Two of Dave and my favorite outdoor activities are cycling and hiking; both which are plentiful at Acadia National Park. After leaving the gorgeous landscapes of the Canadian Maritimes, I was afraid I would be disappointed at our next stops, but Acadia was beyond stunning. And the best part, it is one of the very few US National Parks that is dog friendly. Win Win!
Before arriving at Acadia, we stopped at the Pine Grove Campground, located in the northeastern corner of Maine. The campground was just that – a campground in the middle of pine groves. It smelled great. The only downside was there was pine tar everywhere! The campground was right on the Penobscot River, where Murphy met Millie, another chocolate lab, and had a great time swimming. Dave and I took a canoe out (good thing we went upstream first…we didn’t even have to paddle on the return trip). We also hiked to the summit of nearby Barnard Mountain. Unfortunately, it rained 2 of our 4 days there, so we didn’t explore as much as we would have liked. We did get the truck washed after a couple of off-road mountain adventures to find the trail heads. In Maine, the water is heated in the car wash bays. It’s fun to wash a truck with warm water. Oh, and, we had campfires with s’mores. Yummy.
On to Acadia National Park, where we camped at an RV park just 15 minutes outside of Acadia (even at just 35’, our RV is too large to fit in most National Park campgrounds). It was a great starting place to explore a small part of the 47,000 acres of ocean, forest, lakes and mountains. Rather than just 5 nights, we easily could have stayed two or more weeks to really explore more of the park. The weather was gorgeous when we were here; waking up to 60 degrees with highs in the low 70’s. Perfect! And no rain either. We were so lucky.
For a bit of history, the area surrounding Acadia was often visited by those more affluent, in search of social and recreational activities. As the nearby Bar Harbor area began to grow, several conservationists led by George Dorr, established the Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations, initially acquiring 6,000 acres of land in 1913. The group donated the land to the federal government, continued to acquire more land, and eventually in 1919, President Wilson signed an act proclaiming the area the Lafayette National Park. In 1929, the name was changed to Acadia National Park, after the Acadian settlers.
We packed a lot into our short visit to Acadia as you will see below. Upon arriving, we headed to the town of Bar Harbor and had a scrumptious meal at a pet friendly Irish Pub right on the waterfront. The next day, we got up at 3:45 a.m. to make our way to the top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia to watch the sunrise. It was gorgeous! Cadillac Mountain only has so many parking spaces, so you must make a reservation before heading up the mountain. Dave had reserved this day for us when we initially did our route planning and it ended up being a sunrise picture perfect morning.
After watching the sunrise and taking a walk around the summit, we made our way to Jordan Pond, for a walk around the lake and a hike up to the top of South Bubble Rock. We had lots of rocks to scramble over on the way up and unfortunately, Murphy wasn’t able to make it up to summit due to some sheer rocks to climb over. Murphy and I headed back down, back over the rocks (or I say they were boulders). It’s much easier going up the rocks than down for me, but Murphy had a blast traversing around, down, and over the large rocks. Dave continued on to the summit. Murphy and I met him on his way down the other side (of course, with a much easier descent).
The next morning, we set off to ride the carriage trails in the park. There are 45 miles of carriage trails, the gift of John D. Rockefeller, Jr and his family. Rockefeller, who was a skilled horseman, wanted to travel on motor-free byways via horse and carriage into the heart of Mount Desert (now Acadia National Park). The construction of the 16-foot-wide carriage trails began in 1913 and continued through 1940. The trails were designed to follow the contours of the hillsides, save trees, which resulted in wonderful scenic views. A ride on another day took us around several stone carved bridges. Of course, I forgot to stop and take any pictures of the bridges, most which are over 100 years old.
One of Murphy’s favorite hikes was at Little Long Pond. Situated in a 1,000-acre nature preserve donated by the Rockefeller family, dogs are allowed to be off leash on the trails and 4 designated swim areas on the pond. Murphy was in heaven! He even met a cute little golden retriever at the last swim area. She showed him off as she could leap off the top of the rocks while Murphy would carefully navigate the rocky steps to the water.
The next day we hiked a gorgeous path along the ocean, aptly named Ocean Path Trail. Along the trail was “Thunder Hole”, where the ocean swells get pushed between a narrow rocky area and cause a thunderous blast of water. One lady was standing at the end of the walkway and she was completed drenched by the water as it came rushing in.
We also hiked to the top of Beech Mountain, which was near our campground, to watch the sun set behind the magnificent mountains. There was a fire tower at the summit where I could climb up one flight of stairs for a better view. This hike also included a boulder scramble up to the summit. I’m getting to understand this is pretty common on the mountains around Acadia.
On our departure day, we snuck in a shorter, easier hike to visit tidal pools at Bass Harbor. It was near a light station which we also glimpsed a peak on our way back to our campground.
I found this description of Acadia in a “Maine Invites You” travel brochure. It’s a great description.
“Inside Acadia National Park, you’ll see stunners at every turn: Dramatic granite cliffs plunging down to the churning Atlantic, home to humpback and finback whales, and sprawling pink stone ledges leading to water of the deepest blue. You can swim or paddle in a crystal-clear mountain lake, hike to stunning bald summits that rise dramatically from the sea, and navigate around fascinating “glacial erratics” – huge boulders that were churned up and left behind by ancient glaciers. It’s an unbelievable park”.
Yes, it is.
Thanks for following along on our summer RV travels. It’s almost Fall already!
In Acadia Awe Brenda, Maine is Magnificent Dave, and I can’t wait to see what’s next Murphy.
1 thought on “Acadia National Park – Magnificent!”
Maine has such beautiful coastline, can’t they just share a couple boulders and trees with Florida?
See if you can arrange that before you leave 😉
I love the pics of Mr. Murphy enjoying the water (even if all I can see is a head and a stick) !