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Solo Travelling in Acadia

Ithaca, New York
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Solo Travelling in Acadia

Hi everyone!

I'm going to be travelling through Maine alone for a week and spending 4 nights near Acadia National Park. I'm trying to figure out what hikes to go on and what other activities to take part in. I'll check into my room around 1 PM on a Tuesday about an hour and 45 minutes - 2 hours away from Acadia. I was thinking of doing the Park Loop Drive that evening (or should I save this for another day and do something else closer to where I'm staying - Hope, ME?) and then heading to bed fairly early to catch the sunrise at Cadillac Mountain. Then was thinking of doing some sunrise yoga while there and then debating parking my car somewhere in the park and doing a shorter hike afterwards. I have a 4 PM kayak tour that I have to be at by 3:30 in Bar Harbor. Will I have time for a short hike and lunch in Bar Harbor before kayaking? What other things should I hit up in Bar Harbor during my wait time?

For Thursday, I'm thinking of doing a longer, harder hike and then maybe checking out the Quiet Side or the Atlantic Brewing Company or lobster dinner or really anything. Any suggestions here?

I would also like suggestions for recommended hikes - I'm thinking of doing the Cadillac South Ridge trail but am a little wary of what the iron rungs are since I'll be going alone. For reference, I'm a pretty fit 20 year old female - I run, swim, and workout in general everyday and would love to get onto the hardest trails - I just don't have a ton of experience with hiking. And I don't want to be in a bad situation alone so what would you guys suggest in terms of challenging but not dangerous trails?

I'm at a loss as to what to do Friday (another long/challenging hike and then other activities?), and then I depart Saturday at noon for Boston.

One last thing - I'm concerned about getting phone service at all in Acadia - I have Verizon. Should I invest in a GPS for maps? I'll be getting a hiking trail map but I think that'll pretty much be it.

Suggestions, please? :) Thanks!

Ithaca, New York
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1. Re: Solo Travelling in Acadia

Original poster here! Now also considering of doing some stand-up paddleboarding yoga that first day I get there (Tues) because it seems the Acadia SUP company only has yoga on Tuesdays PM and Sundays AM.

Bar Harbor, Maine
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2. Re: Solo Travelling in Acadia

You'll have plenty of time for hiking after your sunrise on Cadillac. There are several close trails. You could drive around to Sand Beach and hike Gorham Mountain or the Great Head Trail. Both are moderate hikes. You could also go around to Jordan Pond House and hike any number of hikes that originate there. I don't think the rungs on the Cadillac South Ridge trail will pose any problem for you - it's actually a pretty moderate trail.

If you are spending the day on the Western side of the island, consider Acadia Mountain or Flying Mountain. Acadia is a lot of rock scrambling on the harder side where Flying Mountain is low but right along the water so it has great views. While over there, go drive around the 102A loop stopping at the tide pools along the natural seawall, visit the Bass Harbor Lighthouse and then go for your lobster dinner at Thurston's Lobster Pound.

Your phone service will be spotty on the island, going in and out. So will the GPS. I'd just stick with a good paper trail map. I have Verizon and I usually find that my phone works well on the tops of most of the mountains but not so well during the hike. You'll have great service in the Bar Harbor area and less great service on the Western side.

Bar Harbor, Maine
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3. Re: Solo Travelling in Acadia

Don't be afraid of hiking alone. You'll never really be all that much alone because another hiker will come along on almost any of the trails, and especially on the South Ridge Trail of Cadillac. The one iron rung on that trail is simply a good hand or foot-hold to get up (or down) a rather tall rock. I don't see any need for GPS in the Park. It's all pretty clear. Good shoes, a hiking map, and carrying water is a very good idea.

Have you noticed the yoga studio right on Main Street in Bar Harbor: http://www.cattitudemdi.com/

You don't mention a boat tour. You might do that on Friday. There are several shorter tours that go out from Bar Harbor to see seals and lighthouses. You can also take the Cranberry Island ferry/mailboat from Northeast Harbor (or Southwest Harbor). It's rather fun to spend a few hours on Little Cranberry Island where you can walk all around the tiny village and to the shore, where there is a path. There is one restaurant and a few shops out there.

Ithaca, New York
6 posts
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4. Re: Solo Travelling in Acadia

Thank you both for all of your help! Do either of you have any tips on parking? I've seen people mention using the Island shuttle bus. I prefer driving and parking but if it gets ridiculous, then I might consider taking the shuttle around the island.

Bar Harbor, Maine
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5. Re: Solo Travelling in Acadia

There is parking at most trailheads. It gets really crowded at Sand Beach and at Jordan Pond in July and especially August. The Island Exploer buses are convenient for those sites and they run frequently to both places. The bus is also nice for taking a one way hike, for example, up the north ridge trail of Cadillac and down the south ridge.

Ithaca, New York
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6. Re: Solo Travelling in Acadia

Thank you!

So my tentative itinerary (to be more filled out throughout the next couple of days) is as follows:

8/19

11:00 AM Leave for Hope, Maine

1:00 PM Arrive in Hope

Drive to Acadia (1 hr 45 min)

3:00 PM Short hike

Park Loop Drive

Buy park pass for next day

Drive back

Sleep

8/20

3:30 AM Leave for Cadillac

5:39 Sunrise at Cadillac

Park car at Sand Beach

8:00 AM Hike Gorham Mountain (1.8 mi, connect with Bowl for longer hike) or Great Head Trail (1.4 mi)

9:30 AM Finish trail, park at Jordon Pond House

Hike a trail (Acadia Mountain - 1.8 mi, connect with St. Sauveur for longer hike)

Drive 102A loop, see tidepools

Visit Bass Harbor Lighthouse

3:30 PM Arrive for Sea Kayaking

8:00 PM End sea kayaking

Visit Bass harbord Head Lighthouse

Dinner at Thurston's? (Open 11 AM to 9 PM)

Sleep

8/21

6:15 AM Drive to Acadia

8:00 AM Cadillac Mountain South Rdige trail (7.4 mi, ~4 hours)

1:00 PM Stop for lunch at Jordan Pond House or pack lunch

Walk around Jordan Pond

Hike Perpendicular Trail?

8/22

Cranberry Isles?

Mount Battie?

8/23

Leave for Boston

Everything is still open to change - obviously all the hiking depends on how I feel as the days go on. The itinerary is still not quite as fleshed out because I spent a lot of time figuring out the first couple days in the Portland/Ogunquit area (speaking of which - I know this is the Acadia forum, but does anyone have any suggestions for best Lobster near Portland?)

Ithaca, New York
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7. Re: Solo Travelling in Acadia

I'm also considering the Atlantic Brewing Company and a sunset at Frenchman Bay on 8/22 after the Cranberry Isles.

Boston...
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8. Re: Solo Travelling in Acadia

Eileen: Is there a specific reason that you're staying in Hope for your visit to Acadia? That is quite a drive to and from Mt Desert Island every day. You'd have a much easier time if you stayed on Mt Desert (Bar Harbor, Southwest Harbor, Bass Harbor, etc.) for your 4 days in Acadia. Just wondered....

Ithaca, New York
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9. Re: Solo Travelling in Acadia

I'd already booked my reservations for a place through Airbnb before I'd finished figuring out my itinerary but switched it a couple days ago. I'm now staying somewhere about 40 minutes away from the park.

Question: I'm going to check out the sunrise at Cadillac Mountain tomorrow morning but I'm wondering if I need to go purchase a park pass today to do that - any insight? Or can I just go buy the pass after the sunrise tomorrow?

Bar Harbor, Maine
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10. Re: Solo Travelling in Acadia

You can just buy your pass after sunrise tomorrow.