim to being a spectacular place to catch the flight of the Snowy Owl.

Even before the 2013-2014 headlines about the sudden upsurge of Snowy Owls migrating to the US – known as an irruption – Acadia has been an occasional winter home for Snowies. Continue reading

Acadia National Park visitors most in nearly 20 years

Acadia National Park is on pace to attract the most visitors in about 20 years, new federal statistics indicate.

According to new statistics from the National Park Service, total visitors to the Maine national park jumped by 4.3 percent through September to 2.202 million, the largest percentage increase since the end of the recession in 2010, possibly partly because of an improving economy, good weather and a burst of positive national publicity.

Bass Harbor Lighthouse in Acadia National Park

Moon rises near Bass Harbor Lighthouse. (Photo by Greg Saulmon)

“The stellar weather this year definitely had a hand in the high visitation,” Stuart West, chief ranger, said in an e-mail. “Since the bulk of our visitors are within a day’s travel, the park’s visitation is usually reflective of the weather.”

People who arrive on cruise ships also played a role in the increase, West said.

Acadia National Park visitors are on track to total around 2.7 million visitors this calendar year, the most in nearly 20 years, judging by the number of visitors for the last three months in some prior years, according to the federal statistics .

“Cruise ships, weather, media attention, better economy,” said Charlie Jacobi, natural resource specialist for Acadia National Park, listing the reasons for the jump in visitors.

Camping this summer at Acadia National Park also increased substantially.

Visitors to Mount Desert Island – the location for most of the park – increased by 5.3 percent through September, according to statistics provided by the National Park Service.

A total of 2.202 million people visited  through September to all parts of the park, up from 2.111 million in 2013.

There were 1.978 million visitors to Mount Desert Island, an increase from 1.878 million in 2013. Continue reading

Hawk Watch inspires, changes lives at Acadia National Park

From high atop Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, volunteers and scientists are marking a big milestone this year at perhaps one of the best spots to watch migrating hawks, falcons and other raptors in North America.

The annual Hawk Watch program on the mountain peak is marking 20 years of operation at the Maine national park.

Angi King Johnston, science associate at the Schoodic Institute, leads hawk watch at Acadia National Park

Angi King-Johnston, science associate at the Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park, peers through binoculars over Frenchman Bay during Hawk Watch on Cadillac Mountain.

Located off the Cadillac North Ridge Trail close to the 1,530-foot summit, the viewing area is free to everyone and open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day, weather permitting, until Oct. 31.

As the raptors soar over Frenchman Bay, amateur bird watchers or just regular people help spot the birds and specialists identify or confirm the species.

Angi King-Johnston, science associate at the Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park and count compiler for the program, said Hawk Watch shows the beauty of citizens taking part in a science project.

“It’s the brilliance of Hawk Watch,” she said, standing over Frenchman Bay one day at the end of September. “I could not do my job without all the extra help.”

Hawk Watch recently became a collaborative effort between the park’s interpretive division and the institute’s bird ecology program. 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