Maine’s Acadia National Park sparkles, especially in autumn

It has been years since I visited Acadia National Park on Maine’s central coast, yet the images in my mind of the place are many, crystal clear and readily retrieved.

The stark and explosive beauty of the rugged Maine coastline, the stunning grandeur of its rich forests, its dazzling colors, especially in autumn, cause Acadia National Park to be one of the most visited in the system despite being one of the smallest.

It should be high on any destination list for anyone visiting downeast.

There is plenty to do there – hiking, biking, birding, rock climbing, swimming, camping, ranger-led programs and more. It is a great place for a photographer or painter, or for a writer to find inspiration.

I found a National Geographic Magazine feature on a few of the nation’s fabulous national parks, including Acadia National Park. It includes a story, photos, map and other elements, including a list of visitor tips. Below are links to websites to get more information about helping preserve the park, park hours and fees, and a history of the National Park System and Acadia National Park.

Acadia National Park

Location: Mount Desert Island, Maine

Size: 47,000 acres

Trails: 135 miles and growing

Lakes and ponds: More than 20

Volunteers: About 3,500 perform about 40,000 hours of work each year

Named national monument: 1916, and three years later was listed as a national park, the first east of the Mississippi River.

More links

Acadia National Park: Visit this site for facts about Acadia, including current activities and trail conditions.

Friends of Acadia: This nonprofit organization is dedicated to preserving and improving the park.

Bar Harbor Historical Society: Learn more about the history of Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island.

National Park Service: This website gives a history of the park service with links to other resources.

Fire of 1947: Read this park service summary of the fire that burned thousands of acres of Acadia National Park.

Acadia Mountain Guides: Anyone planning to hone their rock-climbing skills should check out this website to sign up for courses or rent equipment. Instructions are available for rock climbers at all levels.

Down East Nature Tours: Avid birders should look here to find out more about birding trips, photography tours, and camping excursions, which are available seven days a week all year. Plan your trip with tips from this website, which provides comprehensive national park information and recommendations. Participate in the Acadia online forum to get first-hand reviews from other visitors.

American Park Network: Research the history of Acadia National Park, discover things to do, and locate lodging options on this website. Be sure to click on “Just for Kids” to learn about child-friendly activities.

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