Hike the Bar Island Trail in Acadia NP

Bar Island Trail, Bar Harbor, Maine, United States

  • Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    1.9 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    160 Feet

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Food Nearby
Scenic

The Bar Island Trail is an awesome short trail with beautiful views of Bar Harbor, Champlain Mountain and Cadillac Mountain only accessible during low tide. 

The Bar Island Trail is something I was a little hesitant to do at first, mainly because of my tendency to wander and take a lot longer on a trail than I anticipate. This trail is unique in that you can only access it and Bar Island at low tide by foot (crossing the sand bar) or if you have 4 wheel drive, you can drive out to the island. 

A warning in advance: the tide comes in extremely fast here, so the best thing to do is check the tide charts in town (there's usually one at the island itself too) to note what time the crossing will no longer be possible. Unless you really want to go for a swim after this hike. The crossing is usually possible for 3 hours a day, 1.5 hours before and after low tide.

To access the trail, begin on Bridge Street and walk down to the shore to cross the Mt. Desert Narrows. Cars can park on the bar and are permitted to drive across to the island, but it's not advised to leave your vehicle on the island or bar while hiking. During low tide, this is a dry walk across sand and barnacle encrusted rocks. It can be wet, so the best option for footwear is going to be something waterproof.

Once you cross the narrows and are on the island, you'll climb a short rocky area that leads to a winding, wider dirt trail heading up a hill. Follow along on this trail for a short distance, eventually you will come to a left turn. If you take this, the trail will bring you to the highest point on the island.

If you continue on the trail, you'll come to a right turn not far along that gives a good, elevated view of Bar Harbor itself. Most of the trail is soft dirt with lots of trees and much less rocky than the other trails in Acadia. 

This is a short trail itself but since it's an uninhabited island and not widely visited, there's a good amount of wildlife here. In general, the experience being on Bar Island is nice because it is isolated and away from the busier sites in Acadia.

Pack List

  • Waterproof shoes/hiking boots
  • Camera
  • Rain jacket 
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Community Photos

+ Add Photos

Reviews

Overall rating: 

Leave a Review

If you can! It makes for a great post dinner walk and breathtaking views!!!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Chris Mongeau Explorer

I am a 26 year old lifestyle and travel photographer from Providence, Rhode Island. I spend my time planning trips, scouring maps, and drinking lots of coffee. I love sharing travel tips and hearing stories from other folks, feel free to get in touch with any questions!

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

Nearby Adventures

Hike the Sugar Bowl Loop in Kings Canyon NP

Tulare County, California

First and foremost, to get to this trailhead you need to drive down a 2-mile, one lane dirt road that is quite steep.

7 Saves

Hike to Ehukai Pillbox

59178 Ke Nui Road, Hawaii

This hike starts directly across from Banzai Pipeline, the famous barreling wave at Ehukai Beach.

7 Saves

Winter Hike to Calypso Cascades

1046 County Highway 115, Colorado

While most people go snowshoeing near the Bear Lake or Glacier Gorge area in RMNP, Wild Basin is a much less trafficked option.

5 Saves