The 27 mile Park Loop Road is the primary avenue for navigating through Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island by vehicle. It begins near the Hulls Cove Visitor Center and connects Acadia's lakes, mountains, forests and rocky shores for easy exploration. Much of the road is one way but there is a two way section that begins near Wildwood Stables so keep this in mind. A fee is required and may be paid near its entrance, about one-half mile north of Sand Beach at the entrance station. If you are in Bar Harbor, you may also go a short distance South on Route 3 to get to the Park Loop Road. Just past the famous Jackson Laboratory is an Acadia National Park sign and entrance on the right.
There are special pull-off observation points along the Park Loop Road as well as special parking areas such as at Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, Otter Cliff, and others, so take advantage of them. When traveling on the one-way section of the Park Loop Road on the eastern side of Mount Desert Island, you may also pull over to the right side or in the actual right lane. However, still use extreme caution when exiting your vehicle as another vehicle can appear at anytime. And don't be afraid to check out surrounding areas but always use caution whenever near the shore and especially when near the high cliffs.
As you may guess, construction of the Park Loop Road was a huge undertaking and one which began in 1922 and continued through the 1950's. It was partially financed by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who was the father of the park's famous Carriage Roads. A large part of the beautiful and sensitive design, often taken for granted, is attributed to the talents of landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., who artfully combined functional aspects of a road system with the indigenous landscape. There is much to discover and to appreciate here. Drive slowly as there is an abundance of wildlife surrounded by magnificent forests and plant life to view. One good place to begin your exploration is the Nature Center at Sieur de Monts Spring. This location holds special significance in the history and formation of this National Treasure. Take your time, and feel free to contact the National Park Service with any questions that you may have. A Park Renger is always happy to assist.
Rt. 233 Park Loop Road Entrance GPS: Latitude 44.381263; Longitude -68.230050
Hulls Cove Visitor Center GPS: Latitude 44.409286; Longitude -68.247501
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