One of the 19th-century bridges over the historic carriage roads of Acadia.
Tara skipping down the carriage roads in Acadia.
Exploring the Carriage Roads in Style
View from Beech Mountain
Atop Acadia Mountain
'Desert' or 'Dessert'?
Despite the spelling, there is an ongoing debate about the pronunciation of 'Mount Desert Island.' French explorer Samuel de Champlain coined it "île des Monts Déserts," or Island of the Bare Mountains, in the early 17th century. In French, the emphasis is on the second syllable of 'déserts,' therefore sounding closer to 'dessert' than 'desert'. Whichever way you pronounce it, it's always a fun conversation starter with the locals.
First Stop: Visitors Center
Our first stop is always a National Park Visitor Center. There we connect with a Park Ranger to check if there are any trail closures due to wildlife sightings or maintenance work and ask about their favorite hikes to add to our list. We also review schedules for tours and Ranger talks and pick up maps, guidebooks, snacks, and gifts.
In Acadia, the primary visitor center is Hulls Cove in Bar Harbor, open mid-April to the end of October. For a full list of seasonal visitor centers and hours, visit the NPS Acadia website.
Photo credit: National Park Service / Kent Miller
Leave No Trace
We can all pitch in to preserve the delicate coastline, carriage roads and mountain trails of Acadia National Park for future generations. Here are a few friendly reminders: leave nothing along the trail, regardless of how small, follow the main trails, leave wildflowers and natural plants as you found them, and do not deface any natural or humanmade feature with carvings or markings.
Compass & Key is proud to be an independent online travel resource. All photography by Pradeep and Tara Anbudaiyan unless otherwise noted. Attraction, hotel and restaurant prices and hours are as current as possible, but please re-confirm before finalizing travel plans. And bravo to you for reading the fine print.