Acadia in Winter: Reasons to Visit, Things to Do, & Tips

This site uses affiliate links, meaning that if you make a purchase through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Acadia National Park is one of the most beautiful places to visit on the East Coast regardless of whether you make the trip in summer or winter!

This Acadia in winter guide will give you details on why you should visit, things to do, and travel tips.

Are you planning your trip to Acadia at the last minute?

🏜️ Planning to visit multiple national parks this year? Get your National Parks Pass for only $79.99 here!

🛌  Top hotels and lodging near Acadia National Park:

  1. Saltair Inn (luxury in Bar Harbor – my top pick!)
  2. Little Fig Hotel (mid-range in Bar Harbor)
  3. Atlantic Oceanside Hotel (3-star in Bar Harbor)

🚗  Visiting Acadia independently? Be sure to book your rental car ahead of time to ensure availability!

If you’re visiting Acadia National Park in winter, there are many things you must know before planning your trip there.

This guide will discuss traveling to Acadia in December, January, and February but please take note that winter can (and likely will!) extend beyond those months!

Acadia in winter
Acadia in winter

If you have any tips for an Acadia winter trip, please leave them in the comments below. Thanks!

Reasons to Visit Acadia in Winter

One of the main reasons to visit Acadia in winter is that the popular US national park becomes far less crowded and bearable. 

Granted, the temperatures are not pleasant for those that shun winter weather, but if you dress appropriately, you will feel comfortable and have the advantage of feeling like you have the park all to yourself!

Bar Harbor in winter
Bar Harbor in winter

Another fantastic reason to spend winter in Acadia is that it is an epic place to go snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

There are heaps of trails there (nearly 45 miles of carriage roads) and it is truly a magical place in winter for those looking to enjoy the outdoors in a majestic setting. 

It is one of the best US national parks to visit in February and other winter months or winter activities.

When is it Winter in Acadia?

Winter in Acadia lasts a long time. It can start at the end of October and last all the way into April or May depending on the year.

However, the main months where you will find it to be wintry in Acadia National Park are December, January, and February, and into March.

How Cold Does it Get in Acadia? (Temperatures & More)

Here are the average temperatures in Acadia National Park in winter, including the number of rainy/snowy days in the park:

Month Average high Average Low # Rainy days
December 1C / 34F -8C / 17F 10
January -2C / 29F -12C / 10F 9
February 0C / 31F -11C / 13F 7

Does it Snow in Acadia National Park?

Yes, it does snow in Acadia National Park and depending on the month, it can be more than others. On average, Acadia National Park gets around 60 inches of snow.

Things to Know Before Traveling to Acadia in Winter

During the winter months in Acadia, things do close down a bit. You will find many establishments, including hotels, closed during the winter in Bar Harbor.

Acadia National Park will also start its winter hours during December and it will also close some of the major hiking trails and parts of Park Loop Road.

Winter in Acadia National Park
Snowy shores in Acadia National Park

However, this empties out the park and leaves room for adventurers interested in snowshoeing and cross-country skiing!

Facilities Open at Acadia

During the winter season, Acadia does not have visitor centers open to the public. However, from November 1 until mid-April, the park shares visitor hours with the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce.

You can locate it at 2 Cottage Street in Bar Harbor (or give them a call at (207) 288-3338 if you need something). The hours are from 8am until 4pm daily.

Best Things to Do in Acadia During Winter

Acadia National Park is a great choice if you want to experience a national park in winter. 

It has less traffic in the wintertime when compared to summer, and there are numerous fun activities available there like designated drives, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, birdwatching, winter camping, and scenic hiking destinations. 

1. Ocean Drive

Starting from December 1st of each year, most of the Park Loop Road is closed, except for two sections: Ocean Drive and Jordan Pond Road

You can reach the park’s most popular sites on this drive, like Thunder Hole, Sand Beach, the Beehive, and other grand cliffs on the road. 

Maine Acadia National Park view from the tree to the outer tracks of the park
A cleared road in Acadia National Park

The small section of Acadia’s Loop Road has access from Schooner Head Road. The left side of the lane is open for snowmobiles only, so be cautious to stay on the right lane only. 

You can exit the Ocean drive by Otter Cliff Road to Route 3. 

2. Jordan Pond Road

This two-way path is north of Seal Harbor and is open year-round. It uses the other part of the Park Loop Road. 

Follow the Jordan Pond Road to Park Loop Road, which is plowed to the Jordan Pond House Restaurant parking areas.

3. Cross-country Skiing

Cross-country skiing lovers can enjoy the park fully in the wintertime, thanks to Friend of Acadia volunteers and Acadia Winter Trails Association, who groom and track the area if the snow is at least 6 inches and the road is frozen. 

READ MORE:  Best US national parks to visit in January

Special state-of-the-art grooming equipment is being used. There are 45 miles of carriage road, of which 32 are groomed and complete with skiing lines. 

Before the visit, make sure to check the conditions of cross-country skiing. 

Skiing in Acadia NP

With tracked roads, wide skiing lanes, and sufficient snowfall, it would be challenging to find any place better for cross-country skiing.

If you plan to travel, use the Friends of Acadia website to access information about the groomed trails. 

4. Eagle Lake

Eagle Lake is one of the most outstanding locations in the park, with a combined view of the lake, mountains, and woods. The trail to the lake isn’t hard to hike; it has a few ups and downs. 

The 3.7-mile path of the west side of the lake is groomed, and it is surrounded by carriage roads. 

When the lake is frozen in the wintertime, those who prefer a smoother and flatter route are free to ski the lake itself.

5. Snowshoeing

People who love snowshoeing have a great chance to enjoy their time on different six trails, of an overall of 120 miles of hiking area. 

Having a height of 525 feet, Gorham mountain is one of the six trails and is plenty of impressive natural sights. The incline of the cliff is gradual, making it a perfect location for snowshoeing.

Compared to Gorham, Cadillac South Ridge has an even more gradual slope, and it’s also the longest of the trails, at a length of 3.5 miles. 

For less experienced, Ship Harbor and Wonderland are a better option as they’re a quick 1.5 miles, but are known to provide a delightful view of the ocean. If you want to hike a road with a carriage road that lasts up until the top, you should choose the Day Mountain Trail

Beaver lodge in frozen Seawall Pond
A winter’s day in Acadia

There are two ways to reach it; by going via the Jordan Pond or from the south near Seal Harbor. 

Another trail is the Eagle Lake Circuit, which is 6 miles long but promises one of the most remarkable experiences in the park. 

Last but not least, the 6-mile Witch Hole Pond route takes you through the peaceful wilderness, past the Duck Brook Bridge and Paradise Hill, both of which are definitely worth the effort of the hike. 

6. Snowmobiling

For snowmobiling, it’s important to mention that it’s allowed only on the unplowed roads and on the 27-mile Park Loop Road. The maximum permitted speed is 35 mph. All the rules and regulations can be found on the park’s winter activities webpage

READ MORE:  Best Airbnbs in Acadia National Park

Snowmobiles are allowed in the park if there is sufficient snow. In good weather, the part of the road stays open to provide access to visitors of Thunder Hole, Sand Beach, Otter cliffs, all of these free of charge. 

7. Birdwatching at Schoodic Point

Schoodic Point is a particular favorite of birdwatchers. 

Birds like eagles, owls, razorbills, murres, dovekies, black-capped chickadees, and Harlequin ducks are typical examples. An hour’s drive from the Hulls Cove Visitor Center on Mount Desert Island gets you to the Schoodic Peninsula

On the way to Schoodic Point, you’ll be able to enjoy the beautiful views of Mount Desert Island

8. Winter Camping at Acadia NP

*Note: Blackwood Campground is still closed for the winter season. See more here.

In the wintertime, Blackwood Campground is open, and the camping there is free. Due to its location and accessibility, Blackwood is probably the best match for a person experiencing winter camping for the first time. 

Acadia National Park in the Winter with a view of Mt. Desert Narrows.

It is located south of Bar Harbor on Route 3. To enter on a free basis, campers should get access from the Dispatch Office or Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce.

9. Hike the Cadillac North Ridge Trail

Having a length of 6.4 kilometers, Cadillac North Ridge Trail is an out and back trail located close to Bar Harbor, with an elevation gain of 341 meters. People who love to see sunrise or sunset when hiking are recommended to visit this trail. 

It offers several activity options available all around the year, and it’s worth mentioning that it features appealing pictures of nature. Dogs are allowed to use these trails but must be kept on a leash.

READ MORE:  Best US national parks to visit in February

The hikers have two options to begin with, both from the Park Loop Road.

The first option starts with the Take Kebo Brook Trail continuing onto the Cadillac North Ridge Trail, while the other option begins from the one-way section towards Sand Beach. Be informed that parking in that location is extremely limited. 

10. Hike Pemetic Mountain

If you’re looking for a hike with varying terrain, with both flat walks and challenging ascents, then Pemetic Mountain should definitely be on your Acadia checklist. 

The mountain has a height of 1,248 feet (380m). The difficulty level of the hike is considered to be advanced, so don’t underestimate it. 

The name of the mountain was given by Native Americans, which basically means “the sloping land,” and it fully describes the island as a whole. The area can be reached both from the north (Cadillac Mountain, Bar Harbor, etc.) and from the southern part of Mount Desert Island. 

Snow-flocked Balsam Fir Christmas Trees on Wonderland Trail Acadia National Forest Bass Harbor Desert Island Maine

If you’re a steady and seasoned hiker, know that the effort will pay off when you reach the summit, where you will be rewarded with gorgeous views of Jordan Pond, Bubble Pond, Little, and Great Cranberry Islands.

Hiking in Acadia in winter is one of the best things to do if you love the outdoors and dress properly.

How to Get to Acadia National Park

Getting to Acadia National Park is very easy once you’ve made your way to Bar Harbor, Maine.

Bar Harbor is kind of the unofficial base for exploring Acadia National Park and it is a great place to stay overnight if you’re planning on multiple days in Acadia.

Acadia in winter
Acadia in winter

To reach Bar Harbor, you can take Rt 3 from the mainland onto the island. Alternatively, you can stay in Bangor and take a day trip to Acadia National Park.

Acadia National Park Accommodation Options

There are plenty of places to stay in Acadia National Park and around the area. Here are some of our top picks of places to stay in and near Acadia – broken down into hotels and camping/glamping options.

If you’re camping and are not a member of Hipcamp, also be sure to use our code here to receive $10 off your first booking!

Bar Harbor Hotels and Inns

Unfortunately, most places close down in Bar Harbor during the winter months, including hotels and restaurants. The following top-rated places do stay open, however, and are ready for business!

Glamping and Camping Near Acadia (Winter Options)

There are four campgrounds inside of Acadia that you can stay at but you are unable to book online. They are Schoodic Woods Campground, Seawall Campground, Blackwoods Campground (*currently closed in winter), Duck Harbor Campground. To see more, click here.

If you’re wanting to pre-book your camping trip to Acadia in winter, these campgrounds remain open and are close to the park.

rocky coast of Schoodic Point Maine near Acadia National Park

Should You Book a Winter Trip to Acadia National Park?

If you’re an avid winter outdoor enthusiast, we think that Acadia is one of the best places to visit during the colder season.

The cross-country skiing and snowshoeing opportunities alone are enough to make the park worthwhile but the views just put it over the top! It is spectacular!

We hope this guide to visiting Acadia in winter helps you plan your trip there and realize what a gem this Maine national park truly is!


Acadia National Park is on the unceded land of the Wabanaki people (particularly the Penobscot Nation and the Passamaquoddy Tribe). We ask you to join us in acknowledging their community, their elders both past and present, as well as future generations.

We also acknowledge that Acadia National Park was founded upon exclusions and erasures of many Indigenous peoples, including those on whose land these US National Parks are located.

Additional Maine Travel Resources

Pin this Acadia Winter Guide

Are you planning a trip to Acadia in winter? Our travel guide to spending winter in Acadia National Park will give you tips for what to do, where to stay, and more! | Winter acadia | Acadia winter | Acadia snow | Acadia hiking | Acadia National Park in Maine | US National Parks | Acadia skiing | Acadia snowshoeing | Things to do in Acadia | What to do in Acadia | Places to visit in Maine | Visiting Acadia | Visit Acadia | Acadia travel | Acadia National Park tips | Acadia hikes | Acadia trails

6 thoughts on “Acadia in Winter: Reasons to Visit, Things to Do, & Tips

  1. Tom Patterson says:

    Excellent summary…! In the past Black Woods had limited winter camp sites that required hiking to (~1mi) and had to be reserved. They ended that practice with the pandemic and do not plan to bring it back. Another thing people should be aware of is that dining options are very limited during winter season, and even with sparse crowds can be hard to get into the “good” restaurants. So if you’re going air B&B need to be strategic and resilient on meal planning!

  2. Amy Brahan says:

    Just thought you might like to know that Blackwoods Campground is not open in the winter. Though we are not camping, we are here visiting the park. I happened to notice you mentioned it as a winter option for campers and we drove by today. The entrance is blocked and it says it is closed. Just thought you might like to know so you can update your blog (helping out a fellow blogger)! 😉

    • Megan Starr says:

      Ahhh you’re a legend! Thanks will get this updated! I wonder if it is temporary with the situation or if it has been permanently shut!? Thanks so much and hope you enjoyed Acadia!!! :):)

  3. Kara says:

    my sister-in-law and I are going to Maine in early December (me for the first time) so I was excited to read about this. Do you know if it’s common to get a lot of snow in early December? (we’re going 6th-10th)

    • Megan Starr says:

      Usually, it doesn’t come until the start of the new year, but it is SO hard to predict so I don’t want to say that and a freak blizzard pass through! I was in Maine one year for work in November and saw snow then and I have been there in December as well and not seen snow or any coverage. Sorry that didn’t help… shoulder season can be a bit temperamental!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *