Going way back in the travel vault for this post. About 10 years ago in search of some beautiful fall colors, a few friends and I made the almost 300 mile drive north for a weekend at Acadia National Park.
We picked a weekend in mid October after the busy long Columbus Day holiday weekend in hopes that maybe we would be there during peak foliage with maybe less crowds. Well, fall foliage is unpredictable and doesn’t always peak at the same time each year. A lot of it has to do with summer weather. For instance this year, it is peaking earlier than normal due to the fact we experienced a very dry summer here in New England.
We ended up visiting after the peak foliage, but did luck out with lower crowds. Please do not let past peak foliage cause you to change your mind on visiting as the colors were still beautiful and vibrant and it was definitely worth the long drive there. It also was rainy and windy the day we drove up there, but luckily that did not cause too many leaves to fall off the trees just yet.
As you can see there was definitely no shortage of vibrant fall colors even though it was past peak. Even though we get the fall colors here in the city of Boston, something about being out in the wilderness just makes it so much more amazing to see!
After driving around for a bit and taking in the foliage we decided to hike to the summit of Champlain Mountain. On this 6.5 mile hike, you will gain over 1,000 feet of elevation and the views are so worth it, even on a cloudy day. I can only imagine how far you can see on a clear day. There are some great views of Frenchman Bay and you can see all the cruise ships coming in. This is a popular stop on fall cruises out of Boston heading up to Canada.
The hike up was pretty uneventful, but the hike down was pretty difficult! There were a lot of rocks with fairly smooth surfaces, that were made extra slippery from the rain the day before. I think I spent more time sliding down on my butt than actually walking on two feet to get down the mountain. Lol I’m a bit clumsy and tend to get overly cautious whenever I’m hiking down a mountain, but this was definitely something else. Thankfully we made it down in one piece!
Most people stay in Bar Harbor, Maine when visiting Acadia National Park. We checked out this cute New England town while grabbing some dinner to reward ourselves after finishing the difficult hike in one piece. After dinner, we went back to the hotel and relaxed with some local beers we picked up.
While enjoying our local beers, we were researching what to do the next day before we headed back to Boston. We found the absolute perfect way to end the trip, although when our alarms went off in the very early morning hours we weren’t too sure about our choice.
But thank god we did force ourselves to get up and out the door. Cadillac Mountain is the tallest mountain in the park and it just so happens to be the first place in the Continental United States to see the sunrise from October to early March. How can we pass up saying we saw the sunrise in the first place in the continental US?
For the sunrise, you can get up extra early and hike to the summit or you can still get up early, just not quite as early, and drive up to the summit. We chose to drive up and were so surprised at how crowded, there were so many people out there with tripods, so we then knew this was going to be quite the greet view! Words of advice, leave earlier than you think you should so you can get a parking spot and bring something warm to wear, it’s definitely cooler and more windy at the summit! I wish I had been dressed for January weather not October!
The sunrise was probably the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, so it was more than worth getting out of bed so early and freezing my butt off waiting for the sun to rise. This is definitely a must do when visiting Acadia National Park!
A quick weekend definitely isn’t enough time to fully explore this park. No matter the season, there is so much to see here. Some of the activities include hiking, kayaking, canoeing, camping, beach, whale watches, puffin watches, leave peeping, scenic drives, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling to name a view.
I most definitely need to go back in the summer and take a puffin watching cruise! More to add to the bucket list!