We were in our last hours of our visit to Acadia National Park. We had already checked out of our cabin at Hadley’s Point Campground but weren’t quite ready to hit the road. Jayne was determined to hike up Acadia Mountain since it had the same name as the park. I, on the other hand, was determined to see the iconic view of the Bass Harbor Lighthouse that we somehow missed the first time we tried to find it. (I will attribute that to being awake at 2 AM.) Both are on the western side of Mount Desert Island so at least we weren’t running all over to do our last minute visits.
The ranger at the visitor center had suggested hiking both Acadia Mountain and St. Sauver Mountain as a loop hike. If we didn’t need to go to the lighthouse still or be back in New Hampshire for dinner we probably would have done the loop. Instead, we settled for an out and back of Acadia Mountain. The hike up Acadia is only 0.75 mile with a little over 500 feet of elevation gain. That being said it is also a fairly popular hike. Another small mountain with big views.
There is a parking area right along State Route 102, the main road down the quiet side of Mountain Desert Island. From there you walk on a trail parallel to the road for a short bit before getting the Acadia Mountain Trail where the bus stop is. The trail is fairly easy with one moderately steep section half way up. The shorter distance and not being technical make this another splendid hike for families. It wasn’t as hazy as the past few days had been so we were able to see further out to the islands surrounding us.
We cruised back down in less than 25 minutes and were met with a rapidly filling up parking lot. The island shuttle wasn’t starting for the summer season until the following day so everyone still had to drive their own vehicles to get to the trails. This proved once again that the early bird really does catch the worm, or in our case the parking spot.
So now I have to admit my lighthouse mistake. Back on the day we hiked Cadillac Mountain, explored the Park Road Loop, and hiked Flying Mountain we also visited the Bass Harbor Lighthouse. I did not look that much into it before going. What could there be to know after all, right? Wrong! If you get to the parking lot you will see a paved path down around right next to the lighthouse. If you go that way and only that way you will most likely be let down, as we were. It appeared the only way to get the iconic view of the Bass Harbor Lighthouse was by boat. This was the image that is on posters, hats, and even the Maine State Quarter. I was disappointed. That was until I bought a book about the park and read that there was a short trail that led down to sea level for you to see the iconic view. This trail was even right next to the outhouse that both Jayne and I used. Again, we had been awake since 2:00 AM that day.
Our last adventure on our last day at Acadia. We snagged the last parking spot. Actually, it was only because someone was leaving that we got it. To get down to sea level the park put in a wood staircase. At the bottom of the staircase, you can continue down lower depending on the tide level. Just be sure to use caution as there are no more guardrails and the rocks can be slippery. The sound of a nearby buoy ringing out will remind you that this beautiful scene was once very dangerous to ships. The Bass Harbor Light was built in 1858 and a Coast Guard family currently lives in it year round. You will not be disappointed in the view of the lighthouse. Just remember to take the dirt path on the left side of the parking lot.
Our time at Acadia National Park had come to an end. It was a whirlwind of a trip, but we most certainly will be back. There are more mountains to climb and more beautiful vistas to be enjoyed.
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