Finding Our Way Around – Tuesday and Wednesday – July 2 & 3, 2013

Bill and I visited Acadia National Park back in 2002.  We were here for just a couple days on our way to Newfoundland.  Our memories were of traffic and crowds;o((  In fairness to Acadia, we didn’t get off the beaten path and we didn’t have much time to explore.

Since we are here for a month, we decided to spend the busy days around the 4th of July to just learn where things are and how to access them.  It is nice to have time to find our way around!!
Tuesday, July 2nd,
we decided to get familiar with our surroundings by
driving around Mt. Desert Island following routes 3, 102 and 198.00- Mt. Dessert IslandWe started at our campground in Trenton, just off the island.
We hung a left out of the campground onto Rt 3,
crossed the bridge and hung another left toward Acadia NP.
All the area in green is part of Acadia National Park!!!
Our first stop was at the Acadia NP Hulls Cove Visitor Center.
1 - Hulls Cove Visitor Center - Map
We were there early and viewed the introductory film with just a few other tourists:o))
As we exited the film, the crowds had arrived:o((2 - Hulls Cove Visitor Center - Getting Crowded
After purchasing a hiking trail map and getting our parking sticker,
we continued our drive around the island.
Bar Harbor (Baa Haa Baa)                                                   Seal Cove           
3 - Riding Route 3 through Bar Harbor  Baa Haa Baa 4 - Riding Route 3 - Seal Harbor
It was a nice ride and we feel a little more comfortable with how to find our way around:o)
On Wednesday, July 3,
we were joined by Dan, Tricia and Syl.
Our mission was a test run of the Island Explorer Bus;o)) 
 01d - Island Explorer sponsored by LL Bean
The Island Explorer Bus is a free bus sponsored by L.L. Bean.
It will take you to almost anywhere you want to go on Mt. Desert Island. 
We waited at the campground bus stop.
01a-Waiting for the shuttle bus
Our stop is the last or the first campground on the “campground loop” bus. 
However, the first bus does not start here until 9:45am. 
For Bill and I, that is late-morning;-(     But today, we waited patiently!!
There are actually 7 different bus loops.
01e - Explorer Route Maps

All but Loop 4, the park loop bus, meet at the Village Green in Bar Harbor.  That makes it possible to switch buses and see the island without a car!!  Just be prepared to take your time and leave plenty of time to arrive somewhere if you have a reservation for a dinner or tour.
We got on the bus at our campground about 9:50am and by the time we stopped at all the other campgrounds on the way to the Acadia Visitor Center, it was 11:15am.  Almost 1 1/2 hours to go less than 10 miles;o(( But the good thing was we got a mini-tour of all the other commercial campgrounds and decided we had picked the right campground for us:o))
Another thing we learned was the buses can carry 6 bicycles per bus.  Those bike racks fill up quickly, so it may not be the most convenient way to transport our bikes.
So why use the bus at all… parking can be a problem at Trailheads, Carriage Road parking areas and in Bar Harbor.  However, since we are EARLY morning people, we found out that we did not have a problem finding parking if we arrived by 8am:o))

When we arrived at the visitor center, we made a quick visit so Tricia and Dan could get their National Park Pass and a parking sticker.  Since it was almost 11:30, we pulled up the curb and had lunch before we got on Bus 4, the Park Loop Bus to check out the Loop Road.
01g - lunch time

It was close to noon, by the time we started the park loop ride.

You could see some of the mountains from your side of the bus.
01h2 - riding the park loop bus

However, your views are very limited on the bus.01h - riding the park loop bus

So we decided to get off at Sand Beach and walk a little bit of the Ocean Path
before re-boarding the bus further down the loop.
01i2 - Ocean Path Hike

We walked from Sand Beach down past Thunder Hole to the Gorham Mountain Bus Stop.01i - Sand Beach Stop 01i1 - View of Sand Beach
This is one of two ‘sand’ beaches in Acadia NP and the water temp is barely 60 degrees;o((

The Ocean Path goes along the coast and next to the Loop Road.
02 - Hiking the Ocean Path from Sand Beach to Gorham Mtn Bus Stop 02b - hiking Ocean Path Roosevelt's Teeth
The path is lined with granite edging stones, known as "Rockefeller's Teeth."
Growing amongst the teeth are beautiful wildflowers!
02b2 - hiking Ocean Path - Flowers along the path 02b3 - hiking Ocean Path - Flowers along the path

But the star of the path is the Rocky Coast of Maine!!

Syl was enjoying herself:o)
02c2 - hiking Ocean Path - Syl enjoying the views 02c - hiking Ocean Path - Syl enjoying the views

Dan was always heading right to the edge!!
02d - hiking Ocean Path - Dan aka Billy Goat on the edge
We nicknamed him 'Billy Goat!'
OOOPS… once he got a little TOO close?!?!?
02d2 - hiking Ocean Path - Oops where'd he go
Just kidding…  we found him;o))
02d3 - hiking Ocean Path - Just kidding, we found him

The view back towards Sand Beach where we started our walk.02g1 - Views - Sand Beach and the Bee Hive
The mountain in the middle is the “Beehive” a very difficult hike we will NOT be doing;o))

Here is a view of Thunder Hole a famous tourist spot.
 02g2 - Views - Thunder Hole
During incoming tides, the wave compresses air and makes loud, thundering noises.

the Ocean Path is really all about the views!!
02g3 - Views - Thunder Hole
02g4 - Views - Thunder Hole
02j - Hiking Ocean Path - Rocky Coast
02l5b - Hiking Ocean Path -  Sailboat
02l5 - Hiking Ocean Path -  Sailboat
02l6 - Hiking Ocean Path -  Long way down

Poor Bill… he is not crazy about heights;o((

This is gonna take a little practice and a lot of patience!!02e - hiking Ocean Path - Bill getting use to the height 

Along with these magnificient views,
the smell of pine was amazing!!!

Near the end of our walk along the Ocean Path,
we saw this plaque dedicated to John D. Rockefeller, Jr.02y - Hiking Ocean Path - John D. Rockfeller, Jr. plaque
“These groves of spruce and fir, these granite ledges, this magnificent window on the sea were given to the United States by John D. Rockefeller, Jr.  He was among the first to sense the need to preserve America’s natural beauty and to set high standards of environmental quality.  This quiet, dedicated conservationist gave generously of his time, wisdom and resources to help establish this park and others for the physical, cultural and spiritual benefit of the American people.”
Thank You!!

Our adventure on the bus today was very helpful.  We learned that for our purposes, hiking and biking, we will be better off starting early and using our own car to get to the trails.  However, the loop bus will make some long hikes possible.  You can park on one side of a mountain.  Hike to the other side and get on the loop bus back to you car!!!

Yep... It’s gonna be a FUN time here in Acadia:o))


  1. I loved that Ocean Path. I could have just sat on the rocks watching the water for hours. I'm ready to go back but there's more exploring to do.

  2. So glad to see what I missed before I got here. Great pictures of a beautiful place.

  3. Beautiful, love the picture of Syl reflecting. That says it all!

  4. It's amazing what you see when you're not covering the distances you did on your first full time sojourn. A month long stay isn't enough to soak in all that beauty of nature!

  5. So, just curious...was a month enough time or would our 2 months have been a better fit? Just for future planning purposes :) Loved, loved, loved the Ocean Path!

  6. I so miss Acadia! (and you guys, too!) What a wonderful, wonderful place.

  7. Great pictures, I am interested to know if one month was enough. Glad you guys had such a wonderful time.

    1. You could spend several months and still not do it all. We had a couple weeks before we got to Acadia in Maine also. Must say, we enjoyed it all. Would plan 6-8 weeks in Maine again...absolutely!!! Less than a month in Acadia would just not be enough for us.