Disclaimer: This Touring Acadia National Park via Park Loop Road recap contains affiliate links…
Dawn Patrol Reunion
With our Dawn Patrol cycling friends Ed and Chuck both vacationing in the Bar Harbor, Maine area at the same time as my husband and me, we organized a group ride in Acadia National Park. We chose to ride Park Loop Road and met at Chuck’s hotel ready to roll by 10 AM. The weather was pretty close to perfect at 55° and overcast, a cool start that was forecast to warm up nicely.
Looping the Park
As much as we loved the peacefulness of riding along the carriage roads in Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine, we also wanted to ride Park Loop Road. Veterans of road riding and the occasional close call, we were pleased that much of Park Loop Road has one-way traffic with two lanes giving vehicular traffic plenty of room to move over when passing us. Just like with the carriage roads, Park Loop Road crosses the mountains and valleys of Acadia National Park providing plenty of climbing and the always fun descents.
Since we would be riding exclusively on paved roads, Bill pumped our gravel bike tires up from 30-35 PSI where we usually keep them for riding gravel to about 40-45 PSI. We would have loved to have had our road bikes with us, but our gravel bikes did just fine.
Excursions off Park Loop Road
There were two particular side-trip possibilities we considered as we made our way around the Acadia National Park on Park Loop Road. One option was to ride down Stanley Brook Road to Seal Harbor and the other was to climb Cadillac Summit Road to the top of Cadillac Mountain. We opted to ride down to Seal Harbor (2.7 miles roundtrip), but decided to skip climbing to the top of Cadillac Mountain (7 miles roundtrip).
In hindsight, I’m surprised I so easily agreed to skip climbing Cadillac Summit Road and its 3.5 miles of switchbacks at a continuous 6% grade. Always one to take on that “little extra” I sensed that the guys weren’t keen on making the trip so I agreed to skip the climb. My husband was surprised and even double checked to make sure I wouldn’t regret my decision the next day. To clarify, I’m surprised, not disappointed that I didn’t insist we take on the climb.
- • Ride With GPS Name: 27-BarHarborParkLoopSealHarbor
- • Ride with GPS: Link to turn-by-turn navigation cue sheet
- • Location: Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine
- • Start/Finish: Holiday Inn, Bar Harbor, Maine
- • Course Type: Loop
- • Course Surface: Paved
- • Bike: Cannondale Topstone
- • Distance: 30 miles
- • Time: 2:21:00
- • Average Speed: 12.8 MPH
- • Maximum Speed: 36.2 MPH
- • Elevation Gain: 2,274 feet
- • Elevation Range: 49 to 568 feet
- • Temperature Range: 55° to 59°
- • Course Map:
Fun Pictures From Along the Way
Rocky shore and the Atlantic Ocean…
Cute story… I asked a lady who was also stopped at the overlook to take our picture and she exclaimed, “You’re the girl who was leading that pack of guys up the hill!” She went on to say that when she and her friend approached us from behind, she told her friend that she hoped their electric rental car could pass us on the climb. She said when they got even with me and realized a girl was leading the guys, they started cheering for me.
The ride down Stanley Brook Road to Seal Harbor was exhilarating and after a a couple of pictures I took advantage of our stop to shed my jacket and ear warmer headband. I knew I’d get heated on the 1.35-mile 3.8% grade climb back up to Park Loop Road.
This trees near a bridge crossing Stanley Brook Road were so beautiful I had to stop for a picture…
Four bikes at an Eagle Lake overlook…
My bike with my balled up jacket hanging from the handlebars…
Post-ride Garmin (affiliate link) picture…
Garmin map and elevation graph…
Final Thoughts on the Ride
Bill, our friends, and I had such a fun reunion ride. The weather was fantastic, the scenery was beautiful, and with the exception of one tour trolley, vehicles gave us plenty of room when they passed. We stopped often enough to take the occasional picture and chat, but didn’t spend too much time lallygagging making for the perfect ride/rest balance.
- • Would you rather run or bike up or down a really steep hill? ~ I’d rather run and bike downhill, but if I’m going uphill, I’d rather be on my bike.
- • Have you been to Acadia National Park? ~ This was my first visit, and my first visit to Maine.
- • 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…