Disclaimer: This Exploring Acadia National Park’s Carriage Roads by Bike recap contains affiliate links…

 

Acadia’s Carriage Roads

Prior to our New England vacation, my husband and I watched several location-specific cycling videos as we researched what to expect on our trip. As avid fans of riding gravel, we were pleased to learn that Acadia National Park has 45-miles of rustic broken stone carriage roads winding their way throughout the park. A gift from John D. Rockefeller, Jr., the carriage roads were completed in 1940 and provide a safe place for hiking, cycling, horseback riding, and cross country skiing, away from the dangers of vehicular traffic.

 

About those Roads

The gravel roads that we ride in Loudoun and Fauquier Counties in Virginia are just that, roads. Vehicular traffic, especially when the roads are wet, cause potholes, ruts, and washboard, making for more challenging conditions. The carriage roads in Acadia were in excellent condition, and for the most part, lightly traveled by other park users.

With the popularity of eBikes and lots of bike rental places in the area, there were more people out enjoying the carriage roads than in years past, according to our friend who’s been riding and running on those roads for years. However, the farther away from parking areas we rode, the fewer people we encountered, a welcome escape.

 

Day 1 Ride Overview
  • • Ride With GPS Name: 49-AcadiaMostEveryCarriageTrail
  • • Ride with GPS: Link to turn-by-turn navigation cue sheet
  • • Location: Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine
  • • Start/Finish: Acadia National Park
  • • Course Type: Two separate loops
  • • Course Surface: Gravel
  • • Distance: 31 miles
  • • Time: 2:39:18
  • • Average Speed: 11.8 MPH
  • • Maximum Speed: 23.4 MPH
  • • Elevation Gain: 1,883 feet
  • • Elevation Range: 148 to 781 feet
  • • Temperature Range: 46° to 55°
  • • Course Map: See below

 

Day 2 (1st Ride) Ride Overview
  • • Ride With GPS Name: 49-AcadiaMostEveryCarriageTrail
  • • Ride with GPS: Link to turn-by-turn navigation cue sheet
  • • Location: Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine
  • • Start/Finish: Bar Harbor, Maine
  • • Course Type: Loop with a tail
  • • Course Surface: Gravel
  • • Distance: 24 miles
  • • Time: 2:06:39
  • • Average Speed: 11.5 MPH
  • • Maximum Speed: 24.3 MPH
  • • Elevation Gain: 1,578 feet
  • • Elevation Range: 59 to 551 feet
  • • Temperature Range: 49° to 56°
  • • Course Map: See below

 

Day 2 (2nd Ride) Ride Overview
  • • Ride With GPS Name: 49-AcadiaMostEveryCarriageTrail
  • • Ride with GPS: Link to turn-by-turn navigation cue sheet
  • • Location: Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine
  • • Start/Finish: Bar Harbor, Maine
  • • Course Type: Three attached loops
  • • Course Surface: Gravel and paved
  • • Distance: 12 miles
  • • Time: 1:03:30
  • • Average Speed: 11.6 MPH
  • • Maximum Speed: 27.5 MPH
  • • Elevation Gain: 659 feet
  • • Elevation Range: 50 to 316 MPH
  • • Temperature Range: 57° to 56°
  • • Course Map:

 

Fun Pictures From Along the Way – Day 1

The following pictures were taken either with my iPhone (affiliate link) or my husband’s Insta360 (affiliate link)…

For our first ride, we met Ed, our friend and fellow Dawn Patrol cyclist, who moved away from our area a couple of years ago. He just happened to be visiting family near Bar Harbor and agreed to be our tour guide while we were there. He been riding and running these carriage roads for years and was such a great source of information!

Who doesn’t  love a parking lot with a porta potty…

 

Carriage road bridge as seen from a park road below…

 

Carriage road…

 

My husband Bill and our friend Ed…

 

The carriage roads were well marked with signage…

 

Jordan Pond with the North Bubble and the South Bubble (two peaks) in the distance…

 

Bridge work…

 

Fun carriage road descent…

 

And Bill starting a climb…

 

Eagle Lake…

 

Smooth gravel and amazing views for miles…

 

Mandatory group selfies…

 

A drone followed us around… Not really, this was taken with my husband’s Insta360 which erases the selfie stick. 😉

 

Mandatory bike lean picture with Eagle Lake in the background…

 

Fun Pictures From Along the Way – Day 2 (1st Ride)

Now familiar with the carriage roads and having found a back way to get to the park from our hotel safely while riding our bikes, Bill and I headed out for our own ride the following morning. As soon as we got on the carriage road, we met Ed and his wife who were finishing up their run and walk.

It seemed like the leaves got more colorful daily…

 

That sky…

 

Overlook stonework completed in 1932 (etched in the stone between the bikes)…

 

Unexpected waterfalls…

 

Fascinating lichens…

 

Downhills were always welcome after so much climbing…

 

Swampy, but beautiful area…

 

Fun Pictures From Along the Way – Day 2 (2nd Ride)

After finishing up our morning ride, we checked in with our friend Chuck, another fellow Dawn Patrol cyclist, who was just arriving in Bar Harbor after a few days of camping as he headed north. We rode back to meet him at his hotel and give him a quick tour of the carriage roads.

Eagle Lake up close…

 

Sporting our VeloPigs kits…

 

Our friend Chuck sporting his Mile 0 jersey from our Key West trip…

 

An Eagle Lake pose…

 

Wrapping up our ride with a detour through downtown Bar Harbor…

 

Garmin Stats

Day 1

Post-ride Garmin (affiliate link) picture…

 

Garmin map and elevation graph…

 

Day 2 (1st Ride)

Post-ride Garmin picture…

 

Garmin map and elevation graph…

 

Day 2 (2nd Ride)

Garmin map and elevation graph…

 

Final Thoughts on the Ride

Bill and I thoroughly enjoyed riding on Acadia’s scenic carriage roads. The views changed from mountain vistas, to tree-canopied tunnels, to peaceful lakeside oases. Our rides were extremely relaxing and carefree without worrying about other traffic and unexpected rough road conditions. We’d love to return to Acadia, and riding on the carriage roads is one of the main draws.

 

Questions:
  • • Have you been to Acadia National Park? ~ This was my first visit, and my first visit to Maine.
  • • Which is your favorite National Park? ~ Bryce Canyon and Arches in Utah and Mesa Verde in Colorado are among my favorites.
  • • Do you stop and relax occasionally to fuel or take pictures, or barrel on through when on a long run or ride? ~ Both for me depending on the circumstances…

 

Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on the blue product link and then make a purchase, I will receive a small commission for referring you. You will pay no more or less for the product; however, Amazon will show their gratitude for my referral by paying me.