Saturday, August 18, 2018

Cadillac Mountain and a Carriage Road Hike

Cadillac Mountain is a 'must see' in Acadia National Park.
Six years ago when we visited we took it the spectacular view from atop Cadillac Mountain.  And we did it again.   We heard this was the first day it wasn't completely overcast.  It still was a bit hazy, but breath-taking anyway.

The small islands in the distance are the 'porcupines'.  A Park Ranger said years ago, the French ships would hide behind and get the jump on approaching British ships.
We left our campground about 7:30 AM and got to the top of the mountain a little after 8:00 AM.  It wasn't too crowded yet and it was easy to find a parking place.
By the time we left, the parking lot was almost full and there were busloads of people taking a look.  Best to go early if you can.

 I always like an orientation map and here is one from the National Park Service:
You can see Cadillac Mountain in the center of the map.  We are camped in Ellsworth that is about 15 miles away (beyond the top of the map).  Cadillac Mountain is in the heart of the Mount Desert Island, Maine's largest and the sixth largest island in the contagious U.S.
The view showed Frenchman's Bay and we could see over to Schoodic Peninsula and more of Acadia National Park.
After our time on the mountain, we ventured down to Eagle Lake and hiked on one of the many Carriage Road trails throughout Acadia.

The Carriage Roads were one of the contributions made by the oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, Jr.  He bought a home in the Seal Harbor area and spent summers here.  After the national park was established he decided (along with other wealthy people) to buy property and donate it to the park.  He also got wind of the harmful effects of the gasoline powered automobiles and envisioned a system of horse drawn carriage roads throughout the park.  Years later over 57 miles of roads were built under his watchful eye.

Today those Carriage Roads are used by hikers, bikers and a small portion is available for Park-run Carriage Rides.

The parking lot at Eagle Lake is very small so we parked along the side of the road with many others.
We made our way over to the trail head at the corner of the lake and saw about 20-25 high schoolers with their shirts off.  They were from Vermont and had just completed a 10-mile run
After we passed them we started out on our hike and went counter-clock wise around the lake.  We opted for the easy walk with the gradual inclines.
It was mile after mile of walking through beautiful woods next to the lake.  Not exactly sure when this particular Carriage Road was built but it was perfect.  Back in the 1920's or 1930's there may have been fewer trees on the shoreline so we didn't have a lake view the whole walk.
But there were quite a few observation points where we could peak through the trees or step off the road and see some great views.
We started about 10:15 AM so the road wasn't too crowded yet.  There was some steady traffic but plenty of room for everyone.  We say quite a few runners, lots of hikers, and lots and lots of people on bikes.  It was great to see how many families and youngsters were out on the trail.
We went about halfway around the lake and decided to turn around instead of taking on the more difficult west side of the lake Carriage Road.  We saw a space off the trail for a picnic and spent some time enjoying the view.
I figure after our hike on the Carriage Roads, we only have about 54 miles more to go before we see them all.  Doubt that will happen but they are about the best way we know to get in a walk and to have a beautiful walk in the woods.  We love this place!

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!


  1. We hope to make it up to that pretty area at some point.

  2. Carriage Roads in Acadia are spectacular. The bridges on these roads are works of art!!! The summer we spent two months near Acadia, I got to see all the bridges and just can't wait to get back there!! Thanks for taking us along Eagle Lake:o))

  3. Looks like a great time, we loved that area:)

  4. Looks gorgeous! I hope we can visit Acadia someday, too.