Vehicle Reservations

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Park staffer uses mobile device to check a visitor's vehicle reservation
A park ranger uses mobile device to verify a visitor's reservation at the entrance to the Cadillac Summit Road during an 18-day pilot in October 2020.

NPS Photo by John Kelly

 

Vehicle Reservations Planning Underway

Acadia National Park is studying results of an 18-day pilot of a Vehicle Reservation System in October to prepare for a full season of operation in 2021.

Where and when were vehicle reservations required?

  • Cadillac Summit Road (4:30 am to 6:30 pm) and Sand Beach Entrance (7 am to 5 pm) sections of the Park Loop Road providing access to Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, Ocean Path, the Beehive, Great Head, and Gorham Mountain.
  • Vehicle reservations were not required for other areas of the park
  • Vehicle reservations were not required to enter by foot or bike.

How do I make a vehicle reservation?

  • Reservations were purchased in advance online at Recreation.gov for $2.00 each.
  • Reservation fee was non-refundable for any reason, including fog, cloudiness, and other weather.
  • Reservations were not be sold at the park.

Is there a time limit on a vehicle reservation?

  • No. Reservations provided a timed entry, but did not require a departure time.
  • If you left the area with your vehicle, you needed another reservation to re-enter.

Why were vehicle reservations required?

  • Acadia is among the top ten most popular national parks in the United States, with more than 3.5 million visits a year. Visitation has surged almost 60 percent in a decade, leading to severe crowding at most park destinations. The National Park Service has prepared a Transportation Plan to reduce severe traffic and parking congestion so visitors can plan ahead and have a more enjoyable visit.The purpose of the plan is to manage access for vehicles, not people.

Good to Know

  • Vehicle reservations did not assign a specific parking space, but they ensured the availability of parking and reduce competition for parking in the reservation area.

  • To allow for short-term trip planning, additional vehicle reservations were made available two days in advance starting at 10 am ET on a rolling daily basis.

  • You must have had a valid park entrance pass in addition to your vehicle reservation. The vehicle reservation fee was not discounted for annual and lifetime pass holders.
  • You could have stayed in a vehicle reservation area if you arrived before the start of the reservation time.
  • Commercial tour operators with a valid Commercial Use Authorization did not require a vehicle reservation, but anyone travelling with them in a separate vehicle required a reservation.
  • Special Use Permits issued before the vehicle reservation pilot dates were announced will be honored. Special Use Permit holders did not require a vehicle reservation, but anyone travelling with them in a separate vehicle required a reservation.
  • Accredited school groups with an authorized entrance fee waiver did not require a vehicle reservation.
  • The Island Explorer bus system was not operating due to COVID-19.
 
Map of Cadillac Summit Vehicle Reservation Area
Map of Cadillac Summit Vehicle Reservation Area

Cadillac Summit Road

Cadillac Summit Road offers a three-mile drive to the top of the highest peak in the park. Along the way, there are several scenic pullouts to enjoy the view. Parking is available in two locations at the summit, where restrooms, a gift shop, and scenic overlooks connected by paved walks can be found. There is no Island Explorer bus service on the Cadillac Summit Road. Sunrise times range from 4:45 am in mid-June to 6:15 am in mid-October.

Cadillac Sunrise Reservation

4:30 to 7 am
Limited to one reservation per seven days

Cadillac Daytime Reservation

7 am to 6:30 pm
Limited to one reservation per day

Road Conditions

The narrow, two-lane road winds to the 1,530-foot summit of Cadillac Mountain. Drivers should use caution when traveling the road and yield to pedestrians. Road length: 3.2 miles.

Parking availability

Paved pullouts are located along the road for short-term parking to enjoy the views. Do not cross traffic to pull out on the opposite side of the road. The Blue Hill Overlook parking area is 1/4 mile before the summit and offers the best sunset views. The Cadillac Summit parking area is arranged in a loop and offers the best sunrise views.

Recreation Vehicles

Recreational vehicles and trailers are prohibited from the Cadillac Summit Road.

 
Map of Sand Beach Entrance Vehicle Reservation Area
Map of Sand Beach Entrance Vehicle Reservation Area

Sand Beach Entrance

Sand Beach Entrance offers access to the section of the Park Loop Road that includes Sand Beach (swimming, restrooms, changing rooms, water), Thunder Hole, and some of the park’s most popular hiking trails: Great Head, The Beehive, Ocean Path, and Gorham Mountain. The Park Loop Road continues beyond the vehicle reservation area to the Fabbri Picnic Area and Jordan Pond.

Sand Beach Entrance Reservation

7 am to 5 pm
Limited to two reservations per day

Road Conditions

The road beyond the entrance station is a two-lane, one-way road with parking allowed in the right lane in most places and a speed limit of 25 mph. Drivers should use caution when traveling the road and yield to pedestrians. Road length: 1.8 miles.

Parking Availability

Finding a parking spot while traveling one-way road requires that you park where there is availability as you are prohibited from backing up, reversing direction, or reentering the Sand Beach Entrance without another vehicle reservation. Parking areas are located at Sand Beach and at five locations along the length of the vehicle reservation area. Parking in the right travel lane is permitted unless otherwise posted.

Recreation Vehicles

While RVs are permitted to drive the Park Loop Road, there are no designated RV parking spaces and most parking areas have limited turning room. RVs are prohibited from parking in spaces designated for buses. RVs are permitted to park in the righthand lane of the road unless otherwise prohibited.

 

Learn More

 
Woman watches sunset standing between a jeep and a park wayside
A visitor watches sunset from a roadside pullout in July 2019.

Photo courtesy of Seth Baker, a visitor from Rochester, NY. Used with permission.

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Last updated: October 19, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 177
Bar Harbor, ME 04609

Phone:

(207) 288-3338

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