Acadia National Park sits at a cool hour and a half drive from the University of Maine. It’s no surprise why a number of students choose to make the day or weekend trip throughout the semester.
Acadia resides on Mt. Desert Island. According to the National Park Service, it is one of the top-ten most visited national parks in America.
The park typically requires an entrance pass, which is either $20 a person or $35 for a car. There are days where this is waived however, on national holidays or national outdoors days.
Hiking is one of the biggest draws for the park. Boasting more than 150 miles of trail, Acadia gives the full run of possible Maine scenery. Namely, coastal, mountains and woods. All hiking trails are detailed on the National Park Service’s website.
Of the mountains around the island, the most notable is Cadillac Mountain. The summit offers views of the island and the waters beyond. The summit is 1530 feet and is accessible by road or by foot. To get parking reservations requires an additional $6 per car pass. There is also public transportation. Remember that the parking lot isn’t particularly big, being on top of a mountain and all. There are two trails that lead directly to the summit. The shorter of these is the four mile Cadillac North Ridge Trail. The longest is the Cadillac South Ridge Trail, which jumps up to just over seven miles.
For those who prefer water to mountains and forests, also in the park is Thunder Hole. This rock formation is known for the booming sound it makes when water rushes in. Coming before high tide is the best time to hear it at full capacity. While not as extensive as the hikes, it is worth stopping to witness.
Another memorable set of mountains are the Bubbles. These two mountains are often depicted with Jordan Pond in view, as it sits right next to them. The Jordan Pond House Restaurant, a well-known historic location, overlooks both the pond and the mountains beyond. Eating at the Pond House can be expensive and have high wait times, thanks to its status among tourists, but the popovers are worth it if you have the chance. From the Pond House you can also find the Jordan Pond trail, which takes you around the lake and right to the base of the Bubbles.
Now, if you are anything like my mother and grandmother, you may see a sign here that says 1.2 miles until Bubbles Trail and think, “oh, a short walk to see the mountains would be nice.” Do not be mistaken. This is not a 1.2 mile hike. This path is, in total, a little over three miles. This is something my mother, grandmother and I did not come to realize until we were on the opposite side of the lake.
Compared to other hikes in Acadia, the Jordan Pond trail is rather leisurely. Being around a lake and not up a mountain, it is a fairly easy walk, albeit with some wooden beams acting as the trail in parts.
When you’re ready to come back to civilization and maybe find something to eat, Bar Harbor is the most well-known place in the area.
Keep in mind that Mt. Desert Island, especially the well-known locales like Bar Harbor, see a lot of tourists. It’s not uncommon for some cruise ships to dock here. With that said, the prices of food and souvenirs around town are often higher than one might like.
Located on Main Street, Bar Harbor is the Stadium.This coffee shop offers pastries, mandatory lobster rolls sandwiches, crepes and boba tea.
As we head into the fall, don’t be afraid to take those day-trips with friends. Just remember that, if you plan on going hiking, to come prepared with correct footwear, water and a knowledge of what you’re getting into.