Visiting in Winter

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Getting Started

  • It's always wise to check the Latest Local Forecast from the National Weather Service before setting out for outdoor activities in Acadia.
  • Check Operating Hours and Seasons to see what park roads and facilities are open in winter.
  • Check Current Conditions for emergency alerts and closure updates.
  • All visitors are required to have a Park Entrance Pass. All vehicles must display a pass clearly visible through the windshield. Display federal lands passes, such as senior and military passes, on your dashboard with the signature and expiration date facing up.

Map of roads to access portions of park open in winter

Scenic Drives

Although most of Park Loop Road is typically closed by Dec 1 each year, two sections remain open, Ocean Drive and Jordan Pond Road. Scenic areas of Acadia are also visible and accessible from public roads that travel through and along the park.

Ocean Drive: scenic, one-way portion of Park Loop Road is accessible from Schooner Head Road, one-mile (1.6 km) south of downtown Bar Harbor on Route 3, and stretches for 2 miles (3.2 km) along the coast. Stay in the right lane, as snowmobiles are permitted to use the unplowed left lane. Exit Ocean Drive via Otter Cliff Road to Route 3.

Jordan Pond Road: two-way and accessible just north of Seal Harbor. Follow the Jordan Pond Road to Park Loop Road, which is plowed to the Jordon Pond House Restaurant parking areas.

Sargeant Drive to Northeast Harbor and Route 102A to Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse also offer scenic winter views of Acadia and Mount Desert Island.


Winter Hiking

Acadia's trails can become icy and snowpacked in winter. Be prepared for unfavorable conditions and early darkness.

  • Ice grippers, cleats, and traction footware can have little effect on slick, underlying granite surfaces.
  • Trekking poles are highly encouraged.
  • Hiking trails that are steep and challenging in summer tend to be ill-advised in fall and winter. Instead, consider exploring Ship Harbor, Ocean Path, and available Carriage Roads.

Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing

Looking for current ski conditions? Check out the grooming status at Friends of Acadia's Winter Trails Association.

Forty-five miles (72 km) of carriage roads in the park offer the perfect setting for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Ski tracks are sometimes laid down by volunteers on sections of the carriage roads when snowfall exceeds four inches (10 cm); nearly 32 miles (51 km) are designated for grooming when conditions and time permit.

You may also cross-country ski on unplowed park roads. Be careful, as snowmobiles are permitted to use most of these unplowed park roads. Skiing on hiking trails is not recommended because of the uneven and steep nature of trails, ice falls blocking the path, and trail routes obscured by snow.

Ski equipment and rentals are available in local communities.

Some areas may not be groomed. Please visit Friends of Acadia's updated grooming conditions.

  • Please do not snowshoe or allow dogs to walk in cross-country ski tracks.

Map of winter ski trails


Snowmobile travel is allowed on the 27-mile (43 km) Park Loop Road system (including the road up Cadillac Mountain) and most fire roads. Maps of the east side and west side show snowmobile routes and parking.

Snowmobile regulations include:

  • All Maine state snowmobile laws are enforced in the park. Maine registration is required. As a reminder, tracked side-by-side (ATVs) are not permitted in Acadia National Park.
  • Snowmobiles are not allowed on carriage roads, except for the east side of Eagle Lake to make the connection to the Park Loop Road at Bubble Road.
  • Snowmobiles are not permitted off-road or on any hiking trails.
  • Maximum speed is 35 mph (56 km/h) on Park Loop Road and 25 mph (40 km/h) on all unpaved roads.
  • Yield to anyone not on a snowmobile (skiers, snowshoers, and hikers).
  • Turn on your white headlight and red tailight 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise, and whenever visibility is less than 500 feet (152 m).
  • Towing people on sleds or skis is prohibited.
  • It is illegal to operate snowmobiles while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Drivers must be an least 14 years old to operate snowmobiles in the park.
  • Anyone under 18 years old must wear approved protective headgear.

Snowmobilers are encouraged to utilize the Hulls Cove Visitor Center parking lot to access the winter snowmobile routes. Snowmobile rental is not available on Mount Desert Island.


Ice Fishing

Ice fishing is a popular activity in Acadia when weather conditions permit. See Fishing for more information.


Dog Sledding and Skijoring

The use of dog sleds, dog carts, and skijoring with dogs is prohibited in the park due to the 6 foot (1.8 m) leash requirement per 36 CFR § 2.15(a)(2).

Photographer snaps portrait of man standing in snow along park coastline

Photo courtesy of James Couture. Used with permission.

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    Tags: winter

    Last updated: January 13, 2022

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