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.

Schoodic District (Acadia National Park)
Schoodic District (Acadia National Park)

VISITING THE SCHOODIC PENINSULA

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 coastline. Many turnouts along the six-mile loop road allow people to pull over and randomly explore, but the highlight is Schoodic Point.

Schoodic Head Trail (Acadia National Park)
Schoodic Head Trail (Acadia National Park)

SCHOODIC HEAD TRAIL (Alder Trail, Anvil Trail)

Moderately strenuous hike.
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.

Sundew Trail (Acadia National Park)
Sundew Trail (Acadia National Park)

SUNDEW TRAIL

Short and easy family stroll.
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.

Isle au Haut (Acadia National Park)
Isle au Haut (Acadia National Park)

VISITING ISLE AU HAUT

Far from the crowds of Mount Desert Island, 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. A visit to the island is for the lonely wandering soul who is looking to explore beautifully rugged and remote scenery without any amenities.

Duck Harbor Trail (Acadia National Park)
Duck Harbor Trail (Acadia National Park)

DUCK HARBOR TRAIL

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 might not be considered a destination hike, there is plenty of good scenery along the way.

Western Head Trail and Cliff Trail (Acadia National Park)
Western Head Trail and Cliff Trail (Acadia National Park)

WESTERN HEAD TRAIL and CLIFF TRAIL

Fairly strenuous hike.
The southwestern tip of Isle au Haut has the most dramatic and inspiring scenery on the entire island. The two named trails, the Cliff Trail and Western Head Trail, loop around Western Head and allow tourists to wander up and down the cliffs and rocky beaches to take in the rugged ocean views. If your time on Isle au Haut is limited, this loop hike is the one hike to do!

Goat Trail, Isle au Haut (Acadia National Park)
Goat Trail, Isle au Haut (Acadia National Park)

GOAT TRAIL (Merchant Cove to Deep Cove)

Fairly strenuous hike.
Not to be confused with the Goat Trail up Norumbega Mountain on MDI, Isle au Haut's Goat Trail follows the island's rugged southern coastline. The trail wanders past many scenic rocky beaches and small harbors, including Merchant Cove, Barred Harbor, Squeaker Cove, and Deep Cove. If you have time for this one and the Western Head Trail/Cliff Trail, you will see the best of Isle au Haut.

Duck Harbor Mountain Trail (Acadia National Park)
Duck Harbor Mountain Trail (Acadia National Park)

DUCK HARBOR MOUNTAIN TRAIL

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 reach the summit as well as several other little viewpoints, offering views of Duck Harbor and Western Head to the south.

Ebens Head Trail, Isle au Haut (Acadia National Park)
Ebens Head Trail, Isle au Haut (Acadia National Park)

EBENS HEAD

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 near the harbor. If you don't have enough time to hike the Western Head Trail, this is a quicker alternative.

Median Ridge Trail and Nat Merchant Trail, Isle au Haut (Acadia National Park)
Median Ridge Trail and Nat Merchant Trail, Isle au Haut (Acadia National Park)

MEDIAN RIDGE TRAIL and NAT MERCHANT TRAIL

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. 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.

Bowditch Trail and Long Pond Trail, Isle au Haut (Acadia National Park)
Bowditch Trail and Long Pond Trail, Isle au Haut (Acadia National Park)

BOWDITCH TRAIL and LONG POND TRAIL

Moderately strenuous hiking.
Two more interior trails 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 Bowditch Mountain. 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 trail in Acadia.

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