Acadia’s Park Loop Road to open May 17

Acadia National Park will open its Park Loop Road and the Summit Road on Cadillac Mountain on Friday, May 17, more than a month later than the usual opening date due to federal budget cuts.

BDN photo by Aislinn Sarnacki
Cadillac Mountain from the North Ridge Trail in 2009.

The opening of these roads will give people access to a number of trailheads and natural attractions that are otherwise difficult to reach without a vehicle.

Until Sunday, May 19, most restrooms will remain closed (one at Sand Beach and another at Fabbri Picnic Area are open year-round), and normal trash removal will not yet have begun.

The park is never fully closed, but most of Acadia’s Park Loop Road and the entire length of the Summit Road on Cadillac Mountain are closed to vehicle traffic in the winter, when skiers, hikers and snowmobiles get free reign of the roads. The roads typically open to vehicles on April 15, depending on weather conditions.

In my opinion, spring and fall are ideal times for local residents to visit Acadia National Park because of the cooler weather and lower populations of visitors and biting insects compared to in the summer.

Norumbega Mountain, spring 2013.

While waiting for the rest of the Park Loop Road to open, keep in mind that several of the park’s trailheads can be accessed from roads that are open year-round. For example, parking for trails around the beautiful Eagle Lake can be access from Route 233. A trail climbing Champlain Mountain can be accessed from Route 3. And a trail climbing Norumbega Mountain can be accessed from Route 198 in Northeast Harbor.

Photo by Aislinn Sarnacki. The Beehive in Acadia National Park is seen from Sand Beach on June 10, 2012.

And the Ocean Drive section of the Park Loop Road is open to vehicles year-round by Schooner Head Road and passes Sand Beach and Thunder Hole. From Sand Beach, people can access several hiking trails, including trails that climb Beehive.

View the online map of the park trails and carriage roads here.

Don’t forget to purchase a park pass before entering the park. Learn about park passes here.

Check out a story about how the delay of the roads opening benefit bicyclists written by BDN reporter Bill Trotter here. And learn about the budget cuts and how it affects the park here.

Aislinn Sarnacki

About Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at