If you like the panoramic sweep of the Northeast Coast you will enjoy the trails in this area, particularly those located in or near Acadia National Park. Thanks to John D. Rockefeller, who built a system of carriage roads beginning in 1913 up to 1940 that forbade automobiles, snowshoers have access to close to 50 miles of these paths and numerous trails in the area. No snow mobiles, no motorized vehicles of any kind, just you, cross-country skiers and maybe the occasional horse-drawn carriage. The other two trails included in this group are scenic and quiet, one easy outing at an undeveloped lake, the other a challenging climb that overlooks the little town of Blue Hill.
The trails on this list include Eagle Lake and Gorham Mountain trails in Acadia National Park, as well as the Haddlock Brook Trail that begins at North East Harbor adjacent to the park. Also included in this group are the Osgood Trail in Blue Hill on the Deer Isle peninsula just south of the Mount Desert Island peninsula where Acadia is located, and Little Tunk Trail in Sullivan, east of Ellsworth. Included trails range from easy to challenging.
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Approximately 40 miles south of the city of Bangor is the little town of Blue Hill. Osgood Trail is located on Mountain Road off Route 172. This is a challenging two-mile outing that starts at the base of Blue Hill Mountain and overlooks the town at the summit. For snow shoeing, use the maintenance trail. Moving on from this trail northeast about 10 miles to Ellsworth you are positioned to travel directly east across Frenchmen Bay to Sullivan, about a 30-mile trip, or head south to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor for the other three trails, before going on to Sullivan.
After your exertions on Osgood Trail you might enjoy an easier 1.8 mile outing on undeveloped Little Tunk Lake on Route 183, off of US Route 1 in Sullivan. The highest elevation is 290 feet but your gain is only 80 feet along this trail. Access to the trail is owned by the Frenchman Bay Conservancy and the area is secluded and quiet.
After crossing the bridge onto Mt. Desert Island outside Ellsworth, take 198 south to Northeast Harbor. You will find the parking lot for this trail on the side of the road just north of Upper Haddlock Pond and the trailhead is on the other side of the road. This 6-mile route is a challenge, with an elevation gain of 800 feet, but for those in condition for it the views of Northeast Harbor and the pond are worth it. You will cross the national park’s carriage roads along this route and be scaling the southwestern side of Parkman Mountain.
This is a scenic, six-mile loop trail but graded easy as there is no significant climb involved. Eagle Lake grew out of the original glacial retreat thousands of years ago and you will see that the surrounding granite hills and mountains along this route are rounded on top. The lake itself is pristine, crystal clear when not frozen, as it is an area water source. The trail is primarily packed by skiers but sometimes volunteers will groom it. Another interesting route in this area is Witch Hole Pond, a loop with minimal elevation, rated easy to more difficult. This trail will take about 2.5 hours and you may see a couple of beaver dams along the way.
Gorham Mountain Trail
If you want the open ocean as your backdrop while hiking, this 4-mile loop trail is absolutely stunning with gradual elevation to 525 feet, a perfect excuse to take along your lunch and stay on top for a while. Rated more difficult this outing will take about three hours and is easily accessed at Otter Creek just outside Blackwoods Campground in Acadia National Park. Other trails with ocean views in this area include the more difficult Cadillac Mountain Trail and Day Mountain Trail on the Cranberry Isles, rated easy to more difficult.