Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park is located on Mount Desert Island, along the coast of Maine about halfway between New Hampshire and New Brunswick, Canada. The 80,000-acre island is connected to the mainland by a short bridge and causeways. It is 18 miles long, 14 miles wide, and roughly shaped like a lobster claw.
Scoured and reformed by the powerful action of glaciers many thousands of years ago, the island is divided into distinct east and west sections by Somes Sound, the only natural fiord on the East Coast of the U.S. Frenchman Bay lies to the east, while Blue Hill Bay lies to the west.
The park is 46,000 acres in overall size. 30,000 acres are located on Mount Desert Island, with the remaining acreage on Schoodic Peninsula to the east across Frenchman Bay, on Isle au Haut offshore to the south, and among a number of other scattered islands.
A range of coarse-grained pink granite mountains – 26 in all, with 8 over 1,000 feet in elevation – extend across the island from east to west. Cadillac Mountain rises to 1,528 feet, the highest point not only on Mount Desert Island, but on the entire eastern seaboard of the U.S. It is a premier spot for watching sunrises and sunsets.
In the U-shaped valleys between these lovely mountains are quiet forests of coniferous and deciduous trees, and a multitude of streams, meadows, and peatlands that support over 1,200 plant species. Some 20 pristine glacial lakes and ponds hold a thriving population of brook trout, lake trout, landlocked salmon, and smallmouth bass.
Mount Desert Island lies on the edge of the Gulf of Maine, one of the most biologically active and productive bodies of water on the planet. Gulf waters support an amazing variety of marine life, from plankton and invertebrates to fish and mammals. The 41 miles of coastal shoreline is comprised of cliffs and tidepools; sand, boulder and cobble beaches, mud flats and tidal marshes, and many islands large and small.
A wealth of wildlife are found on Mount Desert Island, where 40 species of mammals, 11 species of amphibians, 7 species of reptiles, and 230 bird species make their home. From eagles and ospreys, deer and fox to frogs and turtles, seagulls and puffins, the land of Acadia is brimming with life. In the ocean waters surrounding the island are found 12 marine mammals, including a variety of whales, seals, dolphins, and porpoises.
Permanent protection for the lands that now comprise Acadia National Park was sought by citizens concerned about overdevelopment in the early part of the 20th century, most notably Charles Eliot, George Dorr, and John D. Rockefeller, and in 1916, the Sieur de Monts National Monument was established. In 1919, the monument became Lafayette National Park. The name was changed to Acadia National Park in 1929.
Today, more than three million visitors come to the park each year to recreate, reflect, relax, and refresh amid the stunning natural landscape of mountains and ocean, islands and cliffs, lakes and trees, blue skies and pink granite.
The 120 miles of hiking trails, 45 miles of historic carriage roads, and the 27-mile paved Park Loop Road are three of the most popular ways to view the must-see points of interest in the park. Recreational opportunities abound for the entire family and all interests and abilities. There’s hiking and bicycling, sea kayaking and canoeing, sailing and boating, swimming and picnicking. Sightseeing tours by bus, boat, trolley, horse-drawn carriage, airplane, ferry, and schooner allow every visitor a unique opportunity to see and enjoy the special places in Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island.