Acadia National Park dominates much of Mount Desert Island. It covers more than 40,000 acres or about two-thirds of the island. Opened in 1916 the park also extends beyond Mount Desert Island. It includes sections of Isle au Haut, a separate island to the south west, and Schoodi Penninsula on the mainland.
You’ll find the park is a feast of natural sights. Native plant, land and marine mammals and birds and waterfowl thrive in the shore, woodland and mountain regions. Bring your camping, hiking, jogging gear. You can also travel the park on propane-fueled buses free of charge.
Cadillac Mountain, one of the major attractions of the park, is the tallest peak of the island at 1,520 feet. It overlooks the town of Bar Harbor and gives you a stunning view of the Porcupine Islands and Frenchman Bay to the east.
One of the best ways to see the panoramic views of the ocean front, wooded areas and mountain rises is to travel the Park Loop Road system. Be sure your itinerary includes a stop at the Sieur de Monts Spring area. The spring was the inspiration of George B. Dorr who started the conservation movement that created the park. Here you’ll see the Nature Center, the Abbe Museum and the Wild Gardens of Acadia.
Located on the southern tip of the park you’ll find Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, the only lighthouse on the island. Take the short ferry ride to Little Cranberry Island where the Islesford Historical Museum features the story of the island and its people using ship models and exhibits.
How the park came into existence makes a dramatic story of vision and concern for protecting the land for future generations to enjoy. Affluent families such as the Rockefellers, Morgans, Fords, Vanderbilts, Carnegies, and Astors had discovered the island and made it into their summer playground. In keeping with their lifestyles they built elegant “cottages” that rivaled their grand estates in Newport, R.I
Following the lead of George B. Dorr, who began his campaign to protect the land in 1901, many of these summer visitors joined together and purchased large tracts of land and donated it to the government to form the park.
John D. Rockefellow, Jr., designed and funded the constuction of 44 miles of carriage roads from 1915 through 1933. You can use them for walking, jogging, biking and cross country skiing – no automobile traffic allowed. He also donated more than 11,000 acres of land for the park.
The park is open all year and you can take a guided tour led by a park ranger. Even though some facilities are closed during the winter, you’ll find the snow season offers many beautiful sights. Be sure to check the availability of camps and trails during the winter months.
Today it is estimated that four million visitors each year bask in the beauty of the landscape and refreshing sea air of the park.