Maine: Acadia National Park

Guided Walking Tour, Maine: Acadia National ParkGuided Walking Tour, Maine: Acadia National Park

Maine

Acadia National Park

overview

 

This special Guided Walking adventure along the rugged Maine coast carries you deep into terrain carved by oceanic ages. Dense balsam forests spill onto rocky shores of exceptional natural beauty; sweeping views of ocean and sky reward you on the many trails that lace the landscape. Travel from charming Bar Harbor to mountain-summit panoramas that reach their apex atop Cadillac Mountain, the Eastern Seaboard's highest point. Hike along car-free, turn-of-the-century carriage roads to idyllic ponds hosting herons and loons. Stroll the Azalea and Thuya Gardens, rich in beauty and history. Explore miniature tidal-pool worlds at the ocean's edge and enjoy serene walks in hushed woodlands below soaring cliffs. Savor premium accommodations; we know a few of the best places to stay in Maine. Of course, this is a seafood-lover's paradise. From clambakes at famous Bar Harbor Inn to lunch on secluded beaches, you'll want to partake of the chowders, lobster, blueberry pies, and other traditional Maine delicacies, famously abundant and superbly fresh.

Activity Level
Easy to moderate;
2-8 miles daily
Meet
Bangor, Maine
Depart
Bangor, Maine
Daily Itinerary
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From our blog

Guided Walking 
6 days, 5 nights Trip Includes 

Trip Includes

  • Two expert, local guides (for groups of 8 or more), with you 24/7
  • All meals except for one dinner; local wine or beer included with dinners
  • All accommodations while on tour
  • Transportation from the meeting to the departure point
  • Entrance fees and special events as noted in the itinerary
  • The unbeatable and cumulative experience of the Country Walkers staff
per person double occupancy
Single supplement + $695
 

Solo surcharge + $0
 

Call 800.234.6900 to book this trip.

 

REQUEST RESERVATION
Number of Travelers
Total in your party
Price From
per person double occupancy

Call 800.234.6900 to book this trip.

REQUEST RESERVATION

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Itinerary and Accommodations

Days
Destination
1
Bar Harbor
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2
Bar Harbor
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3
Northeast Harbor
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4
Northeast Harbor
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5
Northeast Harbor
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6
Northeast Harbor
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Day 1

Bar Harbor

Arrival in Bangor. Paradise Hill - Witch Hole Pond Loop; 2.3 miles, easy, 200-ft. elevation gain. Sieur de Monts Spring area, Jessup Path, Hemlock Loop, Tarn, and Great Meadow Loop; 4.9 miles, easy to moderate, less than 100-ft. elevation gain

Upon meeting your guides and group at the Bangor Airport, you depart immediately by van for the one-hour drive to Acadia National Park, and proceed directly to the park’s visitor center. An introductory walk along one of the park’s many carriage roads leads to Witch Hole Pond, and provides views of Frenchman Bay and Hull’s Cove to the northeast, as well as the distant mountains to the north. In the first half of the 20th century, John D. Rockefeller Jr. not only donated about one-third of the park’s land, but he also conceived of and oversaw the construction of the extraordinary network of carriage roads that wind throughout the park, graced with subtle landscaping and handcrafted stone bridges.

After lunch at a seaside restaurant, an afternoon walk in the Sieur de Monts Spring area takes you, via the Jessup Path, to a mountain pond known as the Tarn. A series of plank bridges skirt the open marsh and provide views of Huguenot Head, Champlain Mountain, and Dorr Mountain. You connect to the Hemlock Loop, which dates back 100 years to when the walking paths connected downtown Bar Harbor to Acadia National Park. The well-graded paths and log and plank bridges provide good footing in this area.

After a short drive to bustling and quaint Bar Harbor, the island’s largest community, you settle into your in-town resort hotel with a water’s-edge marina overlooking Frenchman Bay and the open ocean. For dinner, you are welcomed to Maine with a taste of its ocean bounty, perhaps fresh steamed lobster or littleneck clams.

Bar Harbor Inn

Bar Harbor, Maine

A Travel + Leisure “World's Best Hotel.” Located on shady waterfront grounds, this grand resort offers both in-town convenience and an oceanfront location just minutes from Acadia National Park.

Day 2

Bar Harbor

Shore path; 1.5 miles, easy. Great Head Loop; 2.1 miles easy to moderate. Ocean Path; 2.1 miles, easy. Gorham Mountain Trail; 1.8 miles, easy

The morning’s walks are devoted to the ocean side of Mount Desert Island, starting at sheltered Sand Beach, a gorgeous 300-yard long beach nestled between Great Head and Newport Cove. Enticing yet chilly, the constant Atlantic surf has created its unique pastel sand, composed of tiny pulverized shell fragments. Departing from Sand Beach, the Ocean Drive Trail is justifiably one of the park’s most popular trails—dramatic views stretch along the oceanfront from Sand Beach to Otter Point. In the middle the level gravel trail drops to Thunder Hole, named for the sound of the water crashing into a narrow channel in the coastal ledge. The historic trail, which was part of the original trail network dating from the late 19th century, was completely restored and resurfaced about 10 years ago, and rises to Otter Cliffs, the highest ocean-edge cliffs in the park. Baker’s Island is in full view to the south, and a slice of Little Cranberry Island can be seen to its west.

The Great Head loop departs from the eastern end of Sand Beach and follows the peninsula’s headland, with views south back to the beach, the Ocean Path, and Otter Cliffs. As you climb through windblown grass to its highest point of 145 feet, waves crash below, and offshore, pleasure and fishing boats ply the eight miles of open water framed by the Schoodic Peninsula to the east. Returning to the trailhead on a bog walk, you are ready to enjoy your picnic lunch.

This afternoon you have two walks to choose from.  You can enjoy a hike along the Gorham Mountain Trail, which provides sweeping views of the morning’s walks along the Ocean Path, Sand Beach, and Great Head. The gradual ascent up open ledges features ridge-top panoramic views as your trail follows the ridge that runs north to Champlain Mountain, part of the chain of mountains closest to the ocean.  The easier option is to follow the Ocean Path along a beautiful and dramatic stretch of coastline between Sand Beach and Otter Point. Returning to Bar Harbor in the mid- to late afternoon, you can take full advantage of the resort amenities at the hotel, such as the seaside heated pool and Jacuzzi, and then continue the evening at your own pace by strolling into Bar Harbor for dinner on your own in one of its many fine restaurants and cafés.

Bar Harbor Inn

Bar Harbor, Maine

A Travel + Leisure “World's Best Hotel.” Located on shady waterfront grounds, this grand resort offers both in-town convenience and an oceanfront location just minutes from Acadia National Park.

Day 3

Northeast Harbor

Jordan Pond; 3.5 - 5 miles, easy to moderate. Asticou Trail; 2.5 miles, easy

After a hearty breakfast, you set off for the day’s walk at Jordan Pond, a serene freshwater pond in the park’s interior. The trail circles the pond, winding through blueberry bushes, clusters of white birch and shady spruce. At the pond’s northern end are two symmetrical hills called the Bubbles, North and South, over 700 and 800 feet, respectively. Reflected in the pond’s pristine waters, the real peaks are also in view throughout the walk. Along the water’s edge you may see a great blue heron, or a pair of black-and-white common loons.

A longer and more challenging option leads to the summits of both Bubbles, where you are rewarded with views of Eagle Lake, another freshwater pond lying just to the north, as well as Connor’s Nubble and Frenchman Bay. Looping back to Jordan Pond, you are ready for a satisfying lunch at the Jordan Pond House Restaurant, a historic teahouse-style restaurant dating from the late 19th century and serving a range of soups and chowders, salads, sandwiches, and its signature popovers.

This afternoon provides two options. Those who wish to arrive on foot to our home for the next three nights leave the Jordan Pond parking lot and join the Asticou Trail. Quickly you are immersed in woods filled with striped maples, pines, and cedars. The path is a carpet of pine needles, filling the air with an earthy sweet aroma. Crossing streams on wooden bridges with fancy handrails and winding through the forest, you arrive at the Asticou and find your luggage awaiting you in your room. The other option is to travel by van, making your way to Northeast Harbor, on the southern end of Mount Desert Island, at the entrance to Somes Sound. Smaller and quieter than Bar Harbor, it is well known for its yacht-building tradition, in addition to a range of galleries, shops, and restaurants.

At your hotel, there is time to linger in the manicured grounds and perfectly situated Adirondack chairs, or perhaps play a game of croquet in the late afternoon sunlight. Tonight you dine at your elegant hotel restaurant while taking in the view of the beautiful Northeast Harbor.

Asticou Inn

Northeast Harbor, Maine

An historic inn housed in a four-story mansion dating from 1883, with beautiful views over Northeast Harbor and just minutes from Acadia National Park.

Day 4

Northeast Harbor

Little Cranberry Island; 3-4 miles, easy to moderate

After walking in the island’s interior and rocky shore, today you discover one of the secluded islands off Mount Desert’s southern coast. After breakfast overlooking the sound, you catch the mail boat out of Southwest Harbor for the hour-long crossing to Little Cranberry Island. The five Cranberry Isles—Great Cranberry, Little Cranberry (or Isleford), Bear, Baker, and Sutton—are from one to five miles offshore and are named after the low-bush wild cranberries that grow profusely throughout their terrain. The islands’ year-round residents, mainly lobstermen and boat builders, are joined each summer by visitors, some of whom have been returning for generations.

The ferry docks at the island’s main village provide a true glimpse of authentic Maine coastal life from another era; piers and wooden buildings are clustered in a sheltered cove. A quiet road leads up to a grassy bluff and continues through groves of tall firs, passing white clapboard cottages. A picnic is unpacked at a perfect spot overlooking glimmering water and a pebbled beach, with distant sailboats skimming the ocean’s surface. After looping back to the village dock, you board the afternoon ferry for the return trip to Southwest Harbor.

For dinner this evening, you travel to the village of Southwest Harbor for dinner at a fine restaurant offering cuisine celebrating New England traditions with European and Southwest influences.

Asticou Inn

Northeast Harbor, Maine

An historic inn housed in a four-story mansion dating from 1883, with beautiful views over Northeast Harbor and just minutes from Acadia National Park.

Day 5

Northeast Harbor

Flying Mountain Trail; 1.5 miles, easy to moderate. Beech Mt. North Ridge Trail; 2 miles moderate, or Ship Harbor Trail; 1.5 miles easy

Today’s walks take place on the “quiet side” of the Island, the western less-traveled side of Mount Desert Island. This morning, you hike Flying Mountain, which rises 284 feet and gives extraordinary views of Somes Sound—North America’s only true fjord—from above. Lunch today is at a local restaurant in Southeast Harbor, where you might enjoy a lobster roll and their famous Maine blueberry pie. After visiting the Bass Harbor lighthouse, one of the most-photographed lighthouses in Maine, your guide presents you two options for this afternoon. For those who want a more challenging option, a walk on Beech Mountain gives an excellent overview of the region. The trail gradually ascends the western flank with views of Long Pond and Blue Hill across the sparkling waters of Blue Hill Bay to the west. At the summit, near a closed fire tower, you look over the towns of Southwest Harbor and Northeast Harbor, the entrance to Somes Sound, and the Cranberry Isles lying offshore to the south. The trail descends some rocky ledge before looping back to the trailhead in Somesville. If you prefer a more relaxed walk, Ship Harbor Trail offers a view of quintessential Maine coastal scenery, the easy figure-eight trail leads right to the tranquil shoreline of Ship Harbor, and exits through a cool forest of spruce and cedar trees.

Later, you celebrate your Acadian adventure at an elegant restaurant, toasting your exploration of this stunning region over creative gourmet cuisine.

Asticou Inn

Northeast Harbor, Maine

An historic inn housed in a four-story mansion dating from 1883, with beautiful views over Northeast Harbor and just minutes from Acadia National Park.

Day 6

Northeast Harbor

Asticou Azalea Garden and Thuya Garden; 1.5 miles, easy. Cadillac Mt. North Ridge; 1 mile, moderate

The Asticou Azalea Garden and Thuya Garden were created in the 1950s by Charles Savage, a local innkeeper. In Asticou Azalea Garden, more than 20 varieties of azaleas are featured in a Japanese-style garden where pathways meander to an iris-bordered pond, stream, and meditation garden. The Thuya Garden is named for the native white cedar trees, under which a profusion of colorful perennials are artfully planted—lilies, snapdragons, and vibrant delphiniums overlook the fir- fringed coves and rocky ledges of Northeast Harbor. Many of the gardens’ plants were relocated from the Bar Harbor gardens of landscape architect Beatrix Farrand, who, in the early 20th century, consulted in the landscape design and plantings along the carriage roads, contributing to the seemingly effortless way they blend into the topography.

No visit to Acadia is complete without a trip to the top of Cadillac Mountain. Not only is it the highest point in the park at 1,530 feet, but Cadillac Mountain also has the distinction of being the highest point on the entire North American Atlantic coastline. This morning you drive to a point where the North Ridge Trail intersects the access road and hike the final mile to the treeless summit, which offers breathtaking views over Bar Harbor, Frenchman Bay, and the open ocean spread before you. Named after Sieur de Cadillac, a 17th-century French explorer, the mountain offers evidence why Cadillac’s compatriot and contemporary, Samuel de Champlain, called the entire island “Mont Desert”—for its bare and, when viewed from the ocean, apparently “desert-like” mountaintops.

After stopping for lunch in Ellsworth at a lively Mediterranean bistro, you arrive at the Bangor Airport by mid-afternoon for onward flights.

Itinerary Disclaimer

Bear in mind that this is a typical itinerary, and the actual activities, sites, and accommodations may vary due to season, special events, weather, or transportation schedules. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary since tour arrangements are made up to a year in advance, and unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise. Itinerary changes are made to improve the tour and your experience. If you are currently booked on a CW adventure, an itinerary has been sent to you for your exact departure date. Please call CW at 800.464.9255 if you have any questions about the exact itinerary or hotels selected for any of our tours.

Guides

Mark Kutolowski

Mark is a veteran wilderness guide, naturalist, and wilderness skills instructor. A passionate student and teacher of the ecology and natural history of Northern New England, Mark is proud to have eaten over 150 wild plant species from the region! In addition to guiding walking tours for CW, Mark teaches wilderness survival courses at Dartmouth College and also leads retreats exploring the relationship between wilderness living and contemplative spirituality.

Randy Judkins

Randy Judkins’ childhood passion for the outdoors allowed him to lead hiking and canoeing trips around his native state of Maine by the age of 20. He is an avid hiker and kayaker and has shared his enthusiasm over the years on walking, cycling, and gourmet food tours and in summer camps. Most importantly, as a professional vaudeville performer, he will keep you entertained on and off the trail (be sure to ask him about juggling).

Ron Lucier

Ron Lucier makes his home in Stowe, Vermont, where roaming the hills and mountains has been a lifelong passion. Ron spends his winters as a ski instructor, and guides during the summer months with annual visits to the Maine coast where for the past six years he has guided trips in Acadia National Park. Besides spending time on the Maine Coast, Ron enjoys hiking and skiing the world's mountains and sharing his love for alpine plants, geology and bird watching.

Guest Comments

M. Barton, Alabama, September 2011

Simply outstanding! I now understand why there were two people in our group who had done the tour the year before. Ample options to accommodate a variety of interests and fitness levels.

G. & C. Moyer, New York, September 2011

A simply wonderful week. Great sights, great guides who facilitated the melding of us guests so that it was a totally enjoyable experience.

S. Clough, Minnesota, September 2011

Wonderful experience! Great combination of physical exersion, excellent food and beautiful accommodations.

S. Green, Georgia, August 2010

You aren't the "odd one out" as a single person on a CW tour. You are welcomed and you will have a great experience—one that you could not replicate on your own. Your guides know the area and the people and the special visits they arrange are the highlights of the trip.

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