So I get that the Lord of the Rings movies were shot in New Zealand, but I swear they could’ve been shot in Acadia National Park.
I mean this looks like it came right out of those movies!
Last September (2016), a friend and I road-tripped to Acadia National Park in Maine. Before this trip, I could not picture myself living in the Northeast (I’d also never been to the Northeast before – so that might have had something to do with it.) But after that trip, I could definitely see myself living in Maine, Vermont, or New Hampshire. It is gorgeous there!
Acadia National Park just blew me away. It was like nothing I’d ever seen before. The plants are so diverse and from almost anywhere in the park I swear you can hear the waves of the Atlantic Ocean hitting the shore.
During our trip it rained at night, was foggy in the morning, and then the sun came out about 1 PM. It made for some pretty pictures and some interesting hikes.
We loved camping at the Blackwoods Campground within the park.
The campsites were nestled into the woods and the bathrooms were nice – had running water and flush toilets (no showers). There are pay showers in Otter Creek (a small town surrounded by the park – less than 5 minutes from Blackwoods Campground).
The first day we were there we hiked the Ocean Path trail. It is an easy 4.4 mile round trip hike along the coast. We walked from Blackwoods Campground along the park road and picked up the trail at Otter Point and hiked to the Sand Beach parking lot where we picked up the awesome park shuttle called the Island Explorer.
Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, Otter Cliff, and Otter Point are some of the highlights of the Ocean Path. These points can be seen by driving the Park Loop Road and getting out at each overlook, however, I highly recommend hiking the Ocean Path trail. You see a lot more when you actually hike along the coast to the points.
We took the Island Explorer from Sand Beach to Jordan Pond, a breathtakingly beautiful pond. The Jordan Pond Path loops around the pond and is an easy 3.3 miles. I enjoyed the scenery and walking on the log boardwalks.
A must do at Acadia National Park is enjoying the view and food from the Jordan Pond House. Their specialties include blueberry tea and popovers.
And let me just tell you, I have dreams about sitting outside at the Jordan Pond House eating popovers fresh from the oven.
The second day we were there, we go up before the crack of dawn and drove to the top of Cadillac Mountain where we watched the sunrise. (Fun fact: People will hike to the top of Cadillac Mountain in the snow on New Years to be the first ones to watch the sunrise in the United States.)
The fog made for a unique sunrise. From the top of Cadillac Mountain we hiked the Gorge Trail over to and up Dorr Mountain. Sections of the Gorge Trail were a scramble and we took to scooting down huge boulders on our butts praying that our hiking pants wouldn’t rip.
From the summit of Dorr Mountain, we hiked the Dorr South Ridge Trail down to the Kane Path along The Tarn (another pond) to the Sieur de Monts parking lot.
We then walked to the park road and hopped on the Island Explorer which dropped us off near the Blackwoods Campground. We stopped at our campsite and resupplied water. Then we took off again, this time to rescue Addie from the top of Cadillac Mountain, which by early afternoon had become tour bus central. The Cadillac South Ridge Trail starts near the campground and is one of the longest hiking trails in Acadia National Park. The view from the top of Cadillac Mountain was quite different than the view we’d had that morning.
By the time we made it to the summit it was after 12 PM and the tour groups in flip flops were out in force, tromping around the paved .3 mile Cadillac Summit Loop Trail. We rescued Addie from the parking lot and went to find lunch, in the form of our 87th peanut butter sandwich of the trip and a much needed 4 minute $2 shower.
The third day we were in Acadia, we decided we were pooped and opted for a less exerting way to explore the park: horse drawn carriage. Wildwood Stables offers carriage rides along the 45 miles of carriage roads that run through the park. Romain was our guide along with Boo and Yoshi (the horses).
I highly recommend doing a carriage ride if time allows. We had a fantastic time learning about the history of the park from Romain and enjoying the view.
For planning much of our Acadia trip I relied on A Falcon Guide: Hiking Acadia National Park, as well as the National Park website. However, when planning any trip I highly recommend speaking to Park Rangers, locals, and people who have been there before. Park Rangers especially, will have great advice about things to see and which trails to hike. (Another fun fact: if you email the address listed on the “Contact Us” page of a national park’s website, a park ranger will email you back!)
If you’d like more information or have questions about Acadia National Park, feel free to message me!