Hike the Bar Island Trail in Acadia NP
Maine › Bar Island Trail
Added by Chris Mongeau
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.
- Waterproof shoes/hiking boots
- Rain jacket
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