hiking along the Acadia Mountain Trail (Acadia National Park) -- © 2014 Joe Braun Photography

Introduction to Acadia Hiking:

In spite of its relatively small land area, Acadia National Park has an amazing trail system with over 120 miles of trails beckoning for exploration. From family strolls along the rocky coastlines to strenuous and exposed scrambles to the tops of the majestic granite peaks, Acadia has something for everyone.

The wonderful collection of trails exists because of so many people's passionate love of the scenery, including Waldron Bates (who was one of the pioneer trail designers of Acadia in the early 1900s) to the present-day Friends of Acadia, a non-profit organization that restores and maintains the trails. Hiking on Acadia's trails is a magical experience; they were designed to wander around and touch the most scenic spots of the area.

Specific hikes are discussed on the following Best Hikes in Acadia National Park page and many more obscure options can be found on the Many More Hiking Ideas page.

a stretch of one of the Acadia carriage roads (Acadia National Park) -- © 2013 Joe Braun Photography

In addition to the hiking trails, there are also over 45 miles of carriage roads built by John. D. Rockefeller Jr. between 1913 and 1940. Originally Intended for use by horse-drawn carriages, the goal of these immaculately-constructed roads was to give city folk an easy taste of the natural world. Like Acadia's trails, the carriage roads were deliberately engineered to cut through some of the best scenery, mostly in the forested areas of the park.

Elaborate and majestic stone bridges were built at several stream and valley crossings and each one is a unique work of art. Today, hikers, bikers, and horse-drawn carriages alike share the carriage roads. (These crushed stone roads are even smooth enough for wheelchair access.)

With so many intersecting trails, carriage roads, mountain peaks, lakes, shoreline, and historic bridges to explore, the hiking possibilities are wonderfully overwhelming. A trail map, such as the Map Adventures Acadia National Park Trail Map, is almost essential to prevent from getting lost in the maze of intersections. Trails are typically blazed by both Bates cairns (a unique style of rock cairns that has two feet) and aqua/blue painted markers on the granite slabs and sometimes trees. Most peak trails are typically easy to follow, but occasionally you may need to stop and look around a bit for a faded or lichen-covered marker.

a sample trail junction sign pointing the way (Acadia National Park) -- © 2013 Joe Braun Photography

Ethics of Hiking in Acadia:

Since Acadia National Park gets over two million visitors each year, minimizing the effect of human impact is crucial. Please practice the "leave no trace" ethic, including these specifics:

What to Bring on Hikes:

Best Hikes in Acadia National Park

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