To outdoor enthusiasts who appreciate mountain-to-sea scenery and solitude, a winter visit to Mount Desert Island, home to Acadia National Park, is hard to beat. The snow doesn’t always last long on this windy seacoast, but hit it right and you’ll find paradise. The scenic carriage roads that wind through park woodlands and mountains will be carpeted in layers of snow; 45 miles are open for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Another 41 miles of unplowed park roads lead to backcountry lakes and ponds, and mountaintop vistas. Winter hikers have even more choices; there are 120 miles of trails, ranging from flat oceanside walks to more adventurous mountain and cliff climbs. In summer, you’re likely to follow a line of bikers cruising carriage paths or hikers walking the more popular trails. Come winter, you’ll have them all to yourself. “I’m feeling like royalty," our traveling companion remarked one afternoon, as we gazed out at mountains and sea. And with a sweep of his arm, “We have all this to ourselves!" The North Ridge Trail up Cadillac Mountain and the descent down a dramatic, narrow gorge is one of our all-time favorite hikes.
© Diane Bair & Pamela Wright/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.