Last week my girlfriend and I had the opportunity to explore and enjoy one of our beautiful National Parks, Acadia, in celebration of this year's National Park Service Centennial. Our National Parks never cease to amaze me and we are all incredibly fortunate to have so many amazing places to explore in this country. Below you will read a little bit about our trip in the park as well as some of my favorite spots where we explored or grabbed a bite to eat. So without further ado. Enjoy!
It's not a proper visit to Maine without making a stop to have some of the finest lobstah around. Fueling up at Bar Harbor Beerworks before heading to camp and exploring the park.
The top of Cadillac Mountain and the surrounding areas are very popular and can be very busy anytime of day. Look closely and you can see everyone catching a glimpse of the sunset. Who can blame everyone when the rewarding views are abound on this mountain. Cadillac Mountain is the highest peak along the North Atlantic seaboard. It is also the first spot to catch a sunrise in the U.S. between the months of October and March. Absolutely awesome!
That's not to say you won't get a chance to take in solitude, breathtaking views and snap some photos without others around in them. All it takes is a little exploring to find that perfect spot. Here's one of my favorite overlooks from the summit during this trip. Looking out toward Mt Desert Narrows, Frenchman Bay and towering peaks off in the distance.
This trail may be short but it is equally strenuous as it is exhilarating. It has instantly become one of my favorite trails on the east coast and in Maine. Here's why...
I like a good challenge. Right from the start this trail gives you just that. As you make your way along this stony pathway you eventually make a small climb to this:
This is where the fun begins, but don't forget to hike with caution to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you. If it has rained or is going to rain you'll want to save this spot for another day. It can be slippery even on sunny days due to the salty air hitting the weathered and exposed pink granite.
The views begin and never disappoint. Here's a view from the trail overlooking Sand Beach down below.
Watch your step. Here's one of your crossings along the edge of the trail.
Rungs are then provided in multiple spots to provide you with leverage and security to help aid you along the trail to the top. Some spots along this trail are almost completely vertical and will require some scrambling.
Get through that and you'll be making your way to the Beehive Summit. The views from there are worth the climb.
Here's one of them.
As we continued down to The Bowl, we then followed a short boardwalk path by the pond itself and continued up toward Champlain Mountain.
If you choose to continue your hike here as well, you'll have a few ups and downs to the peak. Quite a bit of this trail is so exposed to the elements once painted blazes can take quite a beating. To help with additional navigation, we used the Bates Cairns. These small stone structures are easily noticeable and placed not only to help with direction, but to ensure foot travel is not made on the fragile plants you can enjoy viewing during your hike.
The summit of Champlain. The views from atop here are everywhere just like the top of Cadillac Mountain. I'll leave those for you to enjoy should you decide to make the trip to this peak. Just look for this marker though and you'll know you're there.
Overlooking The Bowl on the way back down. The Beehive is to the left and Gorham Mountain to the right.
Who doesn't love the ocean? We had to make a stop to Sand Beach to enjoy the sights and smells of this classic Maine coastline.
I am really proud of this shot. During our time on the beach here, I tried taking a couple of pictures of a seagull in mid flight but to no avail. As we began our hike back I saw one making its way toward us and just threw my camera up and snapped a photo. Luck was on my side this day.
Another one of my favorite spots visited during this trip was in the Heart of Acadia, Jordan Pond. Here we took in the views of The Bubbles, surrounding Penobscot & Sargent Mountains and the popular Jordan Pond.
Looking out onto Jordan Pond with the very distinctive Bubbles in the background. These well-rounded granite peaks sit at the north end of Jordan Pond. There is plenty of hiking around here, with mountains on either side of this prominent feature or you can even climb The Bubbles themselves. We couldn't help but get a little bit of everything in, in this area.
This was taken near the start of the hike around Jordan Pond itself. I love the unique look this has and the proof that nature always adapts to change and continues to persevere. Something I feel we can all apply to our lives.
After passing some of nature's artwork we came to another boardwalk that leads you through dense woods and along the pond for a good length stretch.
Here's a bridge crossing we made to continue along the trail.
We were also able to see some loons which I always love seeing on kayaking trips so this was a privilege.
A distance away we came to the trailhead for another steep, short climb full of rewarding views and home to the rare located boulder known as Bubble Rock. This trail is classic New England and Acadia terrain and reminded me of The Beehive. Think, White Mountains or even Mt Monadnock if you have ever been, and...
Here ya go. This trail was like nature's jungle gym and a lot of fun to scramble through. There are a few spots of reprieve, but they are few and far between.
There's some climbing.
And some spots similar to that of the Beehive Trail.
But once you make it to the top of the South Bubble...
You may want to stay awhile and just take it all in. That's what we did. Check out that view! I'm leaving Bubble Rock out of this post like I did with the views from Champlain Mountain and others so that you can come across them during your own journey out here.
After coming down from the Bubbles, we continued our way along the rest of the loop around Jordan Pond when we saw this Dark Fishing Spider. Look at the size of this thing! Certainly a well fed arachnid.
Throughout this entire hike, I was amazed at how clear the water was here. It had a purity to it that clinged to us as we hiked and cleansed our thoughts and souls. It is illegal to swim in Jordan Pond, but you can still kayak or canoe here. This definitely helps with keeping the waters of this gem as pristine as possible, while still allowing individuals to enjoy it to a certain degree.
One more view at the clarity of Jordan Pond and The Bubbles peering out from behind the trees.
Now if you make the trip out to Acadia or even hike around this area, your hike, bike or walk isn't complete without a stop to the Jordan Pond House. Along with their great gift shop the restaurant also has a gift that everyone should get, fresh popovers and blueberry lemonade.
Trust me, you will not be disappointed. The popovers are delicious and the blueberry lemonade is so fresh that they provide you with a liquid sweetener to offset the tartness of the lemons. This was very refreshing and a great way to conclude our hike here.
I love this message!
Another one of my favorite spots during our stay in Acadia was just a short walk from our campsite in Blackwoods. About a 3 minute walk and we came to a short path that led to an open view of the ocean and the beautiful pine covered rocky coastline. This was another spot where I loved to just sit, listen to the incoming tide crashing along the rocks and just soak up the view.
Home sweet home. The place where each day's trip was planned. Where lounging in the hammock sipping on fresh morning coffee happened. The stories and laughs around a campfire at night took place. The perfect spot to hear the ocean waves crashing against the rocks all from the comfort of a sleeping bag. Blackwoods was an incredible place to stay and allowed us to tap into the limitless possibilities that Acadia National Park offers us all.
If fires are allowed, it's not a proper camp without a little s'mores action. Let the marshmallow roasting commence!
One more highlight for my fellow foodies was in Bar Harbor on our way out of Acadia. This is the Great Maine Breakfast that I got at a place called Jeannie's Great Maine Breakfast. It was definitely that and satisfied my stomach so much that I wasn't too hungry for the drive back or the rest of the day. If you stop here, try the fresh strawberry rhubarb jam with the fresh baked bread. You can also read about the history of the Great Maine Breakfast which dates back quite a bit. I'll leave that to explore on your own.
Our final stop was to the Acadia Visitor Center on our way out.
Heading into the center.
Another sign I love. Thank you National Park Service for all of the hard work and dedication you put into helping preserve these special places in the U.S. for us all to enjoy and learn from. Thank you for you enthusiasm, smiles, knowledge and guidance. Finally, thank you for your inspiration and for sharing this national park and all other federal lands with us. We enjoyed every minute in Acadia and can't wait to go back and explore even more, as we barely scratched the surface.
One more from Cadillac Mountain. Until next time. Goodbye from Acadia National Park. I hope you all enjoyed this post. That it inspires you to check out this special park and gives you ideas of spots you may want to check out. Have you visited Acadia National Park? If so, what are some spots that you enjoyed during your stay? If not, is it on your list of parks to explore in? Feel free to leave them in a comment below. Thanks again!