Acadia Hiking Guide: Gorham Mountain

Gotham Mountain

View of Sand Beach, Great Head, Schoodic Peninsula, and Old Soaker from Gorham Mountain.

We went hiking at 5:30pm on a day in early September, and from trail marker to trail marker we had the mountain to ourselves. We saw no one until we got to the parking lot. This is one of the fascinating aspects of Acadia National Park. It’s one of the smallest national parks in the country and at the same time one of the most visited, and yet it’s entirely possible to go to the busiest sections during peak season and get solitude.

Gorham Mountain is a north-south mountain that runs parallel to the Ocean Drive, the latter of which is one of the busiest sections in the entire US national park system. It’s busy for a reason – it’s beautiful and iconic with Sand Beach, Great Head, Thunder Hole, and Otter Cliffs. The Beehive nearby is one of the most hiked hikes in the park, too. And Gorham is one of the easiest mountains to hike because it’s not tall and not steep, but there it is, with spectacular views and not nearly as many people on it as you’d expect.

I tell guests that Gorham makes for a wonderful introductory hike into the park. One gets to see three of the main sites in Acadia and get away from people at the same time. There are a few different ways to hike it, and they are spelled out below:

  • Beehive to Gorham to the Ocean Path: Park near Sand Beach, hike up the Beehive (steep ladders makes this thrilling to some, but it’s easier than it looks – still, not recommended for those who fear heights), down the Bowl Trail on the back of the Beehive, head over Gorham Mtn., then walk back to Sand Beach on the Ocean Path. This takes about 2.5 – 3.5 hours, depending on how busy the Beehive is. It’s physically easy to hike down the ladders of the Beehive, but because there can be so many people going up, going down would just get in the way. Don’t go down the ladder trail of the Beehive during the season.
  • Gorham to the Ocean Path: This is the more popular route to take, and it’s a bit easier than the Beehive option because it doesn’t matter which side you park on. If Sand Beach is full, just drive all the way down to Thunder Hole or the Gorham Mtn. parking lot after Thunder Hole. It’s a loop, and an easy one at that, so just park, hike in one direction up, and head back in the other direction on the Ocean Path. Give this about a two-hour hike roundtrip without stopping much. During blueberry season, add another 1-3 hours depending on your appetite.
  • Cadillac Cliffs: This is a WONDERFUL section for the kids. Located at the southern end of Gorham, it splits off the main trail and rejoins later on. One feels like one is walking through the land of giants. Kids with an imagination are going to love this section.

We’re full of these types of tips because we do these hikes on our days off. Click our booking engine to reserve today and get more helpful tips at: www.miramonte.com.

Bar Harbor Pajama Sale and Bed Races

Bar Harbor Bed Races

Bar Harbor Bed Races and Pajama Sale – photo courtesy of the Ellsworth American

What do locals do after the tourist season is over? Some say we sleep, and we do, but for one day we like to have a little bit of fun. This year that fund will be had on Nov 10, 2108 from 6am to noon. The earlier you come, the better the discount, and add even more to the discount if you’re wearing your pajamas. Yes, it’s Bar Harbor’s Pajama Sales Day, and we do it every year when the streets are quieter. How quiet? Well, let’s just say it’s quiet enough to shut down the eastern part of Cottage street all the way down to Main St. so we can have the bed races. What’s that you say? Several teams of five, four pushing the bed and one riding on top, race down Cottage St. to Main St. and back. The fastest time wins. It’s about an hour of fun just for the people-watching let alone cheering on your favorite team.

Is Mira Monte open this time of year? Yes we are, kind of. The Main Inn shuts down late Oct, but we do keep Ashe Cottage and the Suites Building open year-round. During the winter we don’t serve breakfast and we don’t do daily housekeeping, but you’d be surprised at how many people come up for the fall, winter, and early spring just to get away.

Too book your room, check out our reservations calendar here: www.miramonte.com.

Maine Lighthouses near Bar Harbor

Bass Harbor Head Light is the only lighthouse located on Mount Desert Island, but there’s several others nearby and within and easy drive from the Inn. All these great old lighthouses can be viewed and photographed on boat tours that tell of their incredible histories.

Bass Harbor Head Light, located within Acadia National Park in the southwest portion of Mount Desert Island, Maine, marking the entrance to Bass Harbor and Blue Hill Bay. Today, the house is a private residence for a local Coast Guard member and his family. Tourists can get close to the bell and light via a concrete path, but most of the grounds are private. There’s a short walk which takes you to wooden steps that lead down granite boulders that allow views of the harbor side.

Mount Desert Rock Light is owned by the College of the Atlantic, whose students study whales and nesting seabirds. Mount Desert Rock is a small island about 18 nautical miles south of Mount Desert Island. The light station was established in 1830; the current lighthouse was built in 1847 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Great Duck Island Light is also owned by the College of the Atlantic and is located on Great Duck Island, a small 237 acres island in the Gulf of Maine about 9 miles south of Mount Desert Island. The light station is on 11-acres at the southern tip of the island.

Bear Island Light is a lighthouse on Bear Island near Mt. Desert Island at the entrance to Northeast Harbor. It was first established in 1839 with the present structure built in 1889. It was deactivated in 1981 and lit as a private aid to navigation by the Friends of Acadia National Park in 1989. Bear Island Light is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Egg Rock light was constructed in 1876 and was automated by the United States Coast Guard in 1976, at which time its ancillary structures except the fog station were torn down. The lantern house was removed and the light was replaced by the present aerobeacon. After public protest, a lantern house was installed in 1986. The light continues to be managed by the Coast Guard, and is not open to the public; the island and buildings are owned by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

Baker Island Light (1828), is the oldest light in the area and has been replaced with lighted offshore buoys. Established in 1828, it was the first along Maine’s coast located near Mount Desert Island. The light is an aid to navigation for reaching that island’s major ports, including Bar Harbor and Northeast Harbor. The buildings of the station are now owned and administered by Acadia National Park with the light itself being maintained by the United States Coast Guard.

Winter Harbor Light is a lighthouse in Winter Harbor, Maine on Mark Island, a small island between the Schoodic Peninsula and Turtle Island. The light was built in 1856 and was deactivated in 1933; it is no longer an aid to navigation, and is privately owned.

Acadia National Park Fee Free Days

The National Park Service is offering 4 fee free days to National Parks, including Acadia National Park Fee Free Days in 2018.

Acadia National Park Fee Free Days are:

  • Jan. 15: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • April 21: first day of National Park Week
  • Sept. 22: National Public Lands Day
  • Nov. 11: Veterans Day

“This is your chance to experience your national park and services in the neighboring communities and decide when you will come back in the future. Every season in Acadia has its own unique beauty and adventure” said Acadia Superintendent Kevin Schneider.

The park normally has an entrance fee of $25 per vehicle and $20 per motorcycle which is good return visits for seven days. Walkers and bicyclists can get a weekly pass for $12. An annual pass to Acadia costs $50.

For more information, visit www.nps.gov/acad or call 207-288-3338.