Acadia National Park Facts
- Acadia National Park comprises of over 47,000 acres.
- Cadillac Mountain is 1,530 feet high, 460 meters above sea level, making it the highest mountain on the Atlantic Coast.
- Cadillac Mountain is the first place in the US to see the sun rise.
- Acadia National Park contains more than 120 miles of historic hiking trails.
- Acadia was first established as Sieur de Monts National Monument in July 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson but then was changed to Lafayette National Park in February of 1919 when it became the first national park east of the Mississippi. It was not until January 1929 that it officially was named Acadia National Park. The word “Acadia” likely stems from “Arcadia,” a part of Greece that this area reminded the explorer, Giovanni Verrazano of as he sailed by in 1524. Today, it encompasses approximately 47,748 acres in three main areas. The largest is located on Mount Desert Island. Next, is an approximate 2,366 acre tract of land to the Northeast on the mainland at Schoodic Peninsula. Thirdly, to the Southwest (accessible only by boat) is Isle Au Haut, Baker
- Island (Southeast coast) and Bar Island (north side of Bar Harbor) also have National Park land. Acadia Park has a mandate that it can only gain land through donation. It is the first park to be created through the donation of land by private individuals to the federal government.
- Acadia is one of the smallest of the 57 US National Parks, yet we have more than 2.6 million visitors per year. In 2016, Acadia’s Centennial Birthday Year topped out at over 3 million visitors, ranking Acadia as the 9th most visited park in the nation.
- Since 1999, propane powered Island Explorer buses have carried more than 2 million passengers into Acadia National Park, eliminating more than 685,000 automobile trips and preventing 6,444 tons of greenhouse gases.
- There was a major fire in 1947 referred to as “The Year Maine Burned,” that burned more than 10,000 acres within the park – 17,188 acres total acres on Mount Desert Island. A careful eye can identify the burned areas by the presence of hardwood trees such as maple and oak. The slower growing evergreens are still widespread over the unburned sections.
- Much of the physical labor required to build the park’s carriage roads and trails was provided by the Civilian Conservation Corps beginning in 1933.
- One of the most unique historical aspects of how Acadia National Park formed is that it is due to the vision and donations of private citizens like George B. Dorr and Charles W. Eliot who anticipated the dangers that over-development would bring to this coastal wonderland and acted quickly to prevent it. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., played a critical role by building the now famous carriage roads (1915 – 1933) and by donating over 11,000 acres of land. There have since been countless others who have donated their time and resources towards the continued realization of this dream so that we may all experience its raw natural beauty.
- To best enjoy Acadia National Park we implore each guest to go to the Visitors Center and purchase a Visitors Pass. Each pass helps support the park with employing park rangers, trail maintenance and provides for the huge variety of public programs the park provides.
Fun Things to See & Do in the Park
Park Loop Road
A 27 mile winding loop around the eastern half of Mount Desert Island, encompassing the shore and inland natural features of Acadia. This is an ideal way to get a feel for Acadia. The carriage roads are great for joggers, bikers and easy hiking and a great place to take the kids. Acadia National Park is well known for being dog friendly. A Carriage Road Guide is available in our gift shop and more information can be found at the Park’s Visitor Center.
The only sand beach in the park is located 10 miles from the Visitor Center. Enjoy the sun and build a sand castle! Swimming can be best described as “refreshing” and “invigorating”, as the ocean temperature seldom climbs above 55°F, even on the hottest days. While at Sand Beach take a short hike around the Great Head or up the 520 foot Beehive Mountain overlooking the Beach. Please be aware of the signs asking people to stay off the dunes. They are a very fragile ecosystem that Acadia strives to preserve.
If you carefully time your visit to this narrow chasm located between Sand Beach and Otter cliffs you will hear the surging tide trapping air inside the small rock cave which causes a thunder like roar. Concrete steps allow visitors to observe at water level. A favorite spot with wind-driven tides and gales, especially at mid-tide. The best chance of hearing the roar is on the incoming tide.
Jordan Pond/Bubble Mountain
Surrounded by Pemetic Mountain to the east and Sargent and Penobscot Mountains to the west, glacially carved Jordan Pond’s clear cool water are perfectly framed by the beautiful rounded Bubble Mountains to the north. While taking in the view, enjoy one of the nearby hiking trails or visit Jordan Pond House to sample their famous tea and Popovers.
The highlight of the Park Loop Road experience for many is the view from atop 1,530 foot Cadillac Mountain. The highest peak on the Atlantic Coast north of Brazil, Cadillac’s panoramic views are unmatched. The surrounding Frenchman and Blue Hill Bays and their many islands are best viewed from atop or from one of the many overlooks. Spectacular sunrises and sunsets are among the favorite views of visitors. Cadillac Mountain also has some of the best stargazing and eclipse watching on the east coast.
Occasionally, though it’s very rare, we can catch a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis. Remember when ever heading up the mountain, dress warm and bring your camera!!
Acadia at Schoodic
Acadia National Park on the Schoodic Peninsula in Maine is the only part of the park that is located on the mainland. It has very similar geological features as Mount Desert Island but is more secluded and has less commercial development in the surrounding villages. Because of this “less traveled” aspect, there are many who are passionate about the region.
The Schoodic Peninsula section of Acadia National Park covers approximately 2,366 acres. There was a recent increase of 100 acres when a Naval facility on Big Moose Island was decommissioned and converted back to national park land. The existing buildings now serve as part of the Schoodic Education and Research Center known by the acronym of SERC. Schoodic Peninsula is considered the quiet side of Acadia worth exploring for a quieter experience.
Great Hikes in Acadia National Park
There really is at least one trail for anyone within Acadia National Park. From the most basic walking path all the way to a strenuous rated climb, the Park has a full spectrum of offerings. If you want an up close and personal experience with the park, taking the time to hike on the trails is the way to go. Remember though that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This holds very true when it comes to venturing into a wilderness setting and can sometimes make the difference between safely returning or suffering a bad injury or worse. If climbing across rocky areas, make sure to have the sturdy hiking shoes for the terrain. Be sure to bring bad weather gear, water and snacks, and store your garbage. Always plan ahead and expect the unexpected to happen.
Removing any item from a National Park, no matter how small, is a federal crime. Nibbling berries along the trailside is allowed however.;
Smooth path over level ground.
Bar Harbor Shore Path (in Bar Harbor)
Beginning at the Bar Harbor Town Pier, the Shore Path runs along the shore offering great views of the harbor and Porcupine Islands. The path crosses private property and access is granted by owners providing that hikers respect their residences and stay on the path. Park on the Town Pier in Bar Harbor.
1.0 mile/1.6 km
Cadillac Mountain Summit
Paved path encircling the summit offers panoramic views of Bar Harbor, Frenchman Bay and out islands. Parking on the Cadillac Mountain 1,530 foot summit.
0.3 mile loop/0.5 km loop
Unique hiking trail in a forest to rocky shoreline setting with tidal pools located on the south western side of Mount Desert Island near Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse- Parking is 1 mile south of Seawall Campground on Route 102A.
1.4 miles/2.2 km
Uneven ground but fairly level.
Accessible 1-1/2 hours either side of low tide A sand bar leads to the forested island. Be aware of the time and tide schedule as there are no public facilities on the island. Park on Bridge Street off West Street in Bar Harbor.
Jordan Pond Nature Trail
Forest and pond setting. Park at Jordan Pond parking area.
1.0 mile loop/1.6 km loop
Most Carriage Roads
Varied Acadia National Park settings concentrated on the eastern side of Somes Sound on Mount Desert Island. Parking & access at Jordan Pond, Bubble Pond, Eagle Lake, The Brown Mountain Gatehouse, Visitor Center, or Parkman Mountain.
Begins near Sand Beach and runs parallel to the Park Loop Road on its east side past Thunder Hole all the way to Otter Cliff. Park at the Sand Beach or Otter Point parking lots.
3.0 miles/4.8 km
Nature Trail Forest to rocky shore setting on the western side of Mount Desert Island near the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. Parking is located in the Ship Harbor area off Route 102A.
1.3 mile loop/2.1 km loop
Some steep grades, some level stretches.
Acadia Mountain Trail
Return via fire road One of the most popular hiking trails in the park offering views of Somes Sound and Southwest Harbor, National Park Rangers often lead hikes up Acadia Mountain as part of their regular summer program. The steep 700 foot climb can descend to a fire road or continue up St. Sauveur then down to a parking area about 1/2 mile south of the Acadia Mountain parking area (Route 102).
2.5 miles/4.0 km
Beech Mountain Trail
Located on the western side of Mount Desert Island near the Pretty Marsh Road offering a vista of Great Long Pond on the Northwest route. Follow signs from Somesville to Beech Mountain.
1.2 miles/1.9 km
Forest to granite ledges and pond setting. Starting point is approximately 100 feet north of Sand Beach parking area.
1.4 miles/2.2 km
Bubble Rock Trail
Forest setting with occasional open views and Jordan Pond views. Park in the Bubble Rock parking area just north of Jordan Pond near North Bubble and South Bubble Mountains.
1.0 mile/1.6 km for each mountain
Cadillac Mountain North Ridge Trail
Open ascent with spectacular Bar Harbor and Frenchman Bay views. Park at the North Ridge Cadillac Mountain parking area.
4.4 miles/ 7.0 km
Cadillac Mountain South Ridge Trail
A Forest setting opening to a gentle granite ascent. Located 100 feet south of Blackwoods Campground entrance (Route 3).
7.4 miles/ 11.8 km
Bear Brook Trail Pine slop with vistas of Frenchman Bay. Park at the Bear Brook parking area, 400 feet beyond Beaver Dam Pond.
2.2 mile /3.5 km
Gorham Mountain Trail
Spruce forest setting opening to a granite ascent of 525 foot Gorham Mountain. Park in the Gorham Mountain parking area just past Thunder Hole.
1.8 miles/2.9 km
Great Head Trail Sea
Cliffs on the east side of Sand Beach. Park at the eastern edge of Sand Beach.
1.4 mile loop/2.2 km loop
Jordan Pond Shore Trail
Follows water’s edge with rocky sections. Jordan Pond parking area (not the Jordan Pond House Restaurant parking area).
3.3 mile loop/5.3 km loop
Some level trail, some board walk.
Steep grades, many steady climbs.
Iron rungs on ledges Woods to exposed cliffs. 100 feet north of Sand Beach parking area.
0.8 miles/1.3 km
Beachcroft Trail Rocky open slops. Parking at north end of The Tarn (Route 3).
2.4 miles/3.8 km
Canon Brook to Murray Young Path to Dorr Summit Forest setting to steep granite ascent. Canon Brook parking area (Route 3).
4.8 miles/ 7.7 km
Perpendicular trail to 946 foot summit on the Western Side of Mount Desert Island and Great Long Pond. Rocky stair step climb with spectacular pond views. Parking near south end of Great Long Pond near Southwest Harbor.
2.0 mile loop/3.2 km loop
Goat Trail Steep ascent with wooded summit. Parking north of Upper Hadlock Pond (Route 198).
1.0 mile loop/1.6 km loop
Pemetic Mountain Trail
Forest setting. Ocean and lake views. Park at Bubble Pond.
2.4 miles/3.8 km
Park Passes & Entrance Fees
All park visitors are required to pay an entrance fee from May-October. All passes are non-transferable.
Prices may be subject to change.
$30 valid for 7 days Admits private, non-commercial vehicles (15 passenger or less) and all occupants.
$25 valid for 7 days Admits one or two passengers on a private, non-commercial motorcycle.
$15 valid for 7 days Admits one individual with no car -bicyclist, hiker.
Acadia Annual Pass
$55 Valid for 12 months from purchase date. This pass admits the holder and passengers in a non-commercial vehicle.
$0 Free to active duty military personnel and their dependents, with valid documentation (CAC card or DD Form 1173).
$80 This is a lifetime pass for US Citizens or permanent residents age 62 and older.
$0 Valid for life. This is a lifetime pass for US citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities.
Every Kid in the Park 4th Grade Pass
$0 This is a pass for US 4th grade students. This pass is valid for 12 months beginning in September of the year the students begins 4th grade and valid until the following August.
Where To Purchase Your Pass
The following locations issue all park passes:
- Atlantic Oceanside Front Desk
- Hulls Cove Visitors Canter
- Sand Beach Entrance Station
- Thompson Island Information Center
- Bar Harbor Village Green Information Center
- Park Headquarters, Eagle Lake Road
- Blackwoods Campground
- Schoodic Woods Campground
- Seawall Campground
Your fees make a difference!
80% of all fees are used to fund critical projects that improve visitor services and protect natural resources right here at Acadia National Park:
- Maintain and operate the free Island Explorer
- Provide unique interpretive programs.
- Provide lifeguards at Sand Beach and Echo Lake.
- Maintain Carriage Roads and Hiking Trails.
- Improve park accessibility for visitors with disabilities.
- Remove invasive exotic species.
- Maintain and repair campgrounds and park structures, and so much more!