The part of Maine on everyone’s Bucket List, Bar Harbor & Acadia National Park. A place famous for fresh lobster rolls caught locally and a beautiful landscape that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. Only a seven hour drive and 1 quick stop for dinner, at Liquid Riot Bottle Co in Portland, we finally arrived at our KOA campground around midnight. This would normally not be an issue, but when you planned to do everything that this island had to offered in one weekend, it was going to be a rough one.
3 hours later we were awake, headlamps on, dressed, and back in the car driving along the dark park roads towards the base of Cadillac Mountain. On our list of activities was to be one of the first people in America to see sunlight on that August 22, by hiking Cadillac Mountain at sunrise. Confidence and preparation were not on our side for this adventure. According to google maps, this 1,000ft hike would only take 45 minutes. In my head, this seemed reasonable; however, 45 minutes into our hike up Dorr Mountain, we weren’t even close. The sky was getting brighter and we still weren’t even up to the summit of Dorr Mountain. We still had to drop back down into the valley between the two mountains and then hike up the last part of Cadillac. It took a total of 1 hour and 30 minutes to hike up to the empty parking lot of Cadillac Mountain, missing the sunrise by a long shot. Fortunately for us, it was so cloudy and foggy that it would have been impossible to see it anyway.
After we returned to the tent, 1 quick power nap later, we were back in the car setting off to explore Acadia. We paid the park’s car admission fee and parked close to the beach, which I wouldn’t recommend because of how crowded it gets. Popped the bikes out of the back, clipped the tires into the front forks, and we were headed down to see all the sights we’ve envied on Instagram for so long. We biked down to the Great Head Peninsula and then walked down the steep trail onto the Sand Beach. Of course we had to climb up onto the rocks to get a better view of the iconic Newport Cove to take some pictures.
Back onto the bikes, we pedaled around the beach and down onto the Park Loop where we must have stopped every quarter mile to take pictures and check out the scenic coastline’s cliffs. Thunder Hole was a little more hype than what was delivered; however, still very cool… and loud. Our bike ride was concluded at Otter Cliff, which lived up to its name (well kind of), we saw a seal hanging out near the lobster pots. Take note, the park loop is a one way road. So in order to go back to where you start, you need to go all the way around the island or walk your bikes back on the trail. Trust me, it was not fun.
After an exhausting day, we made it back to the KOA where we got ready, and took one of the free bus shuttles down to the Village Green in Bar Harbor. We got delicious Lobster Rolls down at the Dog & Pony Tavern & Restaurant, walked down to the harbor to see some of the fishing vessels, and ended the night at the Bar Harbor Brewing beer tasting.
The following morning, we were woken up by a strange sight, sunlight. It had been cloudy & raining for a majority of the time since Friday evening. Precipice trail was back on the list of things to do! We parked the car on Schooner Head Road so that we didn’t have to do the park loop again once we were done.
The Precipice trail, for those who don’t know, is the most challenging and well known hiking trail in Acadia National Park with an exposed and almost vertical 1,000 foot climb. It is designated as “strenuous” and is only recommended for physically fit and experienced hikers who have no fear of heights. Seeing as you will be climbing on cliff edges and up iron rung ladders. This was one of the most exciting and enjoyable climbs I’ve ever done, and I’ve been rock climbing for a while now. When it is sunny, the entire climb is exposed to beautiful views of the coast and the Frenchman Bay. Once we summited Mount Champlain, we finally got to see all the beauty that was hidden to us the day before because of the cloud and fog. After a beer with a view, we headed down the nose of Mount Champlain on the south side. The hike ends at a pristine lake called The Bowl. As a warning, you cannot swim in it. It’s filled with leeches.
We wrapped up our amazing weekend with some more lobster, but this time from the Chart House. I don’t think I will ever have more delicious lobster than I did during this weekend.
Adventure Doesn’t Find You… You have to seek adventure.
Don’t Forget to:
-Hike Cadillac Mountain at Sunrise
-Bike along the Park loop
-Get a lobster roll or full Lobster and local beer in Bar Harbor
-Hike Precipice Trail
-Walk across the Mt Desert Narrows at low tide to Bar Island
My name is Zachary Kenney and I’m an adventure filmmaker & photographer. My passion is to tell stories that will hopefully motivate you to go live a more adventurous life. Whether that is to experience the view from the summit of a mountain, or wandering through a new town on a road trip. Currently based out of Park City, UT.