Acadia National Park protects a scenic landscape of coastal islands and glacially sculpted mountains rising from a bold rocky Atlantic coastline. The park offers visitors a broad range of experiences through a designed network of historic carriage roads, hiking trails, and motor roads interwoven through a mosaic of diverse ecological systems. Acadia is the oldest eastern national park and the first national park created from private lands gifted to the public through the efforts of conservation-minded citizens. The park supports and benefits from a continuing legacy of more than 100 years of scientific investigation.
- July 8, 1916 Sieur de Monts National Monument
- February 26, 1919 Lafayette National Park
- January 19, 1929 Acadia National Park
Location and Area
Most of Acadia National Park is on Mount Desert Island (MDI), located mid-way along Maine’s coast. The park is a one-hour drive to the southeast from Bangor. Schoodic Peninsula and seven other islands including Isle au Haut are also preserved. Acadia holds over 49,000 acres:
- 31,000 on Mount Desert Island
- 2,900 on Isle au Haut
- 2,400 on Schoodic Peninsula and associated islands
- 13,000 in conservation easements
- Fifth smallest national park, one of the top 10 visited national parks
- More than 150 miles of hiking trails (129 on MDI)
- 45 miles of carriage roads in park
- Park Loop Road—27 miles
- 26 mountains—8 mountains over 1000 feet (Cadillac, 1530; Dorr, 1,270; Penobscot, 1,194; Champlain, 1,058; Sargent, 1,373; Pemetic, 1,248; Bernard, 1,071; Gilmore, 1,036)
- Cadillac Mountain’s summit is the highest point on the eastern seaboard between Newfoundland and Rio de Janeiro. From October 7 to March 6, the sun touches the peak of Cadillac Mountain before any other place in the continental United States.
- 26 lakes and ponds on Mount Desert Island (Deepest lake: Jordan Pond – 150 feet)
- 2.5 million visitors in 2014
Flora and Fauna
- 1,101 species of flowering plants
- 40 species of mammals
- 11 species of amphibians
- 7 species of reptiles
- 338 species of birds
- 24 species of fish
- More than a thousand species of invertebrates
Acadia National Park’s weather is largely a product of latitude and marine influences. Precipitation occurs in every form. Rain falls in every month with an annual average of 48″. The park also has a respectable annual average of 61″ of snow. The tempering maritime conditions, however, with frequent freezing and thawing, prevent large, long-term accumulations. On a daily and annual basis, Maine temperatures are more severe inland than they are on Mount Desert Island and on the coast in general.
Popular Park Activities
- Camping (Blackwoods, Seawall, and [to be opened July 2015] Schoodic Woods campgrounds)
- Carriage Rides
- Educational Programs (Ranger-led activities, Schoodic Education and Research Center programs)
- Museums/Nature Centers (the Islesford Historical Museum, the Abbe Museum, Sieur de Monts Nature Center, and the Wild Gardens of Acadia)
- Rock Climbing
- Winter Activities (cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ice skating)
The Park Loop Road: A 27-mile paved road carries visitors through some of the most beautiful features of the park. The road affords views of the Gulf of Maine and Acadia’s rocky coastline, winds through quiet woods and around mountains, past large glacial lakes, and ascends Cadillac Mountain. Favorite destinations along the Loop Road include Sieur de Monts, Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, Otter Cliffs, the Jordan Pond House, and the Cadillac Mountain Summit.
Westside of Mount Desert Island: Just south of Southwest Harbor, Route 102A provides access to another coastal section of Acadia National Park. Sites of interest include a natural seawall, Seawall Picnic area, Seawall Campground, Wonderland and Ship Harbor Trails, and the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse.
Schoodic Peninsula: 1.5 hours “downeast” of Bar Harbor, Schoodic is the only part of the park located on the mainland. The 7-mile one-way loop road offers views of the rugged coast.
Sargeant Drive: In addition to the Park Loop Road, state and county roads offer scenic views. Sargeant Drive skirts the edge of Somes Sound. Access is from Northeast Harbor or off State Route 198.
Plus almost 30 commercial, educational, management, science, and trail-work partners