Eagle Lake in Acadia
Eagle Lake, at 436 acres, is the largest fresh water lake in Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island. It has a maximum depth of 110 feet and an average depth of 50 feet. Fishing is allowed but a license is required for Maine residents 16 years or older, and for nonresidents 12 years or older. You may gain access to the lake in Bar Harbor on the northern end off Route 233. There are two parking areas on either side of the road.
Eagle Lake Boat Landing GPS: Latitude 44.376513; Longitude -68.250634
If inclined, you may walk or ride your bike completely around Eagle Lake on a 6.1 mile section of a Carriage Road which can be accessed from either parking area. You may also explore the lake from your own kayak or canoe. Kayak & Canoe Rentals as well as bike rentals are available at various locations on the island if needed. (Refer to the Activities or Shops links at the top of this page.) The free Island Explorer Shuttle Bus provides a seasonal pickup and drop-off point for those wanting to leave the driving to someone else. This is a good option for many visitors. Contact the service directly with specific questions about their schedules and about what you may take with you.
The Parking Areas
From the parking area closest to the lake, you will notice a couple of short walking paths to the right that take you further out on a small point of land with some excellent views. This whole area has a variety of places to explore and get some great photographs of. The main connecting arteries are the Carriage Roads. You will see one going right by the north side of the lake, between Route 233 and the lake. The Carriage Road on the western side extends to the North right under an arched stone bridge where there is access to the other parking area on the north side of Route 233.
One of the most striking views of Eagle Lake is from the western observation area of Cadillac Mountain, especially near, during, and after, a sunset. The skylight reflects on the surface of the water creating a gorgeous glow of color in a sea of the darker evergreen trees far below. This also offers a great perspective to see the size of the lake compared to other surrounding land features. For a short period of time, between 1883 and 1890, there were a couple of steam locomotives that made the climb from Eagle Lake to the summit of Cadillac Mountain and back. Visit the Cadillac Mountain page for more about this interesting story.
The lens, aperture and shutter of a camera functions much like the human eye does. As a matter of fact, it was modeled after it. If there is too much light for a correct exposure, the aperture closes down or becomes smaller. With the human eye, it is the iris which does this. Have you noticed how the darker pupil center gets smaller when it is bright outside? The converse is also true. When there is not enough light, the aperture of a camera lens needs to be opened up to let more light in. Again, the same thing happens with the human eye. In a darker room, the iris expands to let in more light. When taking a photograph with the bright sun in it, our camera meter determines it is too bright and so, lets in less light. The problem can be that the overall picture can end up being too dark. To trick the camera and get more color, change your point of view just enough so that the sun is directly behind a tree branch. You will still get the pleasing contrast but also retain much more of the ambient colors of the total scene. You can see this effect in the image of the autumn leaves captured from the Carriage Road at Eagle Lake.
How to Get Here
Take a look at the map and you will see that Eagle Lake is situated at about the center of the largest section of the park on the southwestern side of the Bar Harbor business district. Route 233 runs due west from there along the northern shore of Eagle Lake. What is great about this is that it provides year-round access to the lake as well as the Carriage Roads that intersect there and go around the lake. Also convenient is that a short distance further to the West just as you go up a small hill on the left is the Park Headquarters. This is open all year including during the winter months. Past this point, Route 233 continues until it arrives at the northern end of Somes Sound where it intersects with Routes 198 and 3. Take a right to continue to Somesville, or take a left (south) towards Northeast Harbor.
More Stats & Facts
- Accessibility: Carriage Road, shoreline, restrooms and parking area.
- Eagle Lake Fish: Landlocked salmon, brook trout, lake trout
- Restrictions: Motors over 10 horsepower prohibited
- Maine Department of Inland Fisheries: (207) 434-5925
Wildlife Division: (207) 434-5927
- Fishing Information
- During late 1800's, a cog railway went from Eagle Lake to Cadillac Mountain Summit and back!
- Eagle Lake Boat Landing: Latitude 44.376513; Longitude -68.250634
- Park Headquarters: Latitude 44.374423; Longitude -68.260078
- Visitor Center: Latitude 44.409286; Longitude -68.247501
- Sand Beach Entrance Station: Latitude 44.338797; Longitude -68.183168
- Cadillac Mountain: Latitude 44.368891; Longitude -68.238506
- Park Entrance Station: Latitude 44.338797; Longitude -68.183168
- Bass Harbor Lighthouse: Latitude 44.221991; Longitude -68.337198
Find Your Way Around
This is one of those park locations where a lot more is happening than initially meets the eye. As mentioned above, there is a parking area on both sides of Route 233, both have small bathroom facilities, the better one on the northern side. If you parked in the parking area on the southern side of the road, the lake is right in front of you. As you approach it, you will see a Carriage Road go to the left as well as to the right. Going right takes you to where a Carriage Road connects up after going under the stone faced arched bridge directly under Route 233. Go this way to connect with the parking area on the opposite side of the main highway. If you parked in the lot on the northern side to begin with, a Carriage Road runs North-South. Take a left to go under the bridge and get to Eagle Lake. Note: One of the most overlooked treasures is found just north of Eagle Lake. Look at the map and you will see a road leading to the North from the lake. This leads to Duck Brook Carriage Road Bridge - the largest, most elaborate and gorgeous stone faced bridges in the park.