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Planning a trip to Acadia in winter? 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) Planning a hike up Cadillac Mountain on New Year’s Day 2017. Can you recommend a trail to the top and accommodations near there this time of year? Thanks for any information you can provide. – Regards,Tom Campbell, Denver, North Carolina

Dear Tom,

Sounds like a great way to welcome the New Year, visiting Acadia in winter to hike up Cadillac, whether to see the first sunrise in the US or not!

Planning such a trip is not as difficult as you might think, especially since there are quite a number of year-round lodging and dining options in Bar Harbor and surrounding towns, as we’ve compiled in a series of handy pages on this blog.

winter in acadia

Acadia in winter, as seen from Cadillac. (NPS photo)

If you’re lucky, there may not be much snow and ice on Cadillac, making it an easier hike. But be sure to bring proper gear just in case, since conditions can change quickly, and can be very different at the top of the mountain compared with down at the start.

See a list of some favorite winter hiking gear, below, as well as a round-up of other activities in Acadia in winter. You might also want to post a question about current trail conditions on the Acadia National Park Hiking group page we created on Facebook, which a number of local hikers belong to.

You can check snow conditions by linking to live Webcams at the Web site of local radio station 93.7 FM, “The Wave,” and the park’s official winter activities page for additional information. Continue reading

Winter a secret wonderland in Acadia National Park

UPDATE 12/27/2016: To see 2017 winter events, and find routes up Cadillac in winter, see our December 2016 update.

UPDATE 1/23/2016: To see 2016 winter events, go to our Bangor Daily News blog.

(To plan your trip, see Acadia National Park year-round lodging, restaurants, shopping)

Snow falling on pink granite shores, sea smoke rising from Frenchman Bay, cross-country skiers gliding along freshly groomed trails: It’s winter in Acadia National Park, the quiet season.

cadillac in winter

To get this view from Cadillac in winter, you can’t drive up the 3.5 mile summit road, but you can hike it. Be sure to be properly equipped for snow, ice and cold. (NPS photo)

You may not be able to drive up Cadillac Mountain or around the entire length of the Park Loop Road this time of year, or enjoy a popover on the lawn of the Jordan Pond House.

But the rewards for the hardy and adventurous soul are plenty: Solitude, winter’s beauty and such activities as cross-country skiing, winter hiking or watching for Snowy Owls and other migratory birds.

Winter is a secret wonderland in Acadia National Park, and it’s not a time to hibernate.

While many of the places to visit, stay and eat in area communities are closed, dozens of local businesses and cultural institutions are open for all or some of the winter.

There’s even a first-ever winter festival at Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park, from Feb. 19-22, featuring science, art and fun outdoor activities for kids and adults, and a talk by noted biologist and author, Bernd Heinrich.

winter in acadia national park

It’s a winter wonderland in Acadia National Park, with Cobblestone Bridge blanketed by snow. (Photo courtesy of our friends John and Meghan Khairallah of Acadia365)

This week, for the first time this winter, conditions have been right for volunteers with the Acadia Winter Trails Association to groom and track some of the carriage roads for cross-country skiing.

And so far this month, serious birders have reported 5 sightings of Snowy Owls on top of Sargent Mountain to eBird.org, which offers an online bird checklist.

Here are some ideas and resources to plan your trip to Acadia in winter. The winter visitor center at park headquarters on ME 233 is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. during January and February, and the same hours 7 days a week from March through April 14. No park entrance fee applies this time of year.

You can check snow conditions by linking to live Webcams at the Web site of local radio station 93.7 FM, “The Wave.”

Continue reading