Any eBikers familiar with Acadia National Park

Yamahonian

Active Member
Hi all,

Have a week off in mid-may and was thinking of taking my bike up to Acadia Park in maine, as class 1 eBikes are now legally allowed there.

Is anybody familiar with the Park? Is Mid-May a good time to visit? Hoping to get the sweet spot of warm-enough weather, before the crowds and the black flies arrive.

Any recommendations for a hotel to stay at? I would ideally like to be able to bike from my hotel to a carriage road that links to the main system of bike trails in the park, without having to bike on any roads with cars.

Thank you.
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
I've biked Acadia many times and I found no hotel or B&B locations that are close enough to the park to do what you propose. I usually stay at the Hampton Inn or Quality Inn in Bar Harbor. Both are about 1.5 miles from a park entrance but it requires riding on secondary roads. Although lightly traveled during the off season, they are not traffic free. There is also a considerable elevation change and the roads have narrow shoulders.

If camping is an option, there are four campgrounds located inside the park:

The best way to access the trails & carriage roads is to drive your vehicle to one of the many park trailheads. The park has three sections that are not connected to each other and you have to drive some distance to visit them. Also, all the carriage roads & trails do not interconnect and it is necessary to drive on park roads to access them. Touring the park by bicycle alone is a challenge and requires riding on heavily trafficked park roads. The situation is particularly hazardous because drivers are often looking at the scenery and not paying attention to the road.

Although most National Parks are now open to e-bikes, policies vary from park to park and the local rules are constantly changing. Not all trails & carriage roads in Acadia are open to bicycles, either e-bike or conventional. I find it to be quite confusing since the rules change seasonally and sometimes at the "whim" of the park superintendent. To further complicate things, some carriage roads are privately owned and have their own set of rules. The NPS Acadia website linked above has some information but it isn't always up to date. Your first stop should be the visitor center at the north end of the park off Hwy 3. You can also call in advance for more detailed information.

May in Acadia is usually a good time to visit. The black fly season is unpredictable though and is dependent on the weather.

Don't get me wrong, Acadia is a wonderful place to bike but a lot of planning is required. You also need to reserve early since hotels book up sometimes a year in advance.
 

Gordon71

Active Member
Hi all,

Have a week off in mid-may and was thinking of taking my bike up to Acadia Park in maine, as class 1 eBikes are now legally allowed there.

Is anybody familiar with the Park? Is Mid-May a good time to visit? Hoping to get the sweet spot of warm-enough weather, before the crowds and the black flies arrive.

Any recommendations for a hotel to stay at? I would ideally like to be able to bike from my hotel to a carriage road that links to the main system of bike trails in the park, without having to bike on any roads with cars.

Thank you.
If your talking about Acadia in Bar Harbor then I can't help you. I live a couple of miles from Acadia in the Gouldsboro and Winter Harbor area. That section has a nice one way drive along the ocean as well as groomed gravel bike and hiking trails. There are also campgrounds at the entrance to the park although I'm not sure whether they would be open that early or possibly not at all due to covid. There are no hotels but several B&Bs and home rentals in the area. May is still pretty chilly especially near the water. The good news is that the trails will be practically deserted. I got my first bike last Apr. and often saw no one on the trails especially on a week day and few on a weekend. That was true all summer and into the fall. There were of course travel restrictions etc. due to covid then.
 

Yamahonian

Active Member
I've biked Acadia many times and I found no hotel or B&B locations that are close enough to the park to do what you propose. I usually stay at the Hampton Inn or Quality Inn in Bar Harbor. Both are about 1.5 miles from a park entrance but it requires riding on secondary roads. Although lightly traveled during the off season, they are not traffic free. There is also a considerable elevation change and the roads have narrow shoulders.

If your talking about Acadia in Bar Harbor then I can't help you. I live a couple of miles from Acadia in the Gouldsboro and Winter Harbor area. That section has a nice one way drive along the ocean as well as groomed gravel bike and hiking trails. There are also campgrounds at the entrance to the park although I'm not sure whether they would be open that early or possibly not at all due to covid. There are no hotels but several B&Bs and home rentals in the area. May is still pretty chilly especially near the water. The good news is that the trails will be practically deserted. I got my first bike last Apr. and often saw no one on the trails especially on a week day and few on a weekend. That was true all summer and into the fall. There were of course travel restrictions etc. due to covid then.

Thanks guys. Please forgive me for I have several follow-up questions.

The week I was planning on going is the third week in May. Accuweather lists the historical average as mid 60s, which is warm enough for me to bike. What is your experience with the weather in the park at this time of year? Is Spring in bloom yet, or are all the trees still dead from winter?

Importantly, would the carriage roads be open yet from the mud season closure? I will book a hotel with free cancellation, just in case they are still closed.

I actually have a full 10 days off. I plan to take two days each way to drive up and back, as I live 600 miles away, and I fear that is too much for me to drive in one day. So, I would leave my house on Saturday, arrive at Acadia on Sunday, and then head back home the following Sunday.

I am not familiar with Maine (never been), but I was planning on spending 7 nights at Acadia for the purpose of biking the carriage trails, figuring a couple extra days for bad weather. Do you think that will be sufficient, or too much?

Are there other good eBiking trails in Maine you would recommend while I am up there? Or recommended "bad weather" activities?

Lastly, where can I find a map of what carriage roads are open to bikers? You mentioned that Acadia should be pretty empty on a weekday in Mid-May. Maybe I can find a hotel that is relatively close to a quiet park road that gives easy access to the biking carriage trails...

For example, it looks like the Hampton Inn you recommended is an easy ride to Duck Brook Rd, which leads into Acadia park and appears to link up with with carriage trails by crossing a Duck Brook Bridge (looking at Google Maps). This Duck Brook Rd doesn't look like a major road, and if I can use it to connect to the carriage trails, the Hampton looks like a good choice.

Thank you to all!!!
 

Dallant

Well-Known Member
Given the COVID issues, you probably should just call any places of interest to hear they’re availability/rules vs asking us about places close by.
Three years ago we were told by a local ebike rental place near Acadia that they wouldn’t rent an ebike to me because the park wouldn’t allow it. Best of luck, it’s a beautiful area with lots of great biking trails!
 
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Gordon71

Active Member
The week I was planning on going is the third week in May. Accuweather lists the historical average as mid 60s, which is warm enough for me to bike. What is your experience with the weather in the park at this time of year? Is Spring in bloom yet, or are all the trees still dead from winter?

Air temps may be that warm sometimes but if when your riding in the park there is a breeze off the ocean it's going to feel a lot colder. It's why the coast is colder in summer and warmer in winter than just a few miles inland. Riding is better in the fall than in the spring because the ocean has warmed up some by then.
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
Thanks guys. Please forgive me for I have several follow-up questions.

The week I was planning on going is the third week in May. Accuweather lists the historical average as mid 60s, which is warm enough for me to bike. What is your experience with the weather in the park at this time of year? Is Spring in bloom yet, or are all the trees still dead from winter?

Importantly, would the carriage roads be open yet from the mud season closure? I will book a hotel with free cancellation, just in case they are still closed.

I actually have a full 10 days off. I plan to take two days each way to drive up and back, as I live 600 miles away, and I fear that is too much for me to drive in one day. So, I would leave my house on Saturday, arrive at Acadia on Sunday, and then head back home the following Sunday.

I am not familiar with Maine (never been), but I was planning on spending 7 nights at Acadia for the purpose of biking the carriage trails, figuring a couple extra days for bad weather. Do you think that will be sufficient, or too much?

Are there other good eBiking trails in Maine you would recommend while I am up there? Or recommended "bad weather" activities?

Lastly, where can I find a map of what carriage roads are open to bikers? You mentioned that Acadia should be pretty empty on a weekday in Mid-May. Maybe I can find a hotel that is relatively close to a quiet park road that gives easy access to the biking carriage trails...

For example, it looks like the Hampton Inn you recommended is an easy ride to Duck Brook Rd, which leads into Acadia park and appears to link up with with carriage trails by crossing a Duck Brook Bridge (looking at Google Maps). This Duck Brook Rd doesn't look like a major road, and if I can use it to connect to the carriage trails, the Hampton looks like a good choice.

Thank you to all!!!
Questions are no problem. Ask away, I'm glad to be of help. That's what this site is all about!

As Gordon says, it is cool in May due to the ocean breeze but on average, the 3rd week should be suitable for comfortable biking. The foliage is starting to bloom by then. The weather is variable though so pack accordingly with layered clothing.

The carriage roads & trails have a gravel surface and mud isn't normally a problem. They are open year round unless a storm brings down trees or washes out a section.

Seven days is plenty of time in the Acadia area. It really isn't that large. There is a lot to see that is non bike related and doable during inclement weather. Cadillac Mountain, Jordan Pond House, Hull Cove Visitors Center, Sieur de Monts and Thunder Hole are some examples. There is also a lot to see and do in Bar Harbor.

There are many good bike trails in Maine. Traillink.com is a good place to look for information: https://www.traillink.com/trailsearch/?mmloc=Maine Check out the user reviews for more details.

The National Park Service has this map of the carriage roads: https://www.nps.gov/acad/planyourvisit/upload/crummap.pdf Another good one is available from AcadiaBike: https://www.acadiabike.com/carriageroadsandroutes. It is best to call ahead or stop at the Hull Cove Visitor Center for the latest information on bike access to roads & trails.

For the most part, the carriage roads & trails do not intersect with the park vehicle roads. Almost all are overpasses with no access between the two. Duck Brook Bridge for example is an overpass that takes Duck Brook Rd over top of the carriage road. Access is strictly controlled and only available at trailheads & parking lots.
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
My wife was born in Waterville, Me. Been to Acadia many times, but haven't been there before July and never cycled there. Cadillac Mountain is the highest peak on the east coast at 1,500 ft. Might be a little snow left up there in May, depends on the year. Mid May is in the wet season and the start of bug season. Wife's Grandfather always said there are two seasons around that region, 4th of July and winter. As mentioned mid September would be a much better choice. Research some tour sites, this one seems pretty good; https://jameskaiser.com/acadia-guide/best-times-to-visit-acadia-national-park/ Absolutely no reason to take a swim suit in May. The ocean currents around there comes from Nova Scotia and the Bay of Fundy. I've never been in past my knees at any visit, and that hurt like hell!
 
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Yamahonian

Active Member
Questions are no problem. Ask away, I'm glad to be of help. That's what this site is all about!

As Gordon says, it is cool in May due to the ocean breeze but on average, the 3rd week should be suitable for comfortable biking. The foliage is starting to bloom by then. The weather is variable though so pack accordingly with layered clothing.

The carriage roads & trails have a gravel surface and mud isn't normally a problem. They are open year round unless a storm brings down trees or washes out a section.

Seven days is plenty of time in the Acadia area. It really isn't that large. There is a lot to see that is non bike related and doable during inclement weather. Cadillac Mountain, Jordan Pond House, Hull Cove Visitors Center, Sieur de Monts and Thunder Hole are some examples. There is also a lot to see and do in Bar Harbor.

There are many good bike trails in Maine. Traillink.com is a good place to look for information: https://www.traillink.com/trailsearch/?mmloc=Maine Check out the user reviews for more details.

The National Park Service has this map of the carriage roads: https://www.nps.gov/acad/planyourvisit/upload/crummap.pdf Another good one is available from AcadiaBike: https://www.acadiabike.com/carriageroadsandroutes. It is best to call ahead or stop at the Hull Cove Visitor Center for the latest information on bike access to roads & trails.

For the most part, the carriage roads & trails do not intersect with the park vehicle roads. Almost all are overpasses with no access between the two. Duck Brook Bridge for example is an overpass that takes Duck Brook Rd over top of the carriage road. Access is strictly controlled and only available at trailheads & parking lots.

Thanks - I was going to book a hotel now, with free cancellation, in case covid picks up again.

You recommended the Hampton Inn in Bar Harbor, looking at the google map and the AcadiaBike Map, it seems to be a quick and easy bike ride from the Hampton Inn to the Acadia Inn, along minimally trafficked roads. The Acadia Inn has a carriage road that links it to Duck Brook Road, which looks like it connects to the carriage roads over Duck Brook Bridge. From there, I can ride South towards Eagle Lake and connect to the bulk of the carriage roads in the park.

Does that look like I could access the carriage roads from the Hampton Inn, without needing to drive to a trailhead? It would be nice to find a hotel that will let me bring my bike inside the room, and to be able to bike from the hotel to the carriage roads without needing to drive and find parking.
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
Your plan may work but it will depend on whether that carriage road, and the ones connecting to it, allow e-bikes. The Acadia Inn may offer some advice. I would also check with the National Park office.

When I was at the Hampton Inn 2 years ago, they had no problem taking bikes into the room. Booking a first floor room helps.
 

Yamahonian

Active Member
I was actually about to book that Hampton Inn.

Looking at the map, it seems I would bike down a somewhat steep road - Norman Rd - and then turn right onto another somewhat steep road - Highbrook Rd - and then I could access the carriage road towards the end of that road, prior to when it intersects with Maine Route 3.

Do you remember these roads, Norman Rd and Highbrook Rd, and whether they would be safe to bike up and down?

From what another user said, hopefully mid-week during mid-May won't be too crowded.

If not, I will book the Acadia Inn, which is at the bottom of this hill, and I can access the trail directly from the hotel.
 

Yamahonian

Active Member
If your talking about Acadia in Bar Harbor then I can't help you. I live a couple of miles from Acadia in the Gouldsboro and Winter Harbor area. That section has a nice one way drive along the ocean as well as groomed gravel bike and hiking trails. There are also campgrounds at the entrance to the park although I'm not sure whether they would be open that early or possibly not at all due to covid. There are no hotels but several B&Bs and home rentals in the area. May is still pretty chilly especially near the water. The good news is that the trails will be practically deserted. I got my first bike last Apr. and often saw no one on the trails especially on a week day and few on a weekend. That was true all summer and into the fall. There were of course travel restrictions etc. due to covid then.

How crowded will bar harbor be, mid-week, during the third week of may? Will there be plenty of local traffic/cars on the road in the downtown area, or pretty much empty?

I am wondering if I will be able to bike into and around the downtown area, for tasty lobster rolls and an evening stroll, without needing to drive.

Thank you
 

Gordon71

Active Member
I don't really know as I've not been there in years. Too commercial and to crowded for my taste. That said I doubt it will be too bad in May.
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
I was actually about to book that Hampton Inn.

Looking at the map, it seems I would bike down a somewhat steep road - Norman Rd - and then turn right onto another somewhat steep road - Highbrook Rd - and then I could access the carriage road towards the end of that road, prior to when it intersects with Maine Route 3.

Do you remember these roads, Norman Rd and Highbrook Rd, and whether they would be safe to bike up and down?

From what another user said, hopefully mid-week during mid-May won't be too crowded.

If not, I will book the Acadia Inn, which is at the bottom of this hill, and I can access the trail directly from the hotel.
I never rode a bike from the Hampton Inn to the park but I do remember the roads had quite a grade with narrow shoulders. I'll admit it would be convenient to ride directly from the hotel but for me, using my vehicle & bike rack is no problem and a lot safer. The trailhead parking lots are large and I never had a problem finding a space.

The roads around Bar Harbor are also narrow with little or no provisions for bikes. I've seen many people riding there though. In any case, use a lot of caution!

From my experience, the crowds are proportional to the weather. The better it is, the more people will visit the park.
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
You might try this:
Whenever I plan a bike trip, I use Google Earth Pro to get an idea of what the area looks like where I'm going. If you don't already have it, you can download the program for PC or Mac free here:
Use your email address and the license key GEPFREE to log in.

Once you have Google Earth booted, copy & paste these coordinates into the search box in the upper left of the screen:
N 44 23.436 W 068 13.331

This will take you to the Hampton Inn. Use the pan & zoom features to view the roads and any part of Acadia you choose. There is also an elevation reading on the bottom right for any point on the map. You can use this to find the elevation change and slope of the places you plan to ride.
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
I never rode a bike from the Hampton Inn to the park but I do remember the roads had quite a grade with narrow shoulders. I'll admit it would be convenient to ride directly from the hotel but for me, using my vehicle & bike rack is no problem and a lot safer. The trailhead parking lots are large and I never had a problem finding a space.

The roads around Bar Harbor are also narrow with little or no provisions for bikes. I've seen many people riding there though. In any case, use a lot of caution!

From my experience, the crowds are proportional to the weather. The better it is, the more people will visit the park.
Every road in Maine is narrow with little or no shoulders, even state highways. LOL Only exception is I-95. Here's the way to get directions up thear. https://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/whats-the-best-way/2868135
 
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Yamahonian

Active Member
Well I went ahead and booked that hampton inn. The price on priceline was 4 dollars cheaper than hilton.com, so i called and asked for a price match. They matched priceline, then took an ADDITIONAL 25% off the total cost of the reservation! What a steal! 7 nights in Bar Harbor at the Hampton for just $100/night!

@6zfshdb , you are right, I did the google earth and there is a pretty steep grade coming up from Highbrook Ave from Maine Route 3 to the Hampton Inn. I have a Yamaha PW-X powered bike, and have tackled some gnarly off road hills, so I think I should be good. Better save 10% battery for that last stretch.

You said that Hilton had no problem letting you bring the bike inside? What else did you do on your trip to Maine? Now that I saved so much on the hotel, its time to get excited for the trip!!
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
Well I went ahead and booked that hampton inn. The price on priceline was 4 dollars cheaper than hilton.com, so i called and asked for a price match. They matched priceline, then took an ADDITIONAL 25% off the total cost of the reservation! What a steal! 7 nights in Bar Harbor at the Hampton for just $100/night!

@6zfshdb , you are right, I did the google earth and there is a pretty steep grade coming up from Highbrook Ave from Maine Route 3 to the Hampton Inn. I have a Yamaha PW-X powered bike, and have tackled some gnarly off road hills, so I think I should be good. Better save 10% battery for that last stretch.

You said that Hilton had no problem letting you bring the bike inside? What else did you do on your trip to Maine? Now that I saved so much on the hotel, its time to get excited for the trip!!
It's been a couple of years since I stayed at the Hampton Inn but they had no problem taking a bike into the room then. A first floor room is a lot more convenient since it's tough getting the bike in the elevator.

By all means see Acadia before going elsewhere. Your first stop should be the Hull Cove visitor center. You'll need to pick up an entrance pass since they are required from May thru October. Senior National Parks Passes are accepted. Watch the film and pick up information on all the main points of interest.

There is talk about a trial vehicle reservation system for 2021 which will limit the number of vehicles allowed in the park. You might want to check before driving up there. I don't know how it will affect those entering by bicycle. This website is a good place to visit for current information: https://www.nps.gov/acad/index.htm

IMO, Thunder Hole is a must see. Heed the warning signs though. Many don't and there are drownings there every year. At the very least, you'll get soaked to the skin if you aren't careful. Riding a bike with wet clothes is no fun.

Trip Advisor is always a good source for Acadia information: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attract..._National_Park_Mount_Desert_Island_Maine.html

Depending on your taste, there is a lot to see and do in and around Bar Harbor. I enjoyed the Oceanarium: http://www.theoceanarium.com/ It opens in late may so you should check the dates.

I also enjoyed the Lobster Hatchery which opens in mid May: https://visitmaine.com/organization...hatchery/038ebf58-f9b6-4eb0-8007-cc5465ca6ee3

There are various walking & biking tours available during the season but May is a bit early.

I'm a lighthouse fan and Maine is Meca for lighthouse viewing. There are many in the Bar Harbor area: https://visitmaine.com/things-to-do/lighthouses-sightseeing/lighthouses

You can also check Trip Advisor's Coastal Maine website for many other points of interest: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g1438850-Activities-Mid_Coast_Maine_Maine.html

You won't have any trouble using up your seven day stay.
 

Yamahonian

Active Member
Well I set the dates for May 14-23 for my trip to Acadia Park, and now am worried that the carriage roads may still be closed for mud season. I spoke to a lady at the park, and she said that they do not speculate on when the carriage roads will reopen because it depends how much rain/snow they get in the spring.

Any locals familiar with when the carriage roads open for biking, and if I may be too early? If so, i will reschedule for the fall (hoping I don't have to reschedule, though).
 

retiredNH

Member
Region
USA
I'd invest in a head net. Light and easy to carry if you don't need it, and it will preserve your sanity if the black flies are already out. We live in SW NH, and they're mandatory for our kit in May and early June.

Mud season? This has been an odd winter here in upper New England. Our local mud season (we live on a dirt road) has been short and mild. I'm quite certain, given the early warm weather up here, that mud season will be long gone by May in coastal Maine. Remember that the marine influence the park has means it never gets as cold as further inland.

Finally, Cadillac Mt. may be the highest mountain ON THE COAST, but there are many higher mountains inland. Heck, even my house is higher at 1800 feet or so.