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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Acadia National Park

Nicknamed the “Crowned Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast,” Acadia National Park hosts 4 million visitors annually to explore 60 miles of coastline and 150 miles of hiking trails. Acadia National Park falls in the top 10 most-visited national parks in the United States and is a great place to visit for hiking and whale watching if you’re heading to the coast of Maine. Here are five things you didn’t know about Acadia National Park.

5. The Rockefellers Played an Instrumental Role in Acadia

Image by Philippe Gerber

In the early 1910s, John D. Rockefeller Jr. purchased land in Acadia National Park to build a network of carriage roads. These roads are now a signature feature of the park with 45 miles worth of roads to explore. Rockefeller wanted to create these carriage roads to preserve the hillsides and trees within the park. The network of roads was built between 1913 and 1940. Today, Rockefeller’s carriage roads are available for visitors to walk, bike, or ride in a carriage, since the road is car-free.

4. It’s Home to the Tallest Cliff on the Atlantic Coast

Image by Stan Dzugan

Acadia National Park is home to the tallest cliff on the Atlantic Coast. Otter Cliff is 110 feet tall and is the highest peak north of Rio de Janeiro. Part of the beauty of Otter Cliff is the wave erosion that has created rounded boulders and a small cove where the water meets the rock. There are also a number of hidden rock formations in the water that are marked by buoys. 

3. The Park Burned in 1947

Image by National Parks Service

In 1947, Maine had only received half of its annual rainfall, which led to a very dry fall. Mid-October of that year saw the driest conditions on record. A fire started on October 17, 1947 around 4 PM, and the flames spread over a number of days. Over 13,000 acres of Maine were burned, including parts of Acadia National Park. The fire was announced to be completely out almost a month after it started on November 14, 1947. 

2. It’s the First to See the Sunrise (Sometimes)

Image by OGPhoto

Acadia National Park is the first place to see the sunrise in the U.S. for part of the year. Specifically, from October until March, Cadillac Mountain is the first place in the country to see the sunrise. If you have the opportunity to travel to Acadia during these months, set your alarm clock extra early to be a part of it.

1. It’s Small But Mighty

Image by Anand Goteti

Acadia National Park is one of the smallest national parks in the United States. And though it is one of the smallest national parks, it boasts a high number of visitors every year. With around 4 million visitors a year, Acadia lands in the top 10 most-visited national parks in the United States, out-ranked only by Rocky Mountain, Zion, Grand Canyon, and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks.

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  1. Barbara Nuckols

    #5. “Today, Rockefeller’s carriage roads are available for visitors to walk, bike, or ride in a carriage, since the park is car-free.”

    My husband and I have visited Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park many many times. It is a beautiful park with many views that are calendar appropriate.
    My understanding is the many Rockefeller Carriage Roads also allow horseback riding.
    You also say the park is car free. This is extremely misleading and totally wrong. Yes, the Carriage Roads are thankfully car free but Acadia National Park has the loop road that is definitely made for cars. The loop road is mostly one way, but is two way in parts.
    The loop road allows visitors to travel along the coast to see the beautiful coastal scenery. It takes you to Jordan Pond, Thunder Hole, Otter Cliffs, Sand Beach, other points of interest and allows visitors to drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain.

    “since the park is car-free.” Is a terrible misconception of the park. You should correct that statement.

    Has the writer of this article ever visited the Park?

    I enjoyed the article and look forward to reading others.
    I’m from Rocky Mount NC and not only have visited Acadia many times but have also vacationed in Baxter State Park in Maine. My husband and I honeymooned in the Great Smokies in 1968 and the Smokies are another favorite destination for us.

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