Best Trails & Sea Kayaking In/Near Acadia NP in Maine?

8:12 p.m. on March 12, 2006 (EST)

I'm planning a trip to the Acadia NP area (including Isle au Haut) in Maine for the early part of July. I'm looking at various guidebooks, etc. but am really curious to find out if anybody has any comments on best trails and sea kayaking in the area.



11:50 a.m. on March 14, 2006 (EST)
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I can't offer any insight on the kayaking, but there are plenty of hiking options in Acadia, and it's pretty hard to go wrong with most of them. The park is famously cris-crossed with carraige roads (built by the Rockefellers), as well as numerous hiking trails to its many bald granite summits. With so many trails packed into a small space there are an infinite number of variations and link-ups that can be done, especially in the Jordan Pond area.

The carriage trails are wide and flat and generally offer better biking than hiking, but they can be a good way to get from place to place, and they're never too steep. By contrast, many of the hiking trails attack the higher points of the island directly and very steeply. The steepest (Beehive Trail, Precipice Trail) include iron rungs and railings in some of the tougher spots.

Cadillac Mountain is the highest point in the park and there are several trails to the summit. There is also an auto road, so unless you get going early in the day you'll be sharing the top with quite a crowd. The views from the lower peaks nearby (Champlain, Dorr) are just as good.

On the west side of the island you can make a shortish but worthwhile loop hike of Acadia and Saint Sauveur Mountains. At the foot of Acadia Mountain the trail crosses a fire road which descends right to the steep rocky beach of Somes Sound, the only fjord in the eastern U.S.

If you're staying a Blackwoods Campground, you can put together a nice 12-mile loop that includes both seashore mountain hiking. From Blackwoods, follow the shore and the Park Loop Road east about a mile and a half to Otter Point and the start of the Ocean Trail. Follow the Ocean Trail to Sand Beach and then head inland on either the Bowl Trail of the Beehive Trail and then follow the Bear Brook Trail to the top of Champlain Mountain. From their drop down the Beechcroft Tail to the Tarn, a small glacial pond nestled between Champlain and Dorr Mountains. From The Tarn there are several routes of varying steepness to the summit of Dorr. From there, follow the Dorr Notch Trail to the summit of Cadillac Mountain, and then descend to Blackwoods Campground via the South Ridge Trail.

For a bit more solitude, and views that are every bit as good as the higher peaks, consider Penobscot and Sargent Mountains and the surrounding area. There are a lot of trails in this area, so it doesn't get too crowded, and there is enough terrain that in places it feels quite wild.

5:03 p.m. on March 14, 2006 (EST)
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What Dave said, except ...

Early July will be crowded. And my favorite time to go to Acadia when we were living in Boston was late August to mid September, or in the middle of the winter. Aug-Sept is when the berries are ripe (mountain blueberries, mountain cranberries - much better than bog cranberries from the store, blackberries, red and black raspberries, etc etc etc). Midwinter is great for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on the carriage roads (except for the obnoxious snowmobilers) and trails (where the snowmobilers can't go). Yeah, it's a bit cold in winter (sub-zero, even), but the days are often crisp and beautiful. The Aug-Sept time frame is also free of the infamous black flies, noseeums, and other pesky insects (actually, don't remember many of those in Acadia in any case).

I can't say much about sea kayaking, except that there are several islands that are accessible for camping. Check with the Acadia NP website and call the rangers. I know some people who have paddled out to some of the islands and they say it was great. They also said that storms can come up which will challenge very experienced kayakers, so watch the weather closely.

11:36 p.m. on March 19, 2006 (EST)

Thanks for the great information, guys! We've got a lot of planning to do now!


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