Finding your Acadia

In 1909, Acadia National Park's first superintendent, George B. Dorr, built the octagonal, tile-roofed structure over a spring at the south end of Great Meadow. He named the spring “Sieur de Monts” in honor of French nobleman Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons, who gained authority over all of North America, from present-day Philadelphia to Cape Breton Island, in 1603. PHOTO BY MADELINE BYRD

With 3.3 million visitors during Acadia national Park’s centennial celebration, officials are advising that it may take a little more planning to find your own special space within the park this season and in future years.

In most instances it’s just a matter of timing and expanding your geographical horizons.

Peak hours for visitation along the busy Park Loop Road, which includes Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, Jordan Pond and Cadillac Mountain, is between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Frequently parking lots are full and trails and carriage roads busy. But there are ways to escape the madding crowd.

Those hitting the trail early in the morning, (the sun rises in summer around 5 a.m., so get out there!) can have many places pretty much to themselves. Likewise in the early evening. Plus, morning and evening are often the best times to see wildlife.

While sunrise and sunset on Cadillac often draws crowds, there are plenty of other vantages reachable by car, foot or by bicycle to experience.

Trails on the eastern side of the island, closer to Bar Harbor, are often the busiest during midday. Those on Western Mountain, and on the larger, roadless peaks, such as Sargent Mountain, Cedar Swamp Mountain and Norumbega Mountain, offer a greater chance of solitude.

Park visitors are also encouraged to see Acadia by boat, including kayaks and canoes on the many freshwater lakes.

After dark, the park’s spectacularly-dark skies offer unparalleled views of the heavens.

Another way to reduce motor vehicle congestion, and the stress of dealing with traffic, is to ride the Island Explorer shuttle buses. They are especially handy when planning hiking or biking trips because your route doesn’t have to begin and end at the same place.

And finally, visiting during the less crowded months over winter, in late fall and early spring has its own rewards.

Acadia National Park

P.O. Box 177
Eagle Lake Road
Bar Harbor, ME. 04609-0177
Tel: (207) 288-3338
Website: www.nps.gov/acad/

Friends of Acadia

43 Cottage St.
P.O. Box 45
Bar Harbor, ME. 04609
Tel: (207)-288-3340, (800)-625-0321
Website: www.friendsofacadia.org

Former Islander editor Earl Brechlin first discovered Mount Desert Island 35 years ago and never left. The author of seven guide and casual history books, he is a Registered Maine Guide and has served as president of the Maine and New England Press Associations. He and his wife live in Bar Harbor.