Carriage Roads
GOOD FOR: All Ages
RATING:


Source:Outdoors with Kids Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont (AMC Books)
Address:Duck Brook Road, Bar Harbor
Hours:No posted hours; contact park for seasonal road and trail closures
Fee: $20 per vehicle; $5 per adult without a vehicle, including bicyclists and pedestrians (children under 15 are free)
Contact:

Acadia National Park, 207-288-3338, nps.gov/acad; Island Explorer Bike Express, 207-667-5796, exploreacadia.com/bikeexpress.htm

Bathrooms: At the parking area on the north end of Eagle Lake and at park headquarters
Water/Snacks: None
Map:

USGS Southwest Harbor and Bar Harbor quads; Acadia National Park Discovery Map (AMC), Eastern Mount Desert Island: B6–D6


Close to nature and free from motorized vehicles, Acadia’s wide, brokenstone roads traverse impressive granite bridges and blend with the landscape, highlighting the stunning scenery.

Multiple bike shops in and around Bar Harbor offer bike rentals and family-friendly accessories, including child seats and trailers.

When John D. Rockefeller Jr. designed the 45 miles of carriage trails in Acadia National Park in the early 1900s, he had one primary goal: showcase the natural splendor of the area for visitors traveling by horse-drawn carriage. The roads follow the land’s contours so that waterfalls can be seen from either direction and scenic viewpoints come into focus at every turn. Instead of bypassing streams all together, Rockefeller commissioned sixteen beautiful granite bridges. Today, the broken-stone carriage roads are well maintained by the Friends of Acadia and serve bikes, horses, and pedestrians. When biking on this or other carriage roads in the park, hybrid or mountain bikes are recommended. Also, keep in mind that the carriage roads are not one-way streets; feel free to turn around and retrace your steps at any point.

Begin this 3.3-mile, family-friendly, counterclockwise loop around Witch Hole Pond from Duck Brook Road at signpost #5. All carriage road intersections are numbered on these wooden posts. Head to the right (northeast). Though the trail initially climbs for approximately 100 feet, it soon levels out. One mile after beginning, reach signpost #3 and take a left. Here, up-close views of Witch Hole Pond come into focus. Continue making your way along the pond, bearing left at signpost #2. At mile 2.3, reach signpost #4. At this point, assess the stamina and interest of your group. If the kids are getting tired, bear left here, continuing for 1.0 mile to signpost #5, where you began. If you and yours feel like your legs are just warming up, consider adding another 6.7 miles to your route by circumnavigating Eagle Lake, too. Though the Eagle
Lake loop does have more challenging, hilly terrain, it is considered one of the most beautiful rides within the park.

To continue to Eagle Lake, turn right at signpost #4. Enjoy the views of Halfmoon Pond on the 1.1-mile stretch to signpost #6. Continue under a bridge and pass close by the Eagle Lake parking area. Stay right (bearing southwest) here and reach signpost #9. The carriage road continues along the western side of Eagle Lake. Be prepared for some hilly terrain between signposts #9 and #8, which you will reach in 5.5 miles. After taking a rest here, continue left (heading east) as the carriage road continues along the southern flank of Eagle Lake. At signpost #7, bear left to follow the eastern side of the lake northward and make your way back toward signpost #6. Bear right at signpost #6, travel the 1.1 miles north to signpost #4, then take a right to travel 1.0 mile back to signpost #5 where you began.

Plan B:

Traditional sightseeing carriage rides are available on the carriage
roads from a concession located at Acadia’s Wildwood Stables. Because the
rides are very popular during peak season, advance reservations are highly
recommended. For more information, visit Hulls Cove Visitor Center or
park headquarters.

Where to Eat Nearby:

After burning through calories on your bicycle, what’s better than a popover and some lobster bisque? The Jordan Pond House, Acadia National Park’s only full-service restaurant, is a popular destination among visitors. Nearby, the bustling town of Bar Harbor offers a full range of restaurants, cafés, ice cream shops, and more.



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