Acadia National Park Snow Sports Overview

Gorp.com
Cross-country skiing in Acadian National Park.
Cross-country skiing in Acadian National Park. (courtesy, NPS)

Winter is a time of contrast in Acadia. The turbulence of the sea at Thunder Hole during a winter storm gives way to the serenity of deer walking through snow-covered forests. Leafless hardwood trees reveal the forest that was hidden during most of the year, while frozen ponds seal their secrets until spring thaw. Whether hiking, cross-country skiing, or snowmobiling, winter is an excellent time to discover Acadia's beauties.

Due to Acadia's coastal location, snow and weather conditions change rapidly. Temperatures vary from the mid-30s to below zero.The park averages 60" of snow annually.

Begin your visit at the winter information center at park headquarters, open every day except Thanksgiving, December 24, 25, and January 1. Located three miles west of Bar Harbor on Route 233, the Headquarters Information Center's hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Winter Camping

  • Off-season camping is permitted only at Blackwoods Campground, located on Route 3, 5.5 miles south of Bar Harbor. Fees may vary.
  • Campers self-register at the campground entrance station.
  • A pit toilet and a pump for drinking water are available.
  • Gather only dead and down firewood. Firewood is available for purchase in Otter Creek.
  • Maximum length of stay is 30 days.

THERE IS NO BACKCOUNTRY CAMPING AT ACADIA NATIONAL PARK.

Cross-Country Skiing

Forty-five miles of carriage roads, and 41 miles of unplowed park roads are suggested for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Skiing on hiking trails can be difficult or impossible due to:

  • Snow too shallow to cover roots and rocks.
  • Steep trails with ice falls blocking your path.
  • Trail routes obscured by light snow.

Ski equipment and rentals are available in some of the local communities. Ski track is sometimes laid down by volunteers on sections of the carriage roads when snowfall exceeds four inches.

Ice Fishing

Maine fishing licenses are purchased in local town offices, and some local businesses.

Ice Skating/Ice Boating

Only rarely will lakes freeze smoothly and free of snow.

Snowmobiling

  • Snowmobile travel is allowed only on designated roads. Only two miles of carriage roads are open to snowmobilers to make connector trails. The rest are closed to snowmobilers.
  • Snowmobiles must display a valid state registration.
  • Stay to the right; all park routes are two-way travel.
  • 35 mph maximum snowmobile speed.
  • Use caution and watch for cross-country skiers, snowshoers, and hikers. Yield to anyone not on a snowmobile.
  • Towing people on skis or sleds is prohibited.
  • It is illegal to operate a snowmobile while under the influence of liquor or drugs.
  • Drivers under the age of 10 must be accompanied by a person 18 years or older. Drivers under the age of 14 are prohibited from operating a snowmobile on any public road. An adult may supervise only one minor at a time.

Driving

Although the state and county roads on Mount Desert Island are plowed in the winter, most of the Park Loop Road remains closed due to snow and ice. Two short sections of the Park Loop Road stay open by the coast and near Jordan Pond.


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