6125
Acadia National Park
Hiking in Acadia National Park
Hike and learn about the oldest National Park east of the Mississippi, exploring century-old hiking trails, the east coast’s only fjord, Mt. Desert Island and savoring a lobster feast!
Program No. 6125RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
965
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6 days
5 nights
14 meals
5 B 5 L 4 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Check-In, Registration, Walking Tour, Welcome Dinner
Bar Harbor, ME
D
Bar Harbor Quality Inn

Afternoon: Check in to motel and register with Road Scholar group leader in lobby between 2:30 and 3:15 p.m. The Quality Inn is located in downtown Bar Harbor and is within short walking distance to downtown shops and attractions. We'll have our first gathering at 3:15 to get to know each other and to receive an introduction to Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island. Following that, we'll do a Victorian walking tour, focusing on the era when Bar Harbor was the country's most exclusive and illustrious resort. Please be at the motel's cafe (across the street from the office) by 3:15 so we can start promptly.

Dinner: We’ll dine at a local restaurant in downtown Bar Harbor.

Evening: Evening free to explore Bar Harbor area.

DAY
2
Orientation, Hiking Gorham Mountain
Bar Harbor, ME
B,L,D
Bar Harbor Quality Inn

Activity note: We'll have our "shakedown" hike today, judging Road Scholar energy levels and hiking skills, before marking a "definite" beside the rest of the week's planned activities.

Breakfast: A continental breakfast will be served at the motel.

Morning: We’ll give you a capsule look at Mount Desert Island, “the jewel of New England,” and show you the possible routes we’ll be hiking this week in Acadia National Park. Mount Desert, known for its dramatic scenery and universal appeal, is the second largest island on the east coast. We’ll also take a few minutes to get to know each other better. Then the hiking begins! Weather permitting, we’ll tackle Gorham Mountain, a moderate mountainous hike which offers spectacular views over the Cranberry Islands and the Gulf of Maine. From the summit, we’ll view a wide expanse of Mount Desert Island’s southern, surf-pounded coastline. The route up and down is a well-traveled mountain trail which is in good condition. Challenging but not overly demanding, Gorham will give us a good idea of energy levels and hiking abilities among participants.

Lunch: One of the many pleasures of our hiking week is having our picnic lunches – individually prepared sandwiches – in some spectacular settings, usually along one of the trails. We’ll stop somewhere on Gorham Mountain to relax, refuel and drink in the beauty of Acadia.

Afternoon: We'll continue our hike, noticing the unique geological features carved out by the Wisconsin Glacier thousands of years ago. We'll enjoy the views eastward towards Schoodic Peninsula, a spectacular headland that juts into the Gulf of Maine.

Dinner: We’ll dine at a downtown Bar Harbor restaurant, where we’ll enjoy our meal while replaying the day’s adventure.

Evening: We’ll enjoy a scenic drive up Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the eastern seaboard. When the serpentine summit road was built in the 1930s, it was considered the best-engineered mountain road in the world. From the summit, we’ll marvel at the 360-degree views and will look west towards Blue Hill as the day comes to an end.

DAY
3
Oldfarm, Hiking in Acadia National Park, Naturalist Walk
Bar Harbor, ME
B,L,D
Bar Harbor Quality Inn

Activity note: The western side of Mount Desert Island is a possible destination today, with a plethora of scenic hikes awaiting us.

Breakfast: A continental breakfast will be served at the motel.

Morning: Before hiking, we'll head to Oldfarm, the ruins of the home of George B. Dorr, who's considered the father of Acadia National Park, and we'll learn the fascinating and moving story of how the park was founded and how it came to be the only park in the entire national park system in which the land was donated rather than purchased by the government. Then we’ll head out for our hike; a possible choice will be Beech Mountain, on the western side of Mount Desert Island. Beech offers great variety, including gorgeous views over Blue Hill Bay towards the Deer Isle Peninsula. Like yesterday, this hike will consume about four hours and will move at a comfortable pace. A second possibility will be the Bubbles, twin mountains which sit on the northern shore of Jordan Pond, with the group ending the hike on the carriage roads bordering Eagle Lake.

Lunch: We'll pause at a scenic vista for an hour to enjoy the wonderful views and a picnic lunch, with a variety of sandwich options.

Afternoon: We'll continue our hike after lunch, with our group leader pointing out special scenic vistas and providing information on the flora and fauna of Mount Desert Island.

Dinner: We’ll again dine at a downtown Bar Harbor restaurant, within easy walking distance of our motel. Along the way, we can browse the many galleries and shops which line Bar Harbor’s streets, perhaps finding that perfect memento to take home as a lasting memory of Acadia.

Evening: A naturalist will lead a walking tour of one of the shoreside trails of Acadia, talking about the history, geology and lore of this unique section of Down East Maine. Be sure to bring along a camera to capture the stunning beauty of this area. We’ll walk about a mile over easy terrain overlooking the ocean.

DAY
4
Bike Ride to Somes Sound, Free Time
Bar Harbor, ME
B,L
Bar Harbor Quality Inn

Activity note: We’ll custom-fit everyone with a 21-speed mountain or hybrid bike for our alternate activity today, and our ride will cover about six miles over predominantly level paved roads.

Breakfast: A continental breakfast will be served at the motel.

Morning: We’ll give those hiking muscles a break this morning, taking a bicycling trip along Sargent Drive, which borders the shores of Somes Sound, the only fjord on the east coast of North America. You'll pedal in the shadow of the famed Norumbega Mountain, with views across the fjord to Acadia Mountain and St. Sauveur, two of the little-visited but spectacular mountains in the central part of the island. This ride will last a couple hours and will allow us to be back in Bar Harbor by noon so everyone can enjoy the afternoon off.

Lunch: We’ll return from our morning activities and picnic at Albert Meadow, with a beautiful view across Frenchman Bay.

Afternoon: The afternoon is free to explore Mount Desert Island or any of the other nearby coastal areas which catch your fancy. We’ll be happy to point you in the right direction for the activities you choose.

Dinner: Dinner on your own

Evening: Free time

DAY
5
Lobster Class, Cadillac Mountain Hike, Lobster Dinner
Bar Harbor, ME
B,L,D
Bar Harbor Quality Inn

Activity note: At 1532 feet, Cadillac Mountain is the highest point on the east coast of North America, and today we’ll cap our week with a spectacular hike up the South Ridge Trail. The trailhead is at a few hundred feet of elevation, so we won’t actually ascend the entire 1532 feet.

Breakfast: A continental breakfast will be served at the motel.

Morning: A lobster expert will demonstrate, using authentic gear and live lobsters, how Maine's most famous sea creatures are caught and what the future of the industry looks like. Then we’ll head out for the highlight of our hiking week, heading up the south ridge trail of Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the eastern seaboard; on many days of the year, the summit is the first place in the United States to receive the rays of the sun. The south ridge is the gentlest of the three trails up Cadillac; it’s a well-traversed path which is popular among visitors to Acadia.

Lunch: There are a number of spots along the south ridge trail that are ideal for a lunch break, and we’ll choose one of them.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our “highlight hike” this afternoon, enjoying not only the beauty of the island but the camaraderie of the newfound friends we’ve made on this Road Scholar trip. Our reward will be the satisfaction that comes from a day well spent.

Dinner: Tonight we'll enjoy an old-fashioned Down East shore feast, featuring the state’s most well-known crustacean, the cold-water lobster.

DAY
6
Short Hike in Acadia National Park, Program Concludes
Bar Harbor, ME
B,L

Breakfast: A continental breakfast will be served at the motel.

Morning: Because of limited time and an 11:00 checkout time, we’ll choose a short hike this morning. We might pick a trail similar to the ones we’ve done earlier in the week, or we might opt for something completely different. In any event, we’ll have time to enjoy one more chunk of Acadia’s variety before our adventure is completed.

Lunch: Our Road Scholar week will come to an end as we enjoy a picnic lunch at Albert Meadow; take part in a brief “graduation” ceremony; and savor our memories of a week on the magnificent Maine coast.