This story was initially revealed in January 2021.
With snow-dusted granite peaks and icicle-adorned sea cliffs, Acadia Nationwide Park holds a particular magnificence within the winter. And whereas some roads are closed, a lot of the park stays simply accessible for quite a lot of out of doors actions reminiscent of cross-country snowboarding, ice skating and snowshoeing.
Acadia was named as certainly one of America’s prime 20 prettiest nationwide parks within the winter by The Wilderness Society. And it has made it on a number of comparable lists of locations to go to within the winter. But visitation to Acadia is way decrease within the winter than some other time of yr. So when you’re trying to keep away from crowds, it’s the right time to go to.
“Winter in Acadia is magical,” mentioned Lisa Horsch Clark, director of growth and donor relations for Mates of Acadia. “It’s good that individuals nonetheless come right here within the winter as a result of they get to see it in a a lot much less congested time, and I really feel you get a deeper connection to the park while you don’t have as many individuals round. It’s simply you and the mountains and the timber and the sky.”
To get you began, listed here are some straightforward winter adventures in Acadia on Mount Desert Island.
Ski across the ponds
If there’s sufficient snow and the bottom is frozen strong, cross-country snowboarding is permitted on Acadia’s 45 miles of clean carriage roads. About 32 miles of these carriage roads are groomed by volunteers of the Acadia Winter Trails Affiliation. For probably the most up-to-date details about the groomed trails, go to the Mates of Acadia web site at friendsofacadia.org.
Some sections of the carriage roads are hillier and more difficult than others. For freshmen, the carriage roads that loop round Eagle Lake are a great choice, and so they’re simply accessible from a parking space on the north finish of the lake, off Eagle Lake Street. To loop across the total lake it’s 3.6 miles.
One other in style loop is the three.1-mile Witch Gap Pond Loop, nevertheless this journey begins with a large hill which may be difficult for freshmen. To ski this loop, begin on the Hulls Cove Customer Heart and ski in on a 0.7-mile entry path. Factoring that distance in, the route is 4.5 miles.
Snowshoeing can also be permitted on groomed carriage roads, so long as you keep away from stepping on the parallel ski tracks. When you’re strolling with a canine, ensure the canine stays off the tracks as nicely.
Snowmobile the Park Loop Street
When there’s sufficient snow on the bottom, snowmobile journey is permitted on the 27-mile Park Loop Street system, together with the highway up Cadillac Mountain. Snowmobiling can also be allowed on most hearth roads. The trick is hitting the park when circumstances are proper. Understand that Mount Desert Island typically receives far much less snow than different areas of Maine. If uncertain about whether or not or not the island has snow, try the Maine snow depth map up to date each day by the Nationwide Climate Service.
Snowmobilers are inspired to make the most of the Hulls Cove Customer Heart parking zone to entry the winter snowmobile routes. Earlier than visiting, you should definitely evaluate the park pointers for snowmobiling at nps.gov/acad. Snowmobiling isn’t permitted on climbing trails or carriage roads (aside from the east facet of Eagle Lake to make the connection to the Park Loop Street). The Park Loop Street and Cadillac Summit Street options loads of beautiful views of the island and ocean.
Stroll alongside the shore
On the southwest facet of the island, each the Wonderland Path (1.4 miles, out and again) and Ship Harbor Nature Path (a 1.3-mile path within the form of a determine eight) will lead you to ocean views and rocky seashores. Positioned off Seawall Street, their trailheads are shut collectively, so if you wish to prolong your outing, you possibly can hike each.
On the east facet of the island, the Nice Head Path varieties a 1.4-mile loop that traces the rocky shore and is a little more difficult, with loads of ups and downs and particularly rocky sections. The path results in the best level of Nice Head, a cliff that rises 145 toes above sea stage, and the ruins of a teahouse that was constructed round 1920.
This journey may even provide the choice of visiting the well-known Sand Seashore, which is way much less crowded within the winter than it’s throughout hotter months. And close by, you possibly can stroll from Sand Seashore to Otter Level on the simple Ocean Path for one more enjoyable winter journey.
Ice skate on ponds and lakes
Skating on wild ice is a well-liked exercise in Acadia, when the circumstances are proper. It’s extraordinarily vital to examine the thickness and high quality of the ice to make sure it’s secure sufficient for skating. This may be executed by drilling a gap within the ice or consulting native fishermen (you might even see some on the market while you arrive at a pond or lake).
A useful useful resource to remain updated about ice in Maine is a web based map created by Lake Stewards of Maine that exhibits ice-in and ice-out dates for various lakes and ponds all through Maine. Nonetheless this map doesn’t point out whether or not or not the ice is secure for ice skating or different actions reminiscent of ice fishing.
Whereas individuals ice skate on lots of Acadia’s lakes and ponds, a few of the most accessible locations to skate within the park are Eagle Lake, Lengthy Pond, Echo Lake and Seal Cove Pond. Nonetheless, a few of the hottest locations to ice skate on MDI are simply exterior the park, at Somes Pond and Little Lengthy Pond (which is within the Land and Backyard Protect).
Understand that bigger, deeper our bodies of water are inclined to take longer to type ice that’s secure for recreation. Additionally, ice often thins or disappears in inlets, shops and different areas of working water. Carrying ice security picks (or awls), carrying a rope and at all times skating with a buddy can even enhance your security whereas out on the ice.
Hike a small mountain
If in search of a straightforward mountain hike, strive Flying Mountain. At 284 toes above sea stage, it’s one of many lowest peaks in Acadia Nationwide Park, but from the uncovered bedrock at its prime, hikers are rewarded with nice views of the ocean. The climb to the highest is simply 0.3-mile, however you possibly can lengthen the hike by persevering with previous the summit and descending to the scenic Valley Cove. The loop is 1.4 miles lengthy.
One other comparatively straightforward mountain in Acadia is Day Mountain, which rises 583 toes and options an out-and-back hike of 1.6 miles. The hike leads by means of a ravishing evergreen forest and turns into extra rocky with elevation. Overlooks close to the highest provide open views of the ocean.
Relying on circumstances, snowshoes or ice cleats could also be wanted to hike these trails safely.
Bike the roads
Wintertime is a superb alternative to bike the vast majority of Acadia’s scenic Park Loop Street with out having to look out for motor automobiles. Relying on snow and ice circumstances, chances are you’ll need to experience a fat-tire bike — which has vast tires that enable you to keep afloat on snow — or a motorcycle with studded tires.
Understand that two sections of the Park Loop Street stay open to motor automobiles all through the winter. One brief part leads into the south finish of Jordan Pond from Jordan Pond Street. And the opposite open part hyperlinks Schooner Head Street and Otter Cliff Street, offering automobile entry to Sand Seashore and Thunder Gap.
No matter winter journey you select, plan forward and put together for chilly climate. Whereas Acadia Nationwide Park is near civilization, it’s nonetheless a piece of wilderness the place individuals can develop into misplaced or injured. Reduce your dangers by packing the mandatory gear, together with an in depth path map, and take into account adventuring with a companion or two for added security and enjoyable.
Pack a tasty lunch and a few toasty drinks, bundle up and expertise the magic of winter in Acadia, whether or not by foot, bike, ski, snowshoe or skate.