With even more than the usual 2.5 million annual visitors expected during this summer’s centennial celebration, officials are advising that it may take a little more planning to find your own special space within the park.
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.