Tag Archives: hiking-acadia-national-park

Camping in Acadia National Park? Ask Acadia on My Mind!

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) Appreciate your time to help us out. We will be first timers to Acadia. We’re going the end of July for 4 days and have made tent reservations at Blackwoods Campground. It will be just my wife and I. We are 50 and in pretty good health for hiking/biking. We usually camp in a pop up but are tenting to save on travel and cost and for the convenience of not trailering. A few questions:
– Does it get cold for tent camping in July?
– We like to bike – is biking a good option to get around and see the sites?
– Is swimming an option nearby to Blackwoods?
– Can you recommend a good place to have lobster?
– Given we’re only there 4 nights, what would be the top 3 destinations we should hike or ride to?
Thanks so much for your help. – Steve and Janet

2) Hi, we were just wondering if it is possible to stay on a non-electric RV site in a tent only? Thanks! – Anna

3) We (family of 5) are thinking about visiting Acadia next week before the Island Explorer shuttle is running, but we are traveling in an RV. How difficult is it to maneuver through the park in an RV, or is there a place to park it and ride bikes in order to see the park? Can you bike to Bar Harbor easily? – Jaymi

Dear Steve and Janet, Anna, and Jaymi,

Of your 3 camping in Acadia National Park questions, we have to say Anna’s is the most unusual. Why would you want to tent out on a non-electric RV site? The only reason we could think of: Is it because all the tent-only sites for the dates you’re looking for are booked?

camping in acadia national park

Blackwoods features 214 tent sites and 61 RV sites. (NPS photo)

In any event, Anna, we called Blackwoods Campground, where there are 61 non-electric RV sites, to ask that very question. As long as you set up the tent on the RV pad, you can, indeed, stay on a non-electric RV site, according to the park ranger. Policies may vary by campground, so you might want to check the campground you’re planning on staying at.

The Blackwoods direct line is (207) 288-3274; Seawall, (207) 244-3600; and Schoodic Woods, (207) 288-1300, according to the official campground reservation Web site, www.recreation,gov.

But as you may know, you cannot make tenting or RV reservations by calling the park campgrounds directly. For that, you must go to www.recreation.gov, or call the National Recreation Reservation Service at (877) 444-6777. You can also find out more details about camping in Acadia National Park through the park’s Web site. Continue reading

Following in the footsteps of George Dorr, “father of Acadia”

From the top of Cadillac to the garden-like paths around Sieur de Monts, from the stacks at Jesup Memorial Library to the labs of 2 major research institutions on Mount Desert Island, the presence of George Dorr can be felt.

george dorr

Ronald H. Epp’s biography of George Dorr is published by the Friends of Acadia.

Not only was Dorr the “father of Acadia,” he had a hand in creating Bar Harbor’s public library, the Wild Gardens of Acadia and surrounding paths, MDI Biological and Jackson laboratories, and Abbe Museum. George Dorr even played a role in renaming some of the 26 peaks of Acadia, among them Green and Robinson to the now-iconic Cadillac and Acadia mountains.

These, and other fascinating aspects of the life and impact of Dorr, can be found in historian Ronald H. Epp’s new Dorr biography, “Creating Acadia National Park,” published by the Friends of Acadia on the occasion of the park’s Centennial.

The more than 2 million visitors a year who come from across the country and around the world to admire the beauty of Acadia National Park have George Dorr, in large part, to thank. Yet Dorr’s story and the role he played in shaping Acadia, conservation, Mount Desert Island and beyond, have been largely untold – until now.

“Dorr was not a major historical figure,” writes Epp in his introduction to the first-ever biography of Dorr. “Nor was he recognized as an administrator jockeying for ever-more important positions of responsibility. Unlike John Muir, his published writings did not transform national policy.”

George B. Dorr is father of Acadia National Park

George Dorr’s spirit lives on in this historic photo, which was once on display at the Sieur de Monts area of  Acadia National Park.

Yet, Epp writes, “this grand old man of the National Park Service on Mount Desert Island brought about a federal investment in the conservation of nearly half the landmass of the island. The resultant loss of property tax revenue was offset by the ever-growing number of visitors that clearly contributed to village prosperity. At the county level, Dorr extended the scope of Acadia National Park beyond Mount Desert Island, to other shorelines and islands within Hancock County.”

The legacy of the Boston Brahmin and lifelong bachelor, who used his energy, connections and family wealth to create Acadia, lives on not only along the trails he helped build, from Beachcroft Path to Kurt Diederich’s Climb, or atop the coastal peaks and ridgelines he helped preserve.

Dorr’s gift to the generations can also be felt in the region’s cultural and scientific institutions, and even offers a perspective on the current debate over the attempt by Burt’s Bees founder Roxanne Quimby and family, to donate private land for a national monument or park in Maine’s North Woods. Continue reading

acadia national park hiking

Acadia Triple Crown: Run, walk for park, a cause – and bling!

Call it the Acadia Triple Crown: Join the free year-long virtual Acadia Centennial Trek to celebrate the park, do a real-life race to raise funds or give back to community in other ways, and reward yourself with a special medal.

Acadia Centennial Trek medal

Show your support of Acadia with this officially licensed Acadia Centennial Trek Medal, available exclusively on Acadia on My Mind Shop.

Or maybe create your own family or friends Summer Olympics with an event or activity that everyone, from toddler to grandparent, can participate in, give to a cause, and make everyone a winner with an Acadia Centennial medal of their own.

The officially licensed medal, featuring the Acadia Centennial logo set in a bright silver wreath, is assembled and mostly made in the USA by Ashworth Awards, the same company that has made the medals for the Boston Marathon and the Mount Desert Island Marathon and Half Marathon. (The ribbon comes from overseas.)

We designed the medal as part of our sponsorship of the virtual 100-mile Acadia Centennial Trek, hosted on Racery.com, to celebrate the trails of Acadia, and help raise funds for the park. At least 5% of gross proceeds from the sale of the medal go to support the park. The medal just became available on the Acadia on My Mind Shop, and has been submitted to the official Acadia Centennial Web site’s merchandise section.

acadia virtual race

Hailing from all over the world, Acadia Centennial Trekkers are all over the 100-mile virtual map, starting at Cadillac and ending in Southwest Harbor at the finish line of the real-life Mount Desert Island Marathon. You have until Dec. 31 to join and finish the free race.

As an Acadia Centennial Partner, we wanted to broaden the meaning of community and deepen the appreciation of Acadia throughout the year. So instead of limiting the Acadia Centennial Trek Medal only to participants in the Trek, we came up with the idea of the Acadia Triple Crown and teaming up with other Centennial Partners and local groups. (In reality, you can purchase the medal simply to express your appreciation and support of the park without doing anything else – but it’s more fun to earn the medal as part of a real-life fitness challenge or community effort!)

Among the Acadia Centennial Partners and local groups we’re formally or informally teaming up with, and the possible ways you can earn an Acadia Triple Crown: Continue reading

Message in the rocks: Acadia’s Bates cairns get new focus

One in a series on Acadia’s Bates cairns

Long the target of vandals and errant hikers, the historic cairns of Acadia National Park are the focus of new efforts to recognize and preserve them.

A Bates-style cairn, located off the Champlain North Ridge Trail, overlooks tiny Egg Rock and the Schoodic Peninsula.

A Bates cairn, located on the Champlain North Ridge Trail, overlooks tiny Egg Rock and the Schoodic Peninsula.

Moira O’Neill of Surry and Ranger Judy Hazen Connery have worked together to design an “Anatomy of a Bates Cairn” T-shirt. O’Neill, a registered nurse and a volunteer who helps maintain the cairns, sells the T-shirts on Etsy  to help raise money for trail maintenance.

“If we educate people about the meaning or purpose of the Bates cairn … their attitude then will be to respect them and their purpose,” O’Neill said.

bates cairn

Isaac “Breaux” Higgins, center, explains the importance of protecting the Bates cairn at a recent community dinner at the Bar Harbor Congregational Church, as part of his project to become an Eagle Scout. Accompanying him are fellow Boy Scouts Liam Higgins, his brother, and Jack Beckerley. (Photo courtesy of Bar Harbor Troop 89)

As part of his project to become an Eagle Scout, Isaac “Breaux” Higgins, a senior at Mount Desert Island High School, is raising awareness by collecting signatures on a pledge to respect the cairns.

Higgins and other scouts are also selling the T-shirts for O’Neill’s fundraising for trail work.

The Bates-style cairns are special in the National Park Service and a key part of the history of the trails on Mount Desert Island. They are named for Waldron Bates, chair of the Bar Harbor Village Improvement Association Path Committee from 1900-1909, who first designed them. Continue reading

Acadia New Year’s resolutions with a Centennial twist

So you weren’t among the hardy souls who greeted the first sunrise of the Acadia Centennial year, either on top of Cadillac or along Otter Cliffs?

That’s OK, because there’s plenty of time to make your Acadia New Year’s resolutions, and to rededicate yourself to ones you’ve made before.

Here are some ideas, whether you want to give back, get more fit or otherwise make Acadia New Year’s resolutions worthy of marking the 100th anniversary of the park, and the National Park Service.

acadia sunrise

If you didn’t get up to Acadia to catch the first sunrise of 2016, don’t worry, Vincent Lawrence of Acadia Images Photography Workshops did. This dawn-of-the-Centennial photo was taken near Otter Cliffs, looking east. (Image courtesy of Acadia Images)

Continue reading

2016 Acadia Centennial makes for special holiday gift ideas

For the Acadia National Park fan on your list, or for a year-end charitable donation, the 2016 Acadia Centennial offers a once-in-a-century set of holiday gift ideas.

Acadia Centennial

This Acadia Centennial calendar, by ranger naturalist Bob Thayer, can be purchased directly through his photography Web site, at local businesses such as Sherman’s, or online at eParks(R). At least 5% of gross proceeds will go to Centennial efforts and other Acadia projects. (Image courtesy of Bob Thayer)

How about an official Acadia Centennial calendar, fleece blanket, magnet, embroidered patch or baseball cap? A 0.75L Camelbak bottle to commemorate the 100th anniversary? A handcrafted glazed stoneware mug? A stemless wine glass? A massage for the outdoor enthusiast on your list?

These and other items are produced or sold by official Acadia Centennial partners, who’ve promised to donate at least 5% of gross proceeds to support Centennial projects and other Acadia National Park efforts. A central list of products and services is on the Acadia Centennial Partners Web site, which provides links to where you can make purchases, whether through a local business or online. Not all officially sanctioned products or services may be on that site yet.

Or perhaps you’d rather make a potentially tax-deductible gift to benefit Acadia in the name of family members or friends, as your way of marking the Acadia Centennial? Here are some ways to do that:

Centennial logo for Acadia National Park

The official Acadia Centennial logo

  • Gift membership to Friends of Acadia – On Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1, the nonprofit world’s counterpoint to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the Friends of Acadia hopes to add 100 new members. By giving a gift membership, you would not only help the nonprofit reach its 100-new-member goal, you’d also provide a year’s worth of membership benefits to a family member or friend, including a subscription to the Friends of Acadia Journal, six note cards depicting Acadia at night, and a window decal. A bargain with membership starting at $40.
  • A tribute gift to Friends of Acadia or Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park – Not limited to the holidays, such a gift can commemorate a birthday, anniversary or any other special occasion. Such a gift to the Friends of Acadia would be recognized in the Friends of Acadia Journal. The Schoodic Institute, which provides environmental research and education and such citizen science programs as HawkWatch, can notify the person you’re honoring with the gift.

Want more Centennial gift-giving options? 2016 is also the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, opening up other holiday gift ideas. 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

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)

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.

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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