Acadia National Park, Maine
Where adventure sports go coastal
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John D. Rockefeller, Jr., knew a special place when he saw one. Staggered by the beauty of Mount Desert Island, where his familyas well as the Vanderbilts, Morgans, Carnegies, and Astorsbuilt lavish summer “cottages,” he donated 11,000 acres [4,452 hectares] of land to Acadia.
Today the park is one of the country’s most recreationally diverse retreats: In it, you can scale pink granite cliffs, canoe quiet creeks, hike up bald-topped mountains, or sea kayak among rocky isles. Maybe you can’t own Acadia, Gilded Age stylebut at least you can play there.
All prices in U.S. dollars
The Ultimate Itinerary
Drive Park Loop Road early and secure your site at Seawall campground, on Mount Desert’s southern tip. Then hike up Acadia and St. Sauveur Mountains; the views of Somes Sound, the lower 48’s only fjord, are spectacular from both.
Less busy than Cadillac Mountain, Sargent Mountain has equally arresting sunrise views.
After the 2.5-hour hike, rent a mountain bike from the Bar Harbor Bicycle Shop ($17 per day; +1 207 288 3886) and cruise the park’s carriage roads. The Around Mountain and DAY Mountain Loops are two of the best routes. Along the way, stop for a regionally famous pick-me-up: popovers at the Jordan Pond House.
Take the 11-mile [18-kilometer] Seal Cove-to-Clark Cove sea-kayak tour with Maine State Sea Kayak Guide Service (+1 207 244 9500; www.mainestatekayak.com), in Southwest Harbor. The high peaks are always in sight, islands abound, and the rugged granite coast is dotted with coves and harbors.
Experienced rock climbers can tackle crack and corner routes while lobster boats rumble below at Otter Cliff, with 80-foot [24-meter] routes rated 5.4 to 5.12. Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School (888 232 9559, U.S. and Canada only) teaches basic technique to non-climbers here and at nearby crags.
Cross Mount Desert’s eastern half on a 10.5-mile [17-kilometer] hike linking the big, bald peaks from Gorham Mountain in the southeast corner of the island to Norumbega Mountain beside Somes Sound. Ladders and iron rungs will help you ascend the steepest pitches.
Permits: None are required for campgrounds (backcountry overnights are not allowed). For certain kayaking routes, you may need a use permit; check with park rangers for details.
Contact: For a trip planner, Contact Acadia National Park (+1 207 288 3338; www.nps.gov/acad).
For the full Acadia guide, pick up the May 2002 Adventure.
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