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The Best Hiking, Biking and Camping Adventures In Acadia National Park

cadillac mountain, hike to cadillac mountain summit, acadia national park hikes, best hike in acadia national park, adventurous couple, hiking couple, mr and mrs adventureResting along the rugged coast of Maine, just outside of the quaint town of Bar Harbor, lies beautiful Acadia National Park (official NPS map here). Home to the tallest mountain on the U.S. Atlantic coast, visitors come to hike the pink granite peaks, bike the historic carriage roads and simply relax and enjoy the incredible scenery.

jordan pond, acadia national park, what to do in acadia, acadia hikesWith so many options and not enough days to do everything, though we did our best, here is our list of must-do adventures, sure to inspire, invigorate and leave you feeling ever-so-grateful for the time spent amongst such stunning nature.

jordan pond, acadia national park, what to do in acadia, acadia hikes1. One thing we had been looking forward to doing the most was summiting Acadia’s crowned jewel,  Cadillac Mountain, a MUST DO for everyone visiting the park. Naturally, this was the first thing we did!

cadillac mountain, best hikes in acadia national park, cadillac mountain trail, best hikes in america, sunset acadiaAt 1,528 feet, this mountain is the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard and is the first place to view sunrise in the United States! You can either drive up the 3.5 mile Summit Road, but we only recommend this if something is physically preventing you from hiking the pine and granite laced trail, otherwise you can start your trek from a number of trailheads, be sure to check for trail closures when planning your trip.

cadillac mountain, best hikes in acadia national park, cadillac mountain trail, best hikes in america, sunset acadiaWe went for the longest and most scenic option. Starting at Blackwoods Campground, where we would be spending the night, we embarked on the 8.4 mile loop, which took us just under 5 hours.

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cadillac mountain, best hikes in acadia national park, cadillac mountain trail, best hikes in america, trail signs acadiaThe sense of accomplishment and awe-inspiring view left us speechless upon our arrival to the summit. As we hiked the return leg back to Blackwoods we had an extra “pep in our step” thinking about the campfire and starry-night sky that awaited us.

cadillac mountain, hike to cadillac mountain summit, acadia national park hikes, best hike in acadia national park, adventurous couple, hiking couple, mr and mrs adventure2. Blackwoods Campground. If you are looking for the perfect launching pad for your Acadia adventures, Blackwoods is as good as it gets. Be sure to book in advance if you are looking to visit between May and November.

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blackwoods campground, acadia national park campgrounds, camping acadia, acadia accomodationsThere is one other campground in the park, Seawall, which is supposed to be a bit more peaceful, as it is more remote, but this also makes it farther from most of the parks must-do sites. However, if you don’t mind staying outside of the park, you absolutely must look into Mount Desert Campground, by far one of the most beautiful campsites we have ever been lucky enough to stay in. For the same price as Blackwoods you get hookups, showers and spots right along the lake, making for a stunning sunset-campfire session.

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mount desert campground, best campground in acadia national park, where to camp in maine, where to camp in acadia, where to camp in bar harbour, best campsite in america, girl with sunset 3. If you’ve tackled Cadillac and are looking to leave your hiking boots behind for a day, grab your mountain bike (rentals in Bar Harbor) and head for the 45-miles of rustic Carriage Roads which offer visitors some of the best biking trails in America.

untitled shoot-5448Built by the Rockefeller family, these dirt roads, originally purposed for horse-drawn carriages, weave around the mountains and valleys of Acadia, offering sweeping vistas and close-up views of the coastal landscape.

park loop road map, biking in acadia national park4. Looking to add more sites to our biking adventure, we decided to pair the famous Carriage Roads up with biking the Park Loop Road (map below).

park loop road

We started on the Carriage Roads, biking from Blackwoods Campground to Jordan Pond, where we enjoyed a beautiful picnic lunch. From there we rode to the Visitor Center and once we made it to Cadillac North Ridge we then merged onto the Park Loop Road (one-way map for bikers and drivers). We made various stops along the way, hiking The Beehive (written about below) and visiting Thunder Hole before returning to our campsite at the end of our 35-mile day. In our opinion Park Loop Road is the most beautiful bike ride in the entire park, we even went back the next day to walk our favorite part, the portion between Sand Beach and Otter Point.

carriage roads acadia, biking in acadia, best biking in america, mountain biking acadia national park, bike park loop road5. Acadia is also known for it’s collection of intensely vertical, iron rung trails, taking hikers up and over the cliff sides of granite boulders, testing even the most courageous of hikers. The most famous of these trails is The Beehive, rising 520-feet in just .4 miles (less than a mile roundtrip), making for a heart-pumping, mind-blowing treat.

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the beehive hike acadia, best acadia hikes, iron rung hike acadiaThe trailhead starts just off of Park Loop Road near Sand Beach and can be paired up with a number of hikes in the area. A great loop would be to park at the Gorham Mountain trailhead, then hike from that summit to the Beehive, down to Sand Beach, then on to Thunder Hole at high tide, ending with an incredible sunset at Otter Point… Bam! Now that’s one awesome adventure.

the beehive hike acadia, best acadia hikes, iron rung hike acadia6. Needing a bit of relief from all that hiking and biking, the Jordan Pond Shore Trail offers full-nature immersion with minimal exertion, making it fun and enjoyable for everyone. Plus it’s another great excuse to enjoy a picnic by the pond or to indulge in the Jordan Pond House‘s famous baked popovers and afternoon tea, an Acadia tradition since the late 1800’s!

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jordan pond trail, shore trail jordan pond acadia national park, walking trails acadiaThis 3.3-mile loop around the pond is a dirt trail on the right (looking out from the Pond House), while the other half is lined with narrow wooden planks. We loved the wooden plank section, though we noticed people with strollers and canes who were experiencing some difficulties.

jordan pond trail, shore trail jordan pond acadia national park, walking trails acadia6. While walking along the Shore Trail, we came upon the trailhead for The Bubbles, another must-do for those looking to experience the most impressive vistas in the park.

bubbles hike jordan pond, north bubble acadia hike, south bubble acadia hike, balanced rock acadia hikeWe recommend starting your hike by going along the right side of Jordan Pond and ascending the South Bubble first, after a steep climb you will reach the summit where you will find the famous “Balanced Rock.”

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bubbles hike jordan pond, north bubble acadia hike, south bubble acadia hike, balanced rock acadia hikeOnce you’ve enjoyed the views and taken some iconic photos, continue along the trail and head on over to the North Bubble, from which you will see one of the best views overlooking the glistening Jordan Pond.

bubbles hike jordan pond, north bubble acadia hike, south bubble acadia hike, balanced rock acadia hikeIf we had more time we would have summited the park’s namesake, Acadia Mountain, and if the trail wasn’t closed for Peregrine Falcon nesting we would have been all over Precipice Trail, the most challenging and well known hiking trail in Acadia National Park with an exposed and almost vertical 1,000 foot climb up the east face of Champlain Mountain!

bubbles hike jordan pond, north bubble acadia hike, south bubble acadia hike, balanced rock acadia hikeWith so much beauty to behold, you really can’t go wrong with anything you do in Acadia.

Tips:

You’ll want to spend a minimum of 3 days here. 4-5 is optimal, but if you stay focused you can squeeze in a fine amount of adventure and relaxation in 3 days, if need be.

Bring a wind breaker whenever you hike up mountains, the Maine winds can be brutal and cold.

Bring bug spray! Although we didn’t need it, we were told we got very lucky.

Looking to have a campfire? Pick up some wood locally, it’s readily available throughout town for about $3/ bundle.

Bring quarters (and a towel) if you want to shower, all campgrounds have coin operated showers ONLY. Blackwoods and Seawall showers were $2/4 minutes.

Before you leave town be sure to treat yourself to the finest and freshest Maine Lobster at the Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound More than a meal, it’s a true experience from start to finish. You pick out your lobster, weigh it, steam it and Josette will even help show you how to eat it! This was definitely one of Drew’s favorite highlights of the trip:

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8 Comments

  1. Reply

    Emily Farewell

    October 1, 2016

    Awesome post! My boyfriend and I are travel photographers and will be hitting all 58 National Parks. Acadia will be the first stop to our adventure! We cannot wait! Thanks you for the ideas and the pictures are great! You guys look like you had a blast!! You can follow our travels on our website!! 🙂

    • Reply

      mrandmrsadventure

      October 4, 2016

      What an incredible adventure you have ahead of you!! The more time we spend outside of the US, the more we realize how absolutely incredible the US National Parks truly are! Enjoy it all. And if you like hiking consider summating Katadin 😉

  2. Reply

    T&M

    September 27, 2016

    Thank you for the tips! We are planning a trip this coming spring and all your information has been very helpful!

    • Reply

      mrandmrsadventure

      September 28, 2016

      Oooo, it is such a beautiful, beautiful place. You will love it! So glad to help 🙂

  3. Reply

    Karen

    June 11, 2015

    LOVE reading all your posts!! I was wondering if you have a hiking pack you would recommend? I’m doing the half dome day hike in a month and am looking for suggestions.

    • Reply

      mrandmrsadventure

      June 11, 2015

      We appreciate the kind words 🙂 Half Dome is an incredible full day hike. If you haven’t already seen our post on it, you can see it here. We would recommend the JanSport Equinox 22 Pack or the Helena 22 You will want to bring lunch, snacks, sunscreen, water, bugspray, a headlamp, gloves for the cables, and a good amount of water. Have a wonderful time!

  4. Reply

    Vidya Murugan

    June 10, 2015

    We were there for the Memorial Day weekend. Loved every minute of it 🙂
    Post coming up soon!

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