Acadia National Park may be closed but that doesn't mean-

October 01, 2013  •  6 Comments

The Maple at Eagle Lake.

I've gotten a slew of Facespace messages today regarding whether or not you all will be able to get around the park to make your pretty fall leaves pictures and such. And the answer is... appropriate rolling of drums here.... yes and no! So here's the good news- you'll be able to lay down in the middle of the park loop road and have a naked brunch if you like 

but what is even better is that there won't be the incessant tourists and buses and cars upon cars etc. 

and you'll feel what it's like to live here in the off season and photograph out in the park when you have the place to yourself! 

So- where there's a will there is a way. There are a number of backdoors or roads that get you close enough, for the intents and purposes of this particular quick post I'm just gonna tell you and you can do the map looking and Googling. 

1. The Otter Creek Road. Drive out on Rte 3 and head past the Jackson Labs and go by the Tarn to your right. About a mile past the Jackson Labs complex is a road to the left called Otter Creek Rd. which heads in to the beach at Otter Cliffs. Just Drive to the end and park on the shoulder and never block the gates and the walk to the beach is less than a quarter mile to that epic seashore. Straight ahead is boulder beach and a short hike up the hill and around the bend will take you to the top of the cliffs for great textures and a sweet view back along Schooner Head Road and Thunder Hole. 

2. Schooner Head Rd overlook. The point of land that juts out just past Sand Beach that you're looking at from the top of Otter Cliffs. Great Cliffs and nice maples and birches and some old ruins at the top of the 100 foot sheer drop. 

3. The back way into Sand Beach- head into Great Head but instead of going out to the head there's a path that cuts down to Sand Beach, you'll have to ford a little stream but what the hey! You're in it to win it aren't ya!?

4. Sieur Du Monts and the Tarn. Park next to the tarn and hike in toward the Wild Gardens of Acadia, and then take a nice foliage stroll through Great Meadow and along the boardwalk.

5. Alternate Great Meadow entrance at lower Ledgelawn Avenue. Drive past the Bar Harbor dump and further along the road when you come to the gate park along the shoulder and Do Not Block The Gate. Hike to the end of the road which is only about a 1/4 mile and you have the valley of Door and Champlain mountains in front of you. Don't make me tell you where to put your tripods. 

6. Hunter Beach. Look it up. You'll thank me later.

7. Eagle Lake. Beautiful. Open. Foliage. Sunrise. Sunset. Variety.

8 Duck Brook.

9. The waterfalls. Here's where I'm starting to feel a little bit more protective.

10. #Hire A Local. If you're on a tight schedule and you just want to be assured of getting some sweet shots, don't get on one of those buses on the pier that troll for tourists who want a disney experience, go to the source! Call me!

That's just scratching the surface, the island is a big place- if you want to make it happen: you'll find a way. Certainly this is a ridiculous place for the government to have put us, and in foliage season nonetheless! So hopefully this inconvenience won't last us long.  



Cindy Farr-Weinfeld(non-registered)
Thanks again Nate! I got so many pictures I am so happy with! I was able to get into various parts of the park too, as you suggested, but I didn't bring a bike because I have a terrible cold--I was so sick the whole time I was up there, that I figured it was probably best NOT to text you for coffee--all this coughing has a certain appetite-dampening effect on other people, as you can imagine! lol! But your suggestions were super helpful and I'm sure a lot of people will be able to take great pictures next week of ANP, thanks to your help. Hope all is well with you! Cindy
Tom Bricker(non-registered)
Nate - thanks for looks to be an incredibly helpful list. I was looking for something exactly like this!

With regard to the first spot, is the road to the left actually called Otter Cliff Road, or do we stay on Otter Creek Rd.? On Google Maps, it looks like Otter Cliff Road is the one to the left.

I'm not at all familiar with Maine (first visit!), so I'm hoping to do as much advance planning as possible...don't want to end up lost!

Rich Haig(non-registered)
Beautiful autumn image Nate. Looking forward to being up in Bar Harbor the weekend of Oct 18-21.
Stay well and keep amazing us with your awesome images
Steve Gingold(non-registered)
Thanks, Nate. That's a big help for us flatlanders.
Ahhh! This is fantastic! Thank you so much for putting this together. I have a list of hikes accessible outside Loop and just ordered a trail map so I can see what else I can get to from where. If the closure weren't affecting so many people financially, I'd keep my fingers crossed it were still closed for my visit. I love the idea of the solitude. It would be rad to meet up with you when I'm in town!
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