Yesterday was our first full day in Acadia NP. We headed out around 8:45 a.m.
(Everyone says that to beat the crowds, you should hit the trails super early. However, in general we are not really “hit the road super early” type vacationers. What can I say. We are not typically “go to bed at 9 pm” vacationers, either, though, so it kind of is what it is.)
I was really enjoying FINALLY having a non-foggy morning water view, as mentioned yesterday:
But then, the first stop: Visitor Center!
Unlike many National park visitor centers (which have big museum like exhibits, videos, etc.), this one is really basic. Just info stations and a gift shop. There was a line for the shop, so we skipped that and I just got an official map.
The map doesn’t have all the trails (over 100 miles in the park) clearly marked, though… but at least it has all major spots, parking lots, and roads. I took some pictures of the trail maps on the wall (they are for purchase in the busy shop, too). I also have along an Acadia Hiking Guide book a friend lent me.
Kind of wish I had an even better hiking map than what I have, but I think we’ll be okay.
Next up… Jordan Pond.
Parking is a mess here, because the trail lots are just not big enough to handle the amount of people that want to use them. Also, there are many trails that leave from each parking lot, in most cases.
Luckily, we found a spot easily at the popular Jordan Pond area. Based on the number of cars in the lot, I thought the trail would be mobbed. We definitely saw some other people from time to time, but not really too many. Didn’t ruin the hike at all or anything. (saw more people on the second half as it got later.)
Jordan Pond has the famous “Bubbles” hills overlooking it.
The hike was about 3.5 miles to complete the loop around, but some of us did an additional detour to hike up the South Bubble hill, too.
Very beautiful!! A perfect day and just gorgeous.
The eastern half of the hike is very easy, flat and beautiful along the pond through the trees. Constant water views and an excellent trail.
Many stops, of course, for photo ops:
South Bubbles detour:
We came to a very steep trail that showed 0.4 miles up to the South Bubble. A girl passing by said it was a really tough but really cool bit of trail. The boys of course said “game on”, so Ivan, the boys and I decided to try it.
We were rewarded with stunning views of the pond and water in the distance. I do not think these photos do the view justice!
The hike was tough but do-able. We had to climb iron rungs in some spots to get up the rock.
The boys did fine, though. I wasn’t too nervous (although I was a little out of breath! Straight up was no joke.)
There was another piece of the trail, too, connecting it down with another one so we at least didn’t have to try to climb down the same way. (Which seems like it would have been borderline perilous!)
Back down, we met up with my mom waiting by the pond.
The second half/western side of the trail was more challenging/interesting. Lots of rocks to climb over, and then a very long section of walking on planks.
I paused to take some pictures, and the boys/Ivan got ahead of me, but my parents were a ways behind… so I ended up with some rare moments of solitude. I hiked alone for probably the last 30 minutes or so.
Stopped by the famous Jordan Pond House restaurant, where they have been serving popovers and tea on the lawn for over 100 years.
Everyone says eating there is an Acadia “must do” but I don’t know, it seemed a) hot on the lawn in the sun maybe and b) like a bit of a tourist trap? Definitely pretty though. I didn’t make a reservation. Also didn’t really want to take time in the middle of the day for that.
Next up… Cadillac Mountain!
I made timed entry reservations for 1:30. This is probably the most popular spot in Acadia, so to control people up there they have moved to a timed entry system to access the entry road (just for this. Everything else is just wide open).
This is the highest spot along the Atlantic north of somewhere in Brazil!
It was beautiful!! Again, pics really don’t do justice on these panoramic view shots.
Got a great family shot:
We wandered around up there for quite a while, taking in the views from all sides.
We needed to EAT and had picnic stuff in the car. No way was I going to sit and eat with all those people milling around though, so we drove just slightly down the mountain to another lookout area (with only a couple cars). I guess everyone was at the peak!
There was a little side trail leading to a huge rocky slab overlooking this:
Yep! That’s the spot.
We pulled the cooler and our food down to a rock and had the most perfect, private picnic lunch. 🙂
Views were incredible.
I loved this!! Picnics in scenic spots are something I love to do on trips like this.
We were all a little tired from our rock climbing hike (and it was pretty hot out), so next we headed to Echo Lake.
The boys wanted to swim.
There are only a couple places in Acadia where you can actually swim in ponds/lakes, so I knew this lake would be BUSY.
Not a big fan of crowded beaches, but, I did want to at least see the lake and the boys wanted to cool off.
There were a couple beached whales on the sand, too!
By this point it was late afternoon, and we all just felt sort of lazy. I debated heading out for another hike, but based on where we were at the lake, etc it just didn’t really work out.
The boys wanted to go back to swim a little at the hotel and just chill. Sounded okay to me, too.
I didn’t swim, and Ethan ended up deciding not to, either. Asher and Ivan did though.
Views from the pool deck area:
Up in the room the boys showered and I perused some of the trail maps, etc, to figure out plans for the next few days.
We ended up having an adults only night out in Bar Harbor. The boys were tired and it was a little late, so they were cool just hanging out, eating leftovers and watching tv/playing on their iPads.
After doing the “wander around looking for a restaurant” game for a little too long, we settled on a local alehouse that looked nice. We got a table right in the big open air window looking out to the street.
Cute beer glasses, too!
All in all, a really great day in Acadia!
Need to go shower- we have 10:00 tickets for a lobster boat ride.
Daily gratitude: I’m grateful we hiked up that Bubbles trail to the top! The views were so cool. Also, grateful we found that awesome picnic spot.