Acadia National Park in the fall – here we go!
We rolled into the Bangor, Maine Wal-Mart around 7pm, it was dark and about twenty five degrees. So, COLD, but drive to Bangor was really beautiful and the leaves were still on the trees so we were looking forward to getting out to Acadia.
The next morning we drove into downtown Bangor and worked at a coffee shop for a few hours before picking up our friend Ali at the airport.
From there we headed out to Acadia National Park to claim our campsite. It was pretty frigid out, but the sun was shining and the leaves were bright and beautiful.
We stayed at Blackwoods Campground in the tent loop, which had a surprising number of hard core campers.
Let’s just say with the cold we were so very happy to have a nice warm van, and we cranked the Espar heater to keep it at 70 degrees. This heater rocks!
The first evening we took a stroll from camp down to the ocean. For me (Emily), it was the first time seeing the Atlantic from the United States, so that was kind of fun. It also felt very surreal to be on the Atlantic, because we had made it across the whole country, coast to coast (our first park being Joshua Tree in CA). Pretty neat!
The weather forecast looked like Friday was going to be our one (and only) sunny day in the park so we opted to take full advantage it.
Acadia National Park
We woke up, grabbed coffee and headed out from our campground.
Our plan was rough, but we thought we could link a whole bunch of trails together to form a loop and end up back in the campground after 12ish miles.
Well, we weren’t that far off… and only made a few oversights. But before we get to those let me just say…
… We had the most amazing day, bluebird skies with zero clouds, 30ish degrees out, the hills ablaze with fall foliage. It was epic!
Here’s what went down
Combining all these trails gave us some sweeping 360 views once on top of the mountains. And I think we were all surprised with the amount of climbing we were doing. Up up up we went!
The beehive was a super cool hike that should not be missed. You climb almost vertically up granite rock faces on ladders and metal rungs. This is not for the person who is afraid of heights, but a very cool technical trail that we LOVED.
As the day continued on we continued climbing, up and down giant granite slabs, and ducking under golden leaves. The views were stunning and I was in heaven (just look at those colors!).
Acadia National Park is Complicated
Our first oversight presented itself as we started our way down Champlain Mountain. There was an abundance of frozen water on the granite that presented some tricky route finding to avoid slips.
These dangerous frozen pathways continued to pop up on the reminder of our trek. One wrong step and you were on your butt!
However, we picked our way around and continued on.
The most treacherous section came after we climbed a section of stairs that seemingly went on forever and was called The ladders. So many stairs!
Then some more really fun ladders bolted into the rocks (similar to the Beehive).
Cadillac Mountain – Acadia
After the ladders on our approach to Cadillac Mountain there were some large frozen sections and we slowed down a bit, but still reached the summit of Cadillac before sunset (which was our goal).
We were thinking we would watch the sunset from the top of Cadillac, but with the unpredictable frozen trail we decided we should keep moving. Which in hindsight was a great choice for a few reasons…
As we left the summit of Cadillac Mountain, we thought we had 2 miles to go and we really had 5. Oops.
BUT, we had the most amazing sunset views, and had the granite mountain all to ourselves.
After taking an abundance of sunset pictures we continued down the trail, finishing the last mile or so via headlamp (in the freezing cold).
All in all we ended up hiking 15 miles around the National Park.
It was an epic day and we really felt like we were able to see so much.
The Town – Bar Harbor
That night we met up with our friends Joe and Maraea and had our first lobster roll in Bar Harbor. It was quite delicious, but not economical.
Saturday we woke up to a rainy day, so we cruised around the parks scenic trail, and did a few short hikes… The Thunder Hole and Sand Beach before checking out the visitor center to get a sticker.
The rest of the day it continued to rain so we had a low key evening in the van with the heater pumping.
On Sunday we had every intention of renting bikes and riding on the carriage roads, but Acadia National Park had a different idea.
Because it was off season, we couldn’t find any bike shops open.
So instead we strolled around on foot and shopped in Bar Harbor, ate more lobster and watched some Seahawks Football.
It was another stormy day, but in the late afternoon the weather cleared and we went out to walk on the carriage roads (where we intended to ride bikes) and soaked up some more of the amazing fall colors.
On to the next Park
Ali flew out Monday afternoon, so we packed up in the morning and headed back to Bangor, where we grabbed some coffee and breakfast before dropping her off.
Acadia has made its way into one of my top parks and was everything I had imagined. I feel so lucky to have had Ali fly all the way across the country and experience a little bit of van life with us!
From the airport we headed down the coast popping in at Wolf Neck Campground for one evening before stopping in Portland, Maine to work out with our friends at the Misfit Athletics CrossFit gym (and eat some delicious poke).
Now our Eastern seaboard city tour begins!