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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Acadia National Park / Bar Harbor, Maine

April 2012, Easter weekend day visit

We decided to add a visit to the national park to our itinerary at the last minute, even though the park does not fully open until May. Since the park was not completely open, there was no park entrance fee; however, some of the roads were also not open either. The road to Cadillac Mountain was closed, and part of the one-way road at the end of Park Loop Road was closed. Jordan Pond was open; however, we missed that. Below is a brief recap of our April trip with some photos.

It was cool the day of our visit, and fortunately, the sun was shining brightly for most of the day! The park was not very crowded, although we did pass a few hikers and vehicles. A couple of the restrooms were open, as well as Park Headquarters on 233/Eagle Lake Road. We were not sure this would be open since we visited on Saturday. The location on 233 is listed as the winter facility with open hours on Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM. The park information online also says that the facility is closed on holidays, and since we were there on the Saturday of Easter weekend, we were surprised to find it open. The bathrooms were open at the Headquarters, and maps were available. The young man we spoke with was knowledgeable, helpful, and friendly. All of the trash containers throughout the park were closed and covered, so plan to take your trash with you at this time of year.
view from overlook
Schooner Overlook

We made several stops along Park Loop Road. Our first stop was Schooner Head Overlook, where we were able to climb down the rocks fairly close to the water.

The second set of photos are views from the rocks below the overlook. There is a foot path from the overlook to this area.

Our second stop at Sand Beach was breathtaking! We were surprised to find such calm water on the ocean, and soft sand amidst all the rocks in this area. Even though my husband has swam in Lake Superior before (which is VERY cold), he doubted he would ever swim in the water here--even in the heat of summer. The young ranger we spoke with at Park Headquarters agreed with us, and said that not many people swim here.

Our next stop was Thunder Hole. The rocks and view are beautiful here--just like all areas in the park! We observed a few puddles and wet rocks, although we did not see any thunderous splashes while we were there. There are restrooms located in the parking area across the road from Thunder Hole (not listed on the maps I had); however, they were not open in April.

Otter Cove

Park Loop Road was closed around Otter Point and Otter Cove, although Otter Cliff Road was open back to the cove. The water was calm and clear in Otter Cove, and we observed several hikers during our brief stop. We did not see any otters though!

Otter Cove

We also drove around the southwest portion of Mount Desert Island, which the ranger had told us has more camping and boating on the inland waters; however, I do not have any pictures from that area.

This park is beautiful, and definitely worth a visit--even when it's cold out. We would like to visit again when the weather is warmer, and we are able to spend more time at the park. There are many maps, reviews, and information about the park online, although I thought the materials provided at Park Headquarters was even better. Here is a link to the park website: Acadia NP