Bar Island Trail

Acadia National Park, Maine

Distance0.7mi
Elevation Gain131ft
Trailhead Elevation5ft
Top79ft
Elevation Min/Max0/79ft
Elevation Start/End5/5ft

Bar Island Trail

Bar Island Trail is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Hancock County, Maine. It is within Bar Island and Acadia National Park. It is 0.7 miles long and begins at 5 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 1.5 miles with a total elevation gain of 131 feet. The Bar Island coastline can be seen along the trail.

Bar Island Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"A low-tide walk leads to a rocky island o Bar Harbor, providing a unique perspective back toward town and its mountain backdrop.

The trail can also offer a close-up view of seagulls feeding, as they drop mussels from midair to crack open the shells, or starfish exposed by the tide. The Bar Island Trail is a short, easy jaunt within shouting distance of Bar Harbor, but you feel transported to another world. That is the beauty of being on an island, even a small one, so close to a busy summer resort town."

"A day hike to an island reached by crossing a gravel bar at low tide. The gravel bar for which Bar Harbor is named links Bar Island to the mainland. The island can be reached at low tide by foot and by motor vehicle, but driving across is not recommended.

Check the tide clock at the town pier before you set out for Bar Island. You will have only two to three hours to make the trip across and back. If you tarry on the island, you could be stranded for up to eight hours. The possibility of getting stranded on an island adds a sense of adventure to the hike, but it can be an inconvenience, too."

"The hike to Bar Island, a satisfying short hike in a less crowded area of Acadia, will bring out the adventurous spirit in every member of the family.

Hikers cross over to the island along a sandbar at low tide, head to the eastern tip of the island for an oceanside picnic, and return before the rising water has covered the sandbar (at high tide, to a depth of 6 to 8 feet!). Put an older child (with adult supervision) in charge of keeping track of the time and tide schedule. If you would like more time to explore, plan a private, extended stay on Bar Island between twice-daily low tides."

"A low-tide walk leads to a rocky island off Bar Harbor, providing a unique perspective back toward town and its mountain backdrop. The trail can also offer a close-up view of seagulls feeding, or starfish exposed by the tide.

The Bar Island Trail is a short, easy jaunt within shouting distance of Bar Harbor, but you feel transported to another
world. That is the beauty of being on an island, even a small one, so close to a busy summer resort town."

"Mount Desert is the coast’s largest and most dramatic island, with Cadillac Mountain rising 1,530 feet above sea level. In the late nineteenth century, the island became famous as home to Bar Harbor, the principal resort for affluent New Englanders who eschewed the pretentiousness of Newport mansions but nevertheless built substantial summer homes along the shore. In the twentieth century, the focus has shifted to Acadia National Park, one of the East’s most popular sites for hiking, cycling, boating, or just sitting along the coast in magnificent natural surroundings.

Today almost half of the island (along with parts of two nearby islands) makes up Acadia National Park. The terrain is varied—wooded valleys, lakes, mountains, and granite shore constantly lashed by the sea—and filled with beautiful trees and wildflowers, birds, and other animals. This eTrail contains everything you need to getaway for a quick daytrip or a long weekend jaunt. A route map is included and as are suggestions for the best things to do, places to eat, and places to stay."

"With the Porcupines—Long, Burnt, Bald, and Sheep—sit just to the east of Bar Harbor and feature impressive and many-hued geological formations with fascinating shapes and textures that speak of glacial activity long ago. You’ll definitely want to bring plenty of film for your camera: Every angle offers fresh views of these island shores, and a glance to the west places the historical rusticator mansions against a backdrop of the mountains. Numerous seabirds and shorebirds frequent this area, and harbor porpoises are common sights. Everywhere you look you can see signs of glacial activity and lessons in geology.

You’ll spot erratics that dot the shore; fascinating layers of rock called the Bar Harbor formation, with streaks of white, reddish, and darker-hued rock; sea caves and jagged overhangs, where glaciers tore chunks from the bedrock; and an incredible variety of beach shapes and materials, from “popplestones” (local term for cobblestones, or rocks rounded smooth by wave action) to layered sand. Even the sloping shape of the islands as they rise from their southern to northern ends is a record of glacial movement and pressures. These are commonly called whalebacks and are noticeable throughout the area."

"Take an easy, scenic bike ride from Bar Harbor to Jordan Pond."

"This moderate road bike ride goes from Bar Harbor to scenic Ocean Drive."

"Walk to the beach from downtown Bar Harbor and enjoy both mountain and ocean views."

Bar Island Trail Reviews

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7/15/2015
The idea of a trail only available at low tide is intriguing, although my family and I were quite disappointed when we actually completed the trail. I do realize this trail should not be compared to long, strenuous hikes with views from thousands of feet high but this hike still ranks quite below some shore paths in my book. For one, the trail is the most crowded I have ever seen on the island and because of this, the serene feeling of doing a nature walk gets obstructed. Also, the hike itself is quite flat with mediocre views due to trees. My recommendation would be to take a drive over to Southwest Harbor and try the Ship Harbor trail for better views and a nicer hike.
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9/4/2006
A fairly easy trail within easy walk of downtown. Nice view back to Bar Harbor. Good break from the crowds.
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7/14/2006
The romance of this little jaunt across the bay to Bar Island ay low tide is depleted by the cars allowed on the 'trail', which is over fifty feet wide when sea is fully pulled back. Some are just parking for dinner. I would like to give this another chance when the bar just appears over the waves.
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6/23/2002
A fun walk to Bar Island. But watch out for the mud.
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Trail Information

Acadia National Park
Nearby City
Bar Island
Parks
Dog-friendly
Accessibility
Moderate
Skill Level
Acadia National Park, (207) 288-3338
Local Contacts
AMC’s Acadia national Park discovery Map: C8, C7, d7, E7
Local Maps