Tag Archives: otter-creek

A new path is emerging for Acadia National Park hiking

One in a series about Acadia National Park hiking trails

The trails crew has launched an overhaul of an historic path that connects the Jordan Pond area with the village of Seal Harbor, providing a new way to experience Acadia National Park hiking.

Harold Read of Orono

Harold Read, trail worker at Acadia National Park, points to improvements on the Seaside Path intended to remove water from the path.

The work is being financed with donations to the nonprofit Friends of Acadia during an annual fundraising benefit last year. In a traditional “paddle raise,” sixty donors contributed a total of $318,000 to restore Seaside Path, according to Friends of Acadia.

There are no sweeping views from the path, but it is a “beautiful example” of a late 1800s to early 1900s gravel path for Acadia National Park hiking, said Gary Stellpflug, trails foreman at Acadia National Park. “It’s all woodland,” he said. “It’s nice mature forest.”

seaside path

A hand-crafted sign marks the way through the primeval woods of Seaside Path.

Stellpflug said Seaside Path is a village connector trail and will be the first newly-improved such trail for Acadia National Park hiking since Quarry and Otter Cove Trails were inaugurated on National Trails Day in 2014. The Quarry and Otter Cove Trails link the park’s Blackwoods Campground with the village of Otter Creek, Otter Cove and Gorham Mountain Trail.

A lot of Seaside Path is on private property and it is currently unclear exactly where it will terminate when the park is finished with the upgrade, he said. “We’re not sure where the south end will go,” he said.

Unlike the cliff and mountain climbs of Bar Harbor and Northeast Harbor, Seaside Path and other Seal Harbor trails go over “a gentler terrain,” according to the National Park Service’s “Pathmakers: Cultural Landscape Report for the Historic Hiking Trail System of Mount Desert Island.” As a result, “many woodland paths were  surfaced with gravel or simply unconstructed, marked paths through the woods,” in contrast to those in the other villages, according to the report.

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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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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

Acadia National Park to hold hearing on Otter Creek trails

UPDATE Sept. 16: Since the original public hearing notice, Acadia National Park expanded the agenda to include update on the boat launch in the inner cove, and use and access to the outer cove fish house, as shared by Otter Creek Hall’s Facebook page.

Here’s the original story:

As part of a grand design to connect villages to Acadia National Park via footpath, two old Otter Creek trails slated for upgrading could be a boon for residents, campers and hikers, and may also address some of the long-standing tension between community and park.

Acadia officials will air the proposal to improve the trails at a hearing on Sept. 16, 6 p.m. at Otter Creek Hall, 82 Otter Creek Drive. Also likely to be discussed: The state of Otter Creek-park relations, which at times have been strained.

Otter Cove

Otter Creek residents hope to get improved trail access to Otter Cove.

The historic trails, long used by residents, would be rehabilitated and better marked, and would allow residents and visitors to walk from the village of Otter Creek, to newly opened park trails that connect to Gorham Mountain, Otter Cove and Blackwoods Campground.

The network of trails would create many long day-hiking opportunities, limited only by one’s imagination, map, or guidebook.

And it may also help ease some of the old conflicts between the park and the Otter Creek community, which was cut off from the waterfront after John D. Rockefeller Jr. bought land along Otter Cove in the 1930s, as part of his vision for the park. Continue reading