5 Main(e) Reasons Why you Should Visit Acadia National Park
A few weeks ago when I was in Barnes and Noble, I was looking at the camping and hiking section (of course), when I stumbled across a book on Acadia National Park, which brought a smile to face, because this park holds a dear place in my heart. It was a place I had spent 8 summers of my life hiking, biking, and swimming.
The park is located in Maine on, Mount Desert Island, taking up a good chunk of the island. It was established on July 8, 1916 and had 3.3 million visitors last year. Here are 5 Main(e) reasons why you should be one of the next to travel through the park this year.
1. The Precipice Trail, Champlain Mountain
One of the most famous and difficult trails in Acadia, with almost 1,000 feet of straight up vertical hiking on the eastern side of Champlain Mountain, the hike is recommended for the physically fit and experienced hikers who do not have a fear of heights or the crazy ones like me. You can see the vertical part of the climb from the parking lot of Sand Beach. When I first saw it as a 10 year old I fell in love and wanted nothing more than to climb it. For the first few summers I was only able to hike half the trail until my father would make us turn around. It wasn’t until I was about 13 or 14 is when my father (who has somewhat of a fear of steep heights) and I made the full climb to the top.
When planning for the hike and climb, it is recommended that you check the weather, because I highly recommend that you don’t do this on a hot day, and don’t hike it alone, because I’ve seen people come out of the trail on stretchers from a nasty fall and the last thing you need is to be alone and take a tumble. Another suggestion bring LOTS of water, because it’s gonna be a long day. There are iron rungs and ladders to assist you during the 1,000 feet of strenuous climbing. However, I can assure you that this journey is worth it at the end once you’re standing on top looking over the rest of the Park. I can not tell you the amount of happiness and accomplishment I felt when I was finally able to reach the top that day.
The trip sounds completely crazy, but it’s well worth it and not as bad as I or others make it out to be. If you’re a hiker and loves Maine, this trail is a must.
2. The Sunrise on Cadillac Mountain
People are always posting quotes about how you should be staying up to see the sunrise and live life in the moment. Here’s one place you should go to channel your inner cliche live life to fullest facebook post.
Where to do this you may ask? On top of Cadillac Mountain located in the national park, Cadillac Mountain stands at 1,530 feet and is the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard. It is the first place the view the sunrise in the United States from October 7th through March 6th.
Vasts amounts of people gather each morning either making the hike or drive up the summit to see “the nation’s first sunrise.” This is something that every person experience hiker or not. Despite being cold on a mountain at 5:30 in the morning, it’s totally worth it. Nothing quite compares to seeing a sky full of dark red, pink, orange, and yellow clouds gathering while the sun also rises (English majors see what I did there).
3. Thunder Hole
Probably the loudest places in Acadia (the name gives it away) and one of the most interesting. First off you might be wondering what is Thunder Hole and what makes it so special? In the simplest of terms it’s just the ocean water crashing up against rocks, it sounds stupid and boring, but believe me it’s not.
Thunder Hole is a small inlet and is naturally carved out of rock, where the waves roll into. At the end of the inlet down deep below, is a small chamber where, when a rush of waves arrives, air and water is forced out, thus producing a noise that resembles the sound of a distant clap of thunder.
The best time to visit thunder hole is during high tide, where water can spout as high as 40 feet. I would also advise if you do go during high tide, wear clothes you don’t mind getting wet, because the water will hit you when you least expect it.
4. Sand Beach
Sand beach is not your typical beach, it’s not lined with boardwalks and all that good stuff, but what makes it so special is it sits between granite mountains and rocky shores. The water rarely hits above 55 degrees during the summer, but that doesn’t stop anyone from jumping in during the hot New England Summer months.
If you travel toward the end of the beach you can also access a series of hiking trails, where you can view the beach as a whole from up above and once you’re done you can cool off in the nice cold water, it can’t get any better than that.
Besides the trails located on the beach, you can also access more near the parking area, where you can hike oceanside. The one that takes you oceanside is not strenuous or hard at all, it’s all flat and takes you along the ocean where you can stop and sit on top of gigantic rocks while looking out into the ocean.
5. The Over 120 Miles of Trails to Chose From
There’s a trail for everyone in this national park, from super easy to super strenuous. Most easy and flat hikes in the park are waterside, so you get an easy walk with a beautiful view, which is a win win for everyone. Some of best hikes that are easy and flat are the Ocean Trail, Wonderland, and the Jordan Pond Nature Trail.
There are also trails a tad bit harder, but still fairly easy. They require a little more effort, but aren’t going to break you. The Carriage Roads are perfect for this and if you don’t want to walk, you can also ride your bike on these trails, which is a very popular choice.
Acadia is great for Moderate hikes and there are plenty to chose from. these trails won’t leave you struggling for air while hiking, but you’ll definitely be feeling the burn sometimes while hiking them, but they’re totally worth the views you’ll see. Some of the best moderate hikes in the park are Jordan Pond Shore Trail, Cadillac Mountain North Ridge Trail and the Bubble Rock Trail.
Then there leaves us with one last kind of trail: the strenuous ones. They sound scary and hard, probably making you want to shy away from them, but I can assure you most aren’t as bad as they seem. Plus when you get done with some of those trails you’ll have major bragging rights and sound like a total bad ass, and I mean who doesn’t love that? Some of the best trails in the park that are on the strenuous side are the Precipice Trail, Cadillac Mountain South Ridge Trail, and the Beehive trail.