Winter Activities

Acadia coastline in winter
 

Getting Started

 
 
Map of Park Loop Road access in winter

Scenic Drives

Although most of Park Loop Road is closed in winter, two sections remain open, Ocean Drive and Jordan Pond Road. Scenic areas of Acadia are also visible and accessible from public roads that travel through and along the park.

Ocean Drive: scenic, one-way portion of Park Loop Road is accessible from Schooner Head Road, one-mile (1.6 km) south of downtown Bar Harbor on Route 3, and stretches for 2 miles (3.2 km) along the coast. Stay in the right lane, as snowmobiles are permitted to use the unplowed left lane. Exit Ocean Drive via Otter Cliff Road to Route 3.

Jordan Pond Road: two-way and accessible just north of Seal Harbor. Follow the Jordan Pond Road to Park Loop Raod, which is plowed to the Jordon Pond House Restaurant parking areas.

Sargeant Drive to Northeast Harbor and Route 102A to Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse also offer scenic winter views of Acadia and Mount Desert Island.

 

Winter Hiking

Acadia's trails can become icy and snowpacked in winter. Be prepared for unfavorable conditions and early darkness.

  • Ice grippers, cleats, and traction footware can have little effect on slick, underlying granite surfaces.
  • Trekking poles are highly encouraged.
  • Hiking trails that are steep and challenging in summer tend to be ill-advised in fall and winter. Instead, consider exploring Ship Harbor, Ocean Path, and available Carriage Roads.
 

Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing

Looking for current ski conditions?
 Check out the grooming status at Friends of Acadia's Winter Trails Association.

Forty-five miles (72 km) of carriage roads in the park offer the perfect setting for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Ski tracks are sometimes laid down by volunteers on sections of the carriage roads when snowfall exceeds four inches (10 cm); nearly 32 miles (51 km) are designated for grooming when conditions and time permit.

You may also cross-country ski on unplowed park roads. Be careful, as snowmobiles are permitted to use most of these unplowed park roads. Skiing on hiking trails is not recommended because of the uneven and steep nature of trails, ice falls blocking the path, and trail routes obscured by snow.

Ski equipment and rentals are available in local communities.

Some areas may not be groomed. Please visit Friends of Acadia's updated grooming conditions.

  • Fat tire bicycles are not permitted on groomed carriage roads.

  • Please do not snowshoe or allow dogs to walk in cross-country ski tracks.

 
Map of ski trails groomed by Friends of Acadia
 

Snowmobiling

Snowmobile travel is allowed on the 27-mile (43 km) Park Loop Road system (including the road up Cadillac Mountain) and most fire roads. Maps of the east side and west side show snowmobile routes and parking.


Snowmobile regulations include:

  • All Maine state snowmobile laws are enforced in the park. Maine registration is required. As a reminder, tracked side-by-side (ATVs) are not permitted in Acadia National Park.
  • Snowmobiles are not allowed on carriage roads, except for the east side of Eagle Lake to make the connection to the Park Loop Road at Bubble Road.
  • Snowmobiles are not permitted off-road or on any hiking trails.
  • Maximum speed is 35 mph (56 km/h) on Park Loop Road and 25 mph (40 km/h) on all unpaved roads.
  • Yield to anyone not on a snowmobile (skiers, snowshoers, and hikers).
  • Turn on your white headlight and red tailight 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise, and whenever visibility is less than 500 feet (152 m).
  • Towing people on sleds or skis is prohibited.
  • It is illegal to operate snowmobiles while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Drivers must be an least 14 years old to operate snowmobiles in the park.
  • Anyone under 18 years old must wear approved protective headgear.

Snowmobilers are encouraged to utilize the Hulls Cove Visitor Center parking lot to access the winter snowmobile routes. Snowmobile rental is not available on Mount Desert Island.

 

Ice Fishing

Ice fishing is a popular activity in Acadia when weather conditions permit. See Fishing for more information.

 

Winter Camping

From December through March, a limited number of campsites at Blackwoods Campground are available for primitive camping only. Blackwoods is the only park facility that is designated for winter camping. Campers must obtain a free camping permit from either the park's Dispatch Office located at Park Headquarters on ME 233 west of Bar Harbor or at the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce located on 2 Cottage Street, on the corner of Cottage Street and Main Street in downtown Bar Harbor.

The campground entrance road is gated and closed, requiring campers to hike in a distance of approximately one mile (1.6 km) to the campground. Parking is limited at the entrance gate; only five or six vehicles will be able to park at one time. To serve the greatest number of people, camping parties are encouraged to park only one vehicle at the campground entrance; additional vehicles can be parked at Hulls Cove Visitor Center, located on ME 3 north of Bar Harbor. Campers should be careful not to block other vehicles and should not park on the shoulder of ME 3. Vehicles parked on the shoulder may be towed by the state during a snowstorm. It is advisable to have the tools necessary to shovel out vehicles if they get plowed in.

Campers must be prepared for extreme weather conditions and must be self-sufficient.

Facilities

  • Camping is limited to the established campsites in Loop B.
  • A hand pump for water and a drain for dumping gray water are available.
  • A portable toilet is available. Campers should bring their own toilet paper.

Reminders

  • Please collect, bag, and pack out all food scraps and trash.
  • Cutting vegetation (e.g., tree branches) is prohibited. Large pieces of wood for campfires may be available in the campground; a hatchet is needed to split the wood into usable pieces.
  • Snowmobiling is prohibited in Blackwoods Campground.
 

Dog Sledding and Skijoring

The use of dog sleds, dog carts, and skijoring with dogs is prohibited in the park due to the 6 foot (1.8 m) leash requirement per 36 CFR § 2.15(a)(2).

Last updated: December 1, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 177
Bar Harbor, ME 04609

Phone:

(207) 288-3338

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