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DayTrip: Tidal Falls Preserve in Hancock Maine

By Thomas Tash


DayTrip: Tidal Falls Preserve in Hancock Maine

January 18, 2019by Thomas Tash

Tidal Falls Preserve in Hancock Maine provides a beautiful setting for picnicking and exploring the unique tidal behavior and ecosystem of Downeast Maine. As with all public land that is protected and managed by the Frenchman Bay Conservancy, Tidal Falls Preserve highlights what makes this area of Maine so special.

DayTrip: Tidal Falls Preserve in Hancock Maine

As people traveling down the long and winding path of life, we come to many forks. In our mind, one of the most significant of these forks is on High Street in Ellsworth Maine. Here, Route 1, 1A, and 3 all become one for a brief moment at the intersection of Main St. (S. K. Whiting Park). No matter how you get to Acadia National Park, you’ll find yourself on this stretch of road.

The tone changes on this short section of High Street, from rural or coastal Maine to Acadia-centric. You immediately pass by Cadillac Mountain Sports on your left, followed by L.L. Bean. It’s when you reach the fast food region (McDonalds, KFC/Taco Bell, and Wendy’s) that you’re given the option of continuing straight along Route 3 to Mount Desert Island, or turning left and taking Route 1 Downeast. For the purposes of this article, we’re doing the latter.

The Communities Downeast of Ellsworth

If you ask a local, they’ll probably tell you that “Downeast” Maine begins and ends in the Reny’s parking lot in Ellsworth. But, a few minutes east of Ellsworth, the roadsides give way to ocean views, small towns, and large wooded stretches.

The village of Hancock is the next stop on Route 1 east of Ellsworth. Home to cute shops, specialty food stores, and the Downeast mystique, Hancock is a postcard waiting to happen. Just before you leave Hancock to cross the bridge into Sullivan, there’s another fork in the road. This time, we’ll turn right and head to Tidal Falls Preserve.

Arriving at Tidal Falls Preserve

A small Maine DOT road sign marks the turn to Tidal Falls Preserve. It’s a small sign, easy to miss. If you reach the bridge and Taunton Bay Gateway to the Schoodic National Scenic ByWay, you’ve gone a bit too far.

From the turn, you’ll head up a residential road to a more formal sign for Tidal Falls Preserve on the left. It’s less than a mile to this sign. Turn down Tidal Falls Road, you’ll pass more homes on each side of the road as you approach the preserve. Tidal Falls Preserve is located at the end of Tidal Falls Road.

Tidal Falls Preserve has a gravel parking area large enough for 6-10 vehicles.

Things to do at Tidal Falls Preserve

Picnic at Tidal Falls Preserve

The preserve itself is 4.2 acres in size. To the left from the parking area is a partly shaded picnic area with some tree cover. There are about a dozen picnic tables here that make for the perfect “base” for your day trip.

Facilities and Restrooms at Tidal Falls Preserve

To the right of the parking lot is the Exploration Center and office building. There are public restrooms and water fountains on-site. The exploration center provides a great opportunity to learn about the area’s tidal pools, tides, and the main attraction: the reversing falls. Guests are asked not to bring dogs to Tidal Falls in order to protect the grounds and wildlife. Here are some dog-friendly alternatives.

Kids Quest Program

Tidal Falls is also home to the Tidal Pools stop on the Schoodic National Scenic ByWay Kids Quest program. This program, managed by the Schoodic National Scenic Byway Committee, provides a unique learning experience, across multiple locations in the Schoodic region. The program aims to teach kids and their families about the region, its history, geography, and geology in a fun and immersive way.

Tidepooling at Tidal Falls Preserve

The rocky shoreline at Tidal Falls is a great place to get close and look a life below the surface. These micro-ecosystems are brimming with life just waiting to be discovered.

Viewing the Reversing Falls at Tidal Falls Preserve

The best time to view the reversing falls at Tidal Falls Preserve is 2 hours before or after low tide. You can see the daily tide charts here.

Wildlife at Tidal Falls Preserve

The significant natural resources of the area make Tidal Falls a great place to view wildlife. Visitors often witness eagles, seals, osprey, king fishers, otters, blue heron, and other animals in their natural habitat.

Watch our Tidal Falls Preserve video here

While visiting the Schoodic region, book your tent camping trip at Acadia East Campground! We’re close to the action, with adventure in every direction.

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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