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Carriage Road to Parkman Mountain picture in Acadia National Park
S. Greg Panosian / Getty Images

Key Info

  • Carriage Roads
    Acadia National Park, ME

Price & Hours

  • Free
  • 24/7 daily

Details

  • Recreation, Sightseeing Type
  • Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.0
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    5.0
  • Facilities
    3.0
  • Atmosphere
    5.0

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

The Carriage Roads are a 57-mile long network of paved paths created and funded by John D. Rockefeller Jr. from 1913 to 1940. Over the course of the 27-year project, Rockefeller hand-designed the paths to highlight the best scenery the park had to offer, circling around Jordan Pond, Eagle Lake and Mount Desert Island. After a weatherproofing and modernizing project in the 1990s, the Carriage Roads reopened to the public. The roads (which are off-limits to motor vehicles) are great for those on bikes, horses and inline skaters who want to explore some of Acadia's more rustic areas. And unlike most other trails, the Carriage Roads are kept open in the winter to be repurposed as skiing and snowshoeing routes.

Recent travelers said a walk or bike ride here really allows visitors to appreciate the beauty of Acadia, and many highly recommended planning a fall visit just to see the spectacular foliage. If you want to avoid the crowds, reviewers suggest you get on the road early and try to visit on a weekday.

You can enter the Carriage Roads at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center to the north of Mount Desert Island or by Park Headquarters by Eagle Lake. The Island Explorer shuttle also provides access; Route Nos. 5 and 6 stop here. You can also hop on the Carriage Roads via several hiking trails (more than 120 miles of trails connect with or cross the roads), including Precipice TrailKeep in mind that bikes are prohibited on the privately owned Carriage Roads and all visitors should yield to horses as they're easy to spook.

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Hotels Nearby

  • Thing to Do
  • Hotel
Bar Harbor Motel

Bar Harbor Motel ...

  • 0.9 Miles Away
  • 2.0-star Hotel Class
Acadia Inn

Acadia Inn ...

  • 1.3 Miles Away
  • 2.5-star Hotel Class
See all hotels in Acadia National Park »

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#1 Cadillac Mountain Standing about 1,530 feet in height, Cadillac Mountain wins a lot of superlatives. Not only is it the tallest mountain in the park, but it's the tallest mountain ... Read more » Kristi rugg / National Park Service

#2 Park Loop Road Park visitors agree: riding along the 27-mile Park Loop Road is the best way to do a quick tour of Acadia (and makes a strong case for renting a car ... Read more » www.cfwphotography.com / Getty Images

#3 Jordan Pond Both the Jordan Pond Nature Trail (an easy stroll through the evergreens) and the Jordan Pond Shore Trail (a more difficult trek along the rocky coast) spill out to the ... Read more » GDacey / Getty Images

#4 Schoodic Point As the only portion of Acadia National Park that's actually located on the mainland, Schoodic Point isn't as easily accessible as some of the park's other major ... Read more » Kristi Rugg / National Park Service

#5 Sand Beach Sand Beach is filled with sharp shells and its water rarely warms above 55 degrees Fahrenheit. But still, this is the most popular of the park's two beaches. Why ... Read more » wherelifeishidden / Getty Images

#6 Carriage Roads The Carriage Roads are a 57-mile long network of paved paths created and funded by John D. Rockefeller Jr. from 1913 to 1940. Over the course of the 27-year project ... Read more » S. Greg Panosian / Getty Images

#7 Otter Cliff Another classic stop along the Park Loop Road, Otter Cliff is a giant 110-foot-high granite precipice with one of the most breathtaking ocean views on the East Coast. Be careful ... Read more » Robbie Shade / Flickr

#8 Thunder Hole A raucous natural phenomenon, this semi-submerged cave booms an hour or two before high tide. Waves fill the cave in such a way that the slapping is as loud as ... Read more » A. J. Whitney / Getty Images

#9 Precipice Trail The Precipice Trail is one of the most rewarding hikes in the park, as long as you have the guts to attempt it. The challenging, 2-mile round-trip path has visitors ... Read more » Dawn McClennen / Getty Images

Sunset Atop Cadillac Mountain picture in Acadia National Park
Along Park Loop Road picture in Acadia National Park
Jordan Pond picture in Acadia National Park
Schoodic Point picture in Acadia National Park
Sand Beach picture in Acadia National Park
Carriage Road to Parkman Mountain picture in Acadia National Park
Otter Cliff picture in Acadia National Park
Thunder Hole picture in Acadia National Park
Summit of Champlain Mountain picture in Acadia National Park
Sunset Atop Cadillac Mountain picture in Acadia National Park
Along Park Loop Road picture in Acadia National Park
Jordan Pond picture in Acadia National Park
Schoodic Point picture in Acadia National Park
Sand Beach picture in Acadia National Park
Carriage Road to Parkman Mountain picture in Acadia National Park
Otter Cliff picture in Acadia National Park
Thunder Hole picture in Acadia National Park
Summit of Champlain Mountain picture in Acadia National Park

Cadillac Mountain is just one of more than 20 mountains on Mount Desert Island, Maine.  Kristi rugg / National Park Service

Park visitors agree: riding along the 27-mile Park Loop Road is the best way to do a quick tour of Acadia.  www.cfwphotography.com / Getty Images

Jordan Pond's views include the North and South Bubbles mountains. GDacey / Getty Images

Located about an hour's drive northeast from Bar Harbor, Schoodic Point is perhaps best known for the crashing surf that explodes against its rocks.  Kristi Rugg / National Park Service

The waters at Sand Beach are rarely warmer than 55 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. wherelifeishidden / Getty Images

Colorful fall leaves on the Carriage Roads. S. Greg Panosian / Getty Images

Towering at 110 feet, Otter Cliff is one of the highest Atlantic coastal headlands north of Rio de Janeiro. Robbie Shade / Flickr

The waves that slap against the rock formation at Thunder Hole create a big boom — when the timing is right. A. J. Whitney / Getty Images

Precipice Trail is one of Acadia's most challenging routes, with lofty handrails and narrow steps.  Dawn McClennen / Getty Images

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