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"Experience the remote parts of Acadia by foot, bike, or horse-drawn carriage on some of   
the park's 45 miles of carriage roads. Enjoy sweeping vistas and close-up views as
you weave around mountains and valleys, pass through forests and meadows,
and swing by brooks and lakes."
~ from an interpretive panel near Jordan Pond
One of John D. Rockefeller, Jr.'s legacies is this beautiful network of crushed stone carriage roads and picturesque arched rock bridges. He employed local residents to do the work, then donated the structures to the national park.

Riding the carriage roads on our bikes gave us the opportunity to see much more of the park than we could have seen by just driving through it or even hiking. Since we can't run any more, we can't cover as many miles on foot per day as we used to.

Our bikes give wings to our feet!

All of the public carriage roads are also open to hikers and runners. Most are open to equestrians. No visitors are allowed on the carriage roads on private property; those are clearly marked.

No motorized vehicles are allowed on the carriage roads, which are smooth and plenty wide enough to meet oncoming trail users:

Bikes are also allowed on the paved park loop road but it isn't nearly as safe because of all the passenger vehicles, RVs, and tour buses.

Bikes and horses are not allowed on the trails within the park. Dogs are, however. Many national parks prohibit dogs on the trails. At Acadia you can hike with your dog on the trails, roads, and carriage roads.


We didn't waste any time exploring Acadia.

The first afternoon (Wednesday) we went to the visitor center, drove the park loop, and drove up to the summit of Cadillac Mountain. I covered that in the previous entry.

The second day (Thursday) we both cycled 17 miles on the carriage roads. Jim did two more rides on them during out weeklong stay, starting from our campground five miles away and riding some different carriage roads than I did.

The photos in this entry are ones I took during our first ride. Jim didn't take any additional photos when he rode solo.

That day we parked the truck at the visitor center and began our ride there. The trail from the parking lot was the most narrow of any we rode that day (next photo). It soon widened up to 12 feet or more.

One of many interpretive signs along the carriage roads

Some of the leaves are starting to change color.

We had detailed maps of all the carriage roads. Without those we would have probably either gotten lost or covered more miles than we intended.

Road intersections are marked well but most of them don't include a "You Are Here" type of map. You can get detailed maps at the visitor center or print them out from the park's website.

Here's the GPS track of our initial 17-mile ride:

We rode counterclockwise on the loop around the lakes and out-and-back on the section between the visitor center and the north end of Eagle Lake.

I highlighted our approximate route on this map of the main part of the park:

We figured the most scenic route for the distance we wanted to ride would be the trails closest to Eagle Lake and Jordan Pond. There were scenic indeed, especially the northern end of Eagle Lake.

We also passed by several smaller lakes and wetlands:




This route is fairly hilly but not killer on a mountain bike or hybrid. The rolling terrain was more interesting to us than most flat rail trails we've ridden.

The carriage roads are smooth, well-packed crushed stone so traction wasn't an issue for us. I ride a Specialized TriCross cyclocross bike, which is a hybrid of a road and mountain bike. Sometimes I have traction problems with rocks, sand, or mud but these carriage roads are perfect for this type of bike. Jim had no problems riding them with his Specialized Stump Jumper, a pure MTB.

One of the longer ascents going CW is the loop southeast of Jordan Pond. It wasn't steep, though.

I don't know if the carriage roads are suitable for skinny-tire road bikes -- perhaps one with tougher tires than normal would be OK. I do know I couldn't ride my Terry Isis road bike here.

The scenery was constantly changing and always interesting. I took a lot of pictures, some while riding my bike and some while stopped briefly:

Above and below:  west side of Eagle Lake


Above and below:  Jordan Pond


Above and below:  Gate House at southern end of Jordan Pond

About three-fourths of the way through our loop we took a scenic lunch break at the end of Bubble Pond, then rode right next to the shore as we continued heading north to Eagle Lake and the visitor center:


The next photos are from the northeastern and northern end of Eagle Lake, which was just gorgeous on this sunny day:





Folks preparing to kayak on Eagle Lake

We saw a lot of people cycling, hiking, and running on the carriage roads all three times we rode them. It's a great way to see more of the park!

Next entryhiking the trails within the park is an even better way for me to see the details. I'll show you photos from my Cadillac Mountain hike first, then even more beautiful scenes from two coastal walks.

Happy trails,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup

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2014 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil