Acadia National Park Bike & Hike: 7 Night Travel Itinerary & Guide
Bikers and hikers flock to Acadia National Park to experience its rugged coastline, mountains, and forests. Located in northern Maine, Acadia is best experienced on foot, horse, or two wheels. On sunny days, the views are spectacular in all directions. On foggy days, there is an other-worldly aura that hangs in the air. Our Acadia National Park 7 Day itinerary will bring you to all of the park's most beautiful spots.
The National Park maintains an extensive network of carriage roads and hiking trails (no motorized vehicles except for Class-1 e-bikes allowed). A short distance from any trailhead human traffic thins. On our Acadia National Park hike and bike itinerary, you will mostly encounter meandering streams, rock cliffs, wild flowers, ferns, crashing surf, and the occasional horse dropping.
The routes suggested in our Acadia National Park bike and hike itinerary will take you to some of Acadia's most-loved spots. The outings are designed to be completed in a 3-4 hours. Enjoy!
For more information on traveling to the Maine Coast area read our articles on:
TRAVEL GUIDE / TRAVEL TIPS
Weather: The weather changes frequently. Check the weather, tide, and sunrise/sunset forecast daily. Dress in layers. Pack bug spray, sunscreen, rain gear, and a hat on all days - no matter the forecast. Wear shoes with good ankle support and tread. Pack first aid supplies/repair kit appropriate to your activity.
Entrance Pass & Reservations: Acadia National Park requires an entrance pass (and vehicle registration for the Cadillac Summit Road in-season). Go to nps.gov for park general information, maps, and alerts, and recreation.gov to purchase entrance passes or make a vehicle registration.
Transportation: Most people use a personal vehicle to navigate Acadia. Parking lots fill up fast! The park offers a fare-free Island Explorer bus service running between lodgings and popular park sights. Go to exploreacadia.com for routes, timetables, and restrictions.
Bike Rental/Repair: There are several shops in Bar Harbor (and across the island) that will rent bikes for the day or week, or repair bikes. There are also tour companies that offer pedal and electric bike tours.
Acadia Carriage Roads: The carriage roads are gravel. They are designated-use for hikers, bikers, and horses (see forest service map for details). For electric bikes: only Class-1 e-bikes are allowed (no Class-2 or -3). The roads have some steep portions, but many more long, gentle grades (can be tough for smaller children). There are directional signs posted at major junctures (we found the signs more confusing than helpful - study your map). You will find paved parking lots throughout the park to access the trails/carriage roads; some have restrooms.
Acadia Hiking Trails: Are maintained by the National Park Service. They tend to be well-groomed and signed. You can download trail maps through nps.gov, and we like the trail descriptions on the Joe's Guide to Acadia National Park site www.citrusmilo.com.
ACADIA NATIONAL PARK 7 DAY TRAVEL ITINERARY
Day 1: Travel Day. Hull's Cove Visitor Center. Drive Acadia Park Loop Road
Travel day and check-in. Then, take a ride to the Hulls Cove Visitor Center. Hike up 52 steps to the main building. Purchase park entrance/vehicle registration(s) if you did not buy online. Stock up on carriage road and hiking maps. Learn about the upcoming weather and park alerts.
Leaving Hulls Cove, continue on Acadia Park Look Road toward Sand Beach. Take a drive around the 27 mile road to get on overview of the area.
Day 2: Bike Eagle Lake Carriage Road Loop. Explore Bar Harbor. Walk the Bar Harbor Shore Path.
Park in the Bubble Pond parking lot. Bike the short connector road to Eagle Lake. Begin the Eagle Lake loop at marker 7. The ride has long, gentle hills. Gorgeous forested trails with some lake views. (About 6.24 miles.)
Early afternoon head to Bar Harbor. Park at the Town Pier, and explore the waterfront. Then, locate the Bar Harbor Shore Path in front of Agamont Park. Follow the half-mile path past inns, cottages, and the dramatic eastern shore.
Next, discover downtown Bar Harbor. This thriving seaside town seems to always be hopping. There are great bakeries and coffee shops, bars, restaurants, souvenirs, and stores offering high quality wares. Go to our Bar Harbor Getaway and Restaurant Guide post for more info on Bar Harbor.
Day 3: Bike Jordan Pond / Bubble Pond Carriage Road Loop. Sunset at Cadillac Mountain
Park in the Jordan Pond House parking lot. Bike the loop that passes by Jordan Pond and Bubble Pond. Be prepared for long up and down hill intermediate grades. You will pass though woods and by beautiful bridges. There are dramatic vistas and lake/pond views. (About 8 miles.)
Have lunch at the Jordan Pond House restaurant, and enjoy a free afternoon. At sunset, drive to the top of the Cadillac Mountain Summit Road. Explore the summit and enjoy the views at sunset (or the eerie stillness of the mountain top while shrouded in fog).
Day 4: Hike the Acadia Ocean Path. Road Trip to Northeast Harbor. Beachcomb on Bar Island
Leave early, pack a picnic and your camera. Drive to Acadia's Park Loop Road and park in the Sand Beach lot (rest rooms available). Note: There is overflow parking along the right-hand lane of the road. The day begins with a hike of the Acadia Ocean Path (4 mile round trip from Sand Beach to Otter's Point).
The mostly-flat trail follows one of the most scenic portions of the coastline. The path parallels Acadia Park Loop Road (only a few portions abut the roadway). For long portions of the path you can go off-trail to climb across wide expanses of rock that drop off into the crashing surf. Allow around 3 hours for the hike, and the following stops:
Stop 1 - Sand Beach: Amazing scenery and sandy beach.
Stop 2 - Thunder Hole: Blow hole where waves crash with a roar.
Stop 3 - Monument Cove: Pass by a small, rocky stretch of coast with striking granite formations.
Stop 4 - Boulder Beach: Cove littered with bowling ball sized rocks worn smooth from the surf.
Stop 5 - Otter Cliff and Point: Dramatic cliffs that are a favorite of rock climbers and rocks to relax on.
After returning to Sand Beach have a picnic lunch and beach time. Then, continue on Park Loop Road. Turn off onto Route 3, and drive to Northeast Harbor. Park in the lot by the marina. Explore the wharf before walking up the hill to the downtown area where you will find an array of interesting shops and cafes. There is a lovely, low-key pace to this area.
Later in the day, if you still have the urge to explore, drive to Bridge Street in Bar Harbor. At the end of the road, at low tide, water from the bay disappears and there is a natural land bridge leading to Bar Island. If the tides are right, hike to Bar Island. Trek it's rocky perimeter or ascend the hill for spectacular sunset views of Bar Harbor. TIP: The land bridge can be crossed 1.5 hours before/after low tide (or the area floods).
Day 5: Bike the Schoodic Peninsula. Visit Winter Harbor
Drive to Acadia's Schoodic Peninsula. Situated on the mainland, the peninsula is about an hour's drive from the Hulls Cove Visitor Center. Park at the Visitor's Center and bike the 6 mile, one-way park loop road. You will share the road with motorized vehicles. However, the rocky, windblown landscapes of the Schoodic peninsula are less crowded than Mt. Desert Island.
On the way back to Mt. Desert Island, stop in the fishing village of Winter Harbor. Look back at Bar Harbor from the boat launch at Henry's Cove. There are few small shops, eateries, and a pretty little inn to visit.
Day 6: Hike the Great Head Trail. Picnic at Sand Beach. Late afternoon sail.
Pack a picnic. Drive to Sand Beach and park in the lower lot. At the far eastern edge of Sand Beach find the base of the Great Head Trail (2.2 km). The trail follows the perimeter of the Great Head peninsula. It climbs past pink granite formations for terrific views of Otter Cliffs and Thunder Hole.
When you have finished your hike, enjoy Sand Beach. Find a spot at the end of the beach where the tidal pools gather in the shadow of the Beehive Mountain. If you feel like more exercise, take the Ocean Path to scamper across the long expanses of rock that parallel the trail.
This afternoon/evening get out on the water. There are tours for every taste and ability. You can ride on a lobster boat, spot seals, bird watch, see lighthouses, or set sail on a schooner. TIP: Bar Harbor has the greatest concentration of tours.
Day 7: Bike around the 3 Lakes (Carriage Roads). Evening in Bar Harbor
Last ride! Today, park in the Jordan Pond House parking lot. Bike an extended loop that connects the Eagle Lake and Jordan/Bubble pond loops (About 12 miles.) Glorious landscapes and lots of lake views.
Enjoy a relaxing afternoon. Spend the evening in Bar Harbor.
Day 8: Travel Day Home
Safe travels home, Laura and Randy
For more information on traveling to the Acadia National Park area read our articles on: