Winter Hikes in Acadia National Park

January 16, 2019by Thomas Tash
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Acadia National Park, the crowned jewel of Maine. During the summer, this oceanside paradise becomes a tourism mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, but in the winter, well… that’s a whole different story. In Acadia’s offseason, much of the park closes down to vehicles. Visitor Centers close up and services are reduced. The park is still open, but you’ve got to really want to explore it to do so. While most trails are too dangerous for the average hiker during the winter, here are some winter hikes in Acadia National Park that might be right up your alley.

Winter Hikes in Acadia National Park

With over 120 miles of trails throughout Acadia National Park, hardly any of them are maintained during the winter. The extreme terrain, frequent harsh winter storms, ice, and snow make poor conditions for those without advanced ice climbing training. However, you don’t need to cancel your winter trip to Acadia just yet. There are other winter hikes in Acadia National Park that are better suited for exploring.

Hiking Acadia National Park’s Carriage Roads in Winter

Mount Desert Island

Acadia’s 45 miles of carriage roads are a winter gem like no other. Connecting much of the park in a century-old network of wide, groomed, and stunning paths, these trails are ideal for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. The carriage roads are not always groomed however. Friends of Acadia, the park’s non-profit partner, helps to maintain the roads and trails with volunteers. Find information on trail conditions from the Friends of Acadia Winter Trails Association.

Schoodic Peninsula

Similar to MDI’s carriage roads, Schoodic’s multi-use trails are a great place to xc-ski and snowshoe. There is currently no trail grooming program on Schoodic, but visitors are welcome to break trails.

It’s important to note that fat tire bikes are not allowed on the carriage roads. Also, please do not snowshoe or allow dogs to walk in cross-country ski tracks.

Other Winter Hikes in Acadia National Park

Ocean Path

While the vast majority of the Park Loop Road is closed in the winter, visitors can access a sizable stretch of the road from Sand Beach to Otter Cliff. Here, visitors can walk the famous Ocean Path and view the ocean crashing on the iconic granite cliffs on the southeast side of the park.

Ship Harbor Trail

On the southwest side of Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island, near Wonderland Trail, Seawall, and Bass Harbor Lighthouse is the Ship Harbor Trail. This flat hike is quite manageable, unlike some of the higher elevation hikes around the park.

What are your favorite winter hikes in Acadia National Park? Share them with us in the comments!

Plan your Acadia National Park Camping trip today at Acadia East Campground, 574 U.S. Route 1, Gouldsboro, Maine.

Thomas Tash

Tom Tash is the Founder and Co-Owner of Acadia East Campground and Pocket Parks Campgrounds. Tom began his career in Outdoor Recreation at the University of Maine at Machias before joining the City of Portland Recreation Department and becoming the Recreation Director for the Town of Bridgton. Tom became deeply invested in the national parks as the Marketing Director for a national park travel guide company. He co-founded Acadia East Campground in 2017/18.

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