Biking in Acadia
Acadia National Park and the surrounding Maine communities offer a truly spectacular setting for the bicycling enthusiast or professional alike. The Park has approximately 45 miles of suitable road surfaces comprised of the famous Carriage Roads (financed and directed by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., between 1913 and 1940) and portions of paved motor vehicle roadways. Carriage Roads wind through the heart of the park and have crushed rock surfaces. Some of the Carriage Roads are on private land and are posted as closed to bicycles.
Park Loop Road
The 27 mile long Park Loop Road is the primary road connecting Park locations with the surrounding villages of Mount Desert Island. A large section of this road, beginning near the Route 233 entrance point to Cadillac Mountain in Bar Harbor, is one-way. This goes all the way along the east coast of Acadia National Park where it connects the Precipice, Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, Gorham Mountain, Otter Cliff, etc., and ends on the southeastern side next to Wildwood Stables. The remainder of the road system is two-way.
Entrance Station GPS: 44.338797; -68.183168
From various points on Mount Desert Island, you may access the Carriage Road System where you may begin your exploration of Acadia National Park from the inside. This unique system of roads with crushed rock surfaces, is the main artery that has given the landscape a special vibrancy and connected feeling that is at the heart of the experience. From Bar Harbor, to Northeast Harbor, from Hulls Cove to Wildwood Stables, there are access points. You may also go along the regular roads where vehicle traffic is present, but be sure to take advantage of the Carriage Road System.
As originally planned when the Carriage Road system was first constructed, roadways are shared by cyclists, horses, and pedestrians. Caution is advised and one should be familiar with courtesy rules of the road. Biking is not permitted on the park's hiking trails.
One of the most challenging, and one that is only recommended for the strong, healthy, and most experienced cyclist, is the Summit Road to the top of Cadillac Mountain. I am always amazed and impressed to see the dedicated cyclists on their way to the top. The utmost caution should be used as this is a winding roadway shared by many motor vehicles. I would strongly suggest checking with the National Park Service on the advisability of this trek before undertaking it.
Summit Road Entrance GPS: Latitude 44.368891; Longitude -68.238506
A Cyclist's Dream!
Acadia National Park is the cyclist’s dream location. The Park Loop Road and the Carriage Roads that go into the park’s interior make for an exceptional combination by themselves. There are so many choices, all of which provide close-up and personal experiences from the rugged rocky coastline, through forests of tall evergreen, around lakes and ponds, to the lofty summit of Cadillac Mountain where at certain times of the year you may view sunrise before anyone else in the US. Make sure to check out the Schoodic Peninsula part of Acadia National Park as well as places on Mount Desert Island. The maps will give you a good idea of what special locations you will definitely want to visit.