JOE’S GUIDE TO ACADIA NATIONAL PARKCitrusMilo.com

2020 NOTICE: Most of Acadia National Park is closed, including all park roads and facilities. For daily updates, please see the NPS website.

BEYOND MOUNT DESERT ISLAND:

While most of the tourist action happens on Mount Desert Island, Acadia National Park has a few other designated sections in the greater downeast Maine region. Located just to the east of MDI, the Schoodic Peninsula is the only section of the park located on the mainland. A six-mile loop road offers visitors many opportunities to pull over and enjoy the rugged granite coastline. An even more isolated section of Acadia is located on Isle au Haut, accessible via mailboat out of Stonington. Much planning, preparation, and patience are required for a successful visit to this remote island.

VISITING THE SCHOODIC PENINSULASchoodic District, Acadia National Park

Roughly 20 miles east of Ellsworth and just south of the town of Winter Harbor, the Schoodic District is the only section of Acadia National Park located on the mainland. A visit to the Schoodic Peninsula offers visitors access to wonderfully rugged scenery of thick forests lining the granite formations of the coastline. Many turnouts along the six-mile loop road (one-way in most sections) allow people to pull over and randomly explore, but the highlight is Schoodic Point, the rocky barren southern tip of the Schoodic Peninsula that offers a majestic view of the Atlantic Ocean and Mount Desert Island to the west.
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SCHOODIC HEAD TRAIL (Alder Trail, Anvil Trail)Schoodic Head Trail, Acadia National Park
Rating: moderately strenuous hike.

While the highlight of any visit to the Schoodic Peninsula is to visit the various scenic points along the coastline, Schoodic Head is a little inland peak surrounded by lush forest that offers muted, but still enjoyable views of the surrounding area. Several hiking trails and an old dirt road head to the summit from several different starting points. A hike along the Alder Trail, Schoodic Head Trail, and Anvil Trail makes for a nice 2.5-mile loop through diverse forest scenery. The lesser-hiked Schoodic Head East Trail is a steeper and more direct route to the summit.
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SUNDEW TRAILSundew Trail, Acadia National Park
Rating: short and easy family stroll. family-friendly

Located on the Schoodic Peninsula just north of Schoodic Point, the Schoodic Education and Research Center is a non-profit partner of Acadia National Park that supports researchers, classes, and conferences. Starting on the edge of the campus, the Sundew Trail is a lovely nature trail that heads through the thick forest to provide access to the coastline at three separate spots. This hike is an easy family stroll and may take 30-90 minutes to complete, but since the spots along the coastline are so inviting, allow more time to leisurely explore and enjoy.
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VISITING ISLE AU HAUTIsle au Haut, Goat Trail, Acadia National Park

Far from the crowds of Mount Desert Island and the tourist town of Bar Harbor, a remote section of Acadia National Park can be found on the smaller island of Isle au Haut. Roughly half of Isle au Haut consists of private residences, but most of the southern part of the island is designated national park land. Acadia National Park on Isle au Haut is primitive with several strenuous trails that explore the rocky cliffs and coves of the coast as well as the inland forests and peaks. A visit to the island is for the lonely wandering soul who is looking to explore beautifully rugged and remote scenery without any amenities.
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DUCK HARBOR TRAILDuck Harbor Trail, Acadia National Park
Rating: moderately strenuous hike.

Running north to south along the western side of Isle au Haut, the Duck Harbor Trail is the main artery that connects the ranger station near town with the tourist hub of Duck Harbor, site of the seasonal boat landing and the small campground. The trail runs 3.5 miles (one-way) and although it might not be considered a destination hike, there is plenty of good scenery along the way, from the thick forests along the northern sections of the trail to the beautiful coastal views along Moores Harbor and Deep Cove.
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WESTERN HEAD TRAIL and CLIFF TRAILWestern Head Trail and Cliff Trail, Isle au Haut, Acadia National Park
Rating: fairly strenuous hike.

The southwestern tip of Isle au Haut has the most dramatic and inspiring scenery on the entire island. While two named trails, the Cliff Trail and Western Head Trail, loop around Western Head, for all intents and purposes, they are one continuous hike that allows tourists to wander up and down the cliffs and rocky beaches to take in the rugged ocean views. At the southern end of this hike is a short spur trail to a rocky beach that looks across to Western Ear, a nearby island that is just out of reach without swimming. If your time on Isle au Haut is limited, this loop hike is the one hike to do!
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GOAT TRAIL (Merchant Cove to Deep Cove)Goat Trail, Isle au Haut, Acadia National Park
Rating: fairly strenuous hike.

Not to be confused with the Goat Trail up Norumbega Mountain on Mount Desert Island, Isle au Haut's Goat Trail is a fairly strenuous hike that follows the island's rugged southern coastline. The trail wanders past many scenic rocky beaches and small and remote harbors, including Merchant Cove, Barred Harbor, Squeaker Cove, and Deep Cove. And as its name implies, the Goat Trail has some good uphill and downhill sections as it makes its way through the various cliffs and ridgelines above the coves. If you have time for a long hike that combines this with the Western Head Trail/Cliff Trail, you will see the best of Isle au Haut.
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DUCK HARBOR MOUNTAIN TRAILDuck Harbor Mountain Trail, Isle au Haut, Acadia National Park
Rating: fairly strenuous hike.

While Isle au Haut does not have a plethora of mountain peaks to explore, Duck Harbor Mountain is the notable standout. Starting just south of the Duck Harbor boat landing and campground, the Duck Harbor Mountain Trail climbs above the forest canopy to wander up and around the exposed granite formations and ridgelines to reach the summit as well as several other little viewpoints, offering views of Duck Harbor to the north and Western Head to the south. A few scrambling obstacles on the south side of the summit add to the difficulty. The trail ends at the junction with the Goat Trail at Squeaker Cove where hikers can continue hiking along the inspiring coast.
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EBENS HEADEbens Head Trail, Isle au Haut, Acadia National Park
Rating: shorter moderately strenuous hike.

Ebens Head is a fairly prominent bald rock formation at the northwestern tip of Duck Harbor. A short mile-long trail leaves the main Duck Harbor Road to traverse a cobblestone beach and several jagged rocky outcroppings to reach the highpoint of Ebens Head and the calmer waters of the harbor. For those hiking the Duck Harbor Trail or the road from town or for those looking for a shorter hike in the Duck Harbor area, this loop is a great diversion that offers visitors easy access to some classic Isle au Haut coastline scenery. If you don't have enough time to hike the Western Head Trail, this is a nice quicker alternative.
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MEDIAN RIDGE TRAIL and NAT MERCHANT TRAILMedian Ridge Trail and Nat Merchant Trail, Isle au Haut, Acadia National Park
Rating: fairly easy hiking.

Aside from the exciting trails that line Isle au Haut's southern coast, there are also several miles of trails that travel the interior of the island within the Acadia National Park boundaries. The Median Ridge Trail starts at Barred Harbor and heads north following the higher ridgelines at the center of the island. The Nat Merchant Trail cuts across the island diagonally, connecting the Duck Harbor Road with the NPS border near Eastern Head. While neither trail should be considered a destination hike, they are still pleasant walks in the woods that serve as alternatives to walking the dirt roads.
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BOWDITCH TRAIL and LONG POND TRAILBowditch Trail and Long Pond Trail, Isle au Haut, Acadia National Park
Rating: moderately strenuous hiking.

Two more interior trails on Isle au Haut are the Bowditch Trail and Long Pond Trail. The Bowditch Trail heads east from the Duck Harbor Trail, crossing a large marsh and ascending the forested Jerusalem Mountain and Bowditch Mountain. (Both "mountains" are barely noticeable hills.) Nearby Long Pond Trail is a lollipop loop that descends east to reach the shore of the thin north/south Long Pond. This might be the loneliest and least-visited stretch of trail in the Acadia National Park trail system. Both trails are pleasant walks in the woods but they are not destination hikes.
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View All Hikes ->

Hiking symbols used for descriptions:
an Acadia classic ACADIA CLASSIC: a must-do hike if you want to see the best of Acadia!
family-friendly FAMILY-FRIENDLY: a good choice for those with children who like to hike.
exposed scrambling route with iron aides WARNING: a hike that may have scrambling, significant exposure, and/or sections of iron rungs or other aides.
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