This trail was once an old road and follows one side of a marsh where wild ducks can often be spotted. From Duck Brook Bridge on the Duck Brook Road, cross bridge and go right, follow carriage road to Witch Hole Pond. Carriafe road turns right and heads away from pond, up ahead around the corner you will see three sign posts, look for start of trail beside the first sign post on the right, path is well worn. Once you find it the first time you will always know where it is.
UNMARKED FERN TRAIL; Follow same directions above, but as soon as you see the wetland area to the left, look for well worn but unmarked trail to the right, that is the old Fern Trail.
The side of Cadillac Mountain holds a secret, and that secret is a hidden waterfall not far from the Park Loop Road. The waterfall may not be much during any dry periods, but following a good heavy rain and the waterfall comes to life with lively cascades to one side of the waterfall and a nice deep body of water below the waterfall. Your following the side of a brook so you can't get lost, and the waterfall isn't far from the roadway.
The Great Cave is off of the official Precipice Trail, and follows a boulder field up toward a section of woods where a worn path begins. The Great Cave was once one of the National Parks gems, added to the trail system in order to attract more hikers to the Precipice Trail. Today the path is unmarked and abandoned by the National Park Service, but anyone who has visited the cave will tell you, it lives up to its name. Using GPS will help greatly as there are more than one boulder fields along the route.
If you have never explored an abandoned trail before, than this is a very good choice to start out on, as the trail itself is actually an old abandoned dirt road, well worn and very easy to follow. The dirt road ends at the Stone Tower, which was part of the old Bar Harbor Water Company. The tower itself is constructed of field stones, one laid upon another and is a pretty amazing sight to see as you exit the woods and come to a small field. Along the dirt road, off in the woods are two huge foundations that were part of a sand filtering system. The dirt road is very easy to locate, park at the corner of the Duck Brook Road along route 233, the Eagle lake Road, than walk along route 233, cross the tiny bridge and look for the start of the road on the right, almost hidden by trees.
Lake Wood Beach is another one of those secret out of the way locations in Acadia National Park the Park Service does not promote. Not far down the Crooked Road from route 3 in Hulls Cove, look for a bright blue street sign by a narrow dirt road leading up through the woods. The street sign says PVT but the Park Service marks it that way to discourage visitors to the small beach. A unmarked path across from the first parking area leads through woods and down to the lake where there is a nice ledge to dive from. The small beach is located at the end of a short path at the second parking area. It is said that Lake Wood has some of the warmest waters on the island.
Located along a knoll over looking Duck Brook Road is large abandoned reservoir that was once part of the Bar Harbor Water Company. Today this section of Duck Brook Road is closed to cars, so park at the start of the road and walk a short ways, pass under a stone arched bridge, there are two worn paths, one leads up to the top of the bridge, another leads up into the woods, go up into the woods a short ways and your at the Great Hill Reservoir. You can easily see the road and bridge from the site.
Anemone Cave, or The Devil's Oven as it was called in the 1800's use to appear on maps, but after the National Park Service abandoned the cave, they asked map makers to remove it from future maps. The instructions to the cave are simple, take Schooner Head Road to Schooner Head Overlook Parking Area, follow narrow paved path down through woods to cliff, at cliff you are standing on the roof of the cave. The cave earned its name The Devils Oven due to the people that have become trapped there and drown. Douglas Rose was the last known person to die at the cave, he was a young College of the Atlantic student. The cave can only be entered at low tide, and the floor of the cave is extremely slippery.
One magazine called Compass Harbor one of Acadia National Park's best kept secrets, and they were right. The site is pretty much a secret because the National Park Service wants it that way, thus the tiny parking lots is unmarked as is the location, as the park service does not promote Compass Harbor. This is a shame because though the area of Compass Harbor is small, the nature trail there leads walkers through woods and along one side of Compass Harbor before turning and following the ocean. Compass Harbor has two pebble beaches and the nature trail forms a loop, taking hikers up a very long series of stone steps to the top of a hill where the remains of the George B. Dorr estate can be found. Animals most often spotted at Compass Harbor include deer, ducks, woodpeckers and wild turkeys.
The Causeway Dam in Southwest Harbor has been a favorite walk for many years for the locals. The narrow walkway that crosses the dam has railings, and access to the top of the dam is at the end of a short driveway on S Causeway Lane where a path runs through a short section of trees to the shoreline.
The Anne Archbold estate was once one of the most expensive summer cottages in Bar Harbor. The site today is as it was right after the great fire of 47, in the debris one can see metal bed frames, parts of broken statues, and other items. The site is now owned by Acadia National Park and removing any items from the location is illegal. Many of the statues and other art objects at the estate were created by Anne herself, who was an artist from New York.
Anemone cave is an ancient sea cave located by the Schooner Head Overlook parking area. It was once one of the main attractions in Acadia National Park before the Park Service abandoned the cave and had map makers remove it from maps. People were visiting the old cave as far back as the 1800's, long before Acadia became a National Park, and there are stories over the years of a number of people having gotten caught in the cave as the tide rose, drowning them. The cave can only be entered at low tide.
In 1993 two young local college students from the college of the Atlantic entered the cave using ropes, to examine the caves ceiling. While in the cave a storm approached, which they were unaware of, and large waves began entering the cave. One of the students, Douglas Rose, fought to escape the cave, but the waves were too much to overcome. The following day his body was recovered from inside the cave. The full account of his tragic death can be found on my blog Deaths In Acadia National Park
The secret Waterfall is a secret for two reasons, first - it doesn't show up on any official map, and secondly - it is hidden a short ways in the woods and can only be seen from the left hand side of the stream. Ledge walls block its view from the right hand side of the stream. Best time to view the waterfall is right after a good rain storm or in early spring right after the snows have melted.
To view a short video of the waterfall CLICK HERE
One article writer recently wrote that Compass Harbor in Acadia National Park may be one of the parks best kept secrets, and I would agree. The story of why the area is kept secret is open to debate, but the Park Service is on record as saying they want as few people visiting the area as possible, for that reason the Park Service treats the area of Compass harbor as if it were an abandoned site. Its two tiny parking areas are unmarked, and its nature trail does not appear on many maps. So what is at compass Harbor - well, to begin with, the site has two beaches, used mostly by locals. Than there is Lookout Point, from where you can watch huge cruise ships as they approach or depart Bar Harbor. Than there is the Nature Trail that does a loop through woods and along the harbor and ocean. There are a number of birds in here, including different types of woodpeckers which seem to be drawn to the old trees, as well as ducks, deer, and wild turkeys.
But most importantly you will find the remains of Old Farm, the name of the George B. Dorr estate. The Dorr estate was given to the park Service, which made the huge blunder of tearing down the building instead of preserving it. George B. dorr is often called the Father of Acadia National Park and for a long time locals have wanted the Park service to make improvements to compass Harbor, increase parking, mark the area with signs, improve the nature trail, and most importantly, put up a memorial to honor George B. dorr - to date the Park service has rejected such calls.
Little Hunters Beach in Acadia National Park is another one of those sites the Park Service would rather people not find. This explains why there is no signs pointing out the location along the Park Loop Road. It has a narrow wooden stairway leading down to a small stone beach, just below a small stone bridge. What makes Little hunters Beach so unique is its many perfectly round or oval rocks and stones, made so by the large waves that sweep into the small cove. Some go as far as to claim that the perfectly round stones hold a magical healing power - who knows. One thing is known, over the years people have been walking off with many of these unique stones to the point where the Park Service now watches from the cliffs above for anyone picking up and removing these stones.
The Witch Hole Marsh Trail in acadia National Park is an old but well worn abandoned trail,. The trail dates back to a time when the witch Hole Pond area had a number of hiking trails in that area, those trails have all been abandoned by the Park Service today. Today this stretch of the trail is mainly used by locals as a quick short cut to Witch Hole Pond from the Park Loop Road.
The area where the Stone Tower in Acadia National Park is located was once the home of the Bar Harbor water Company. As you first enter the woods, to the right is a driveway that goes to the first of two large sand filtering foundations. Staying straight on the road it brings you to the old water filtering tower, constructed of large flat stones laid one on top of another. The fast waters of Duck Brook rush past the Stone tower and makes for some nice photos.
Years ago, during rough weather, an Air Force Captain crashed his plane into the side of Cedar Swamp Mountain in Acadia National Park. It would be some time before the crash site was discovered and the pilot's body was recovered, and the plane remains in the woods near the summit of the mountain.
Located on what is known as the quiet side of the island, Wonderland and Ship Harbor Nature Trail are located in Acadia National Park. Ship Harbor gets all the press but I myself enjoy Wonderland much better. Unlike Ship Harbor, Wonderland has a beach where you can find all kinds of well worn sea glass hidden in the sand. Ship Harbor offers one small area where you can get close to the water, Wonderland has several large open areas where you can explore by the waters edge, as well as two coves you can explore, one to the far right of the beach and one to the far left of the beach. Ship Harbor is a true nature trail, while Wonderland is an old fire road that runs straight through the woods to the beach. Located in Acadia National Park, Seawall Campground is not far away, as is the privately owned Bass Harbor Campground, and the Lighthouse Road is next to the Bass Harbor Campground, which leads down to the much photographer Bass Harbor Lighthouse.
A map of Seawall and Bass Harbor showing the Bass Harbor Campground, the Seawall Campground, Ship Harbor, Wonderland, the Bass Harbor Lighthouse and other local attractions. You can catch a ferry from both Bass Harbor as well as from Manset, depending on which outer island you want to visit.
As far back as the early 1800's a trail led from Eden (now named Bar Harbor) to the Bear's Den on the side of Newport Mountain (today named Champlain Mountain). This was said to have once been an active bears den, Acadia National Park came to be and soon the Park Loop Road was constructed, erasing a large section of the trail that led to the Bear's den, and the old cave could only be found on old maps. Over the years the Park service began to drug and remove bears from the Island, and soon Black Bear sightings became very rare. in recent years the Park service reversed their policy and today Black Bears are slowly making a come back, but because the old cave is so close to the roadway it is highly doubtful any bear would try and reclaim the old cave.
The George B. Dorr bike path was once a very popular area in Acadia National Park. Dorr himself designed and built the path and would often be seen riding his bike along it. George B. Dorr is often called the Father of Acadia national Park. Indian Pass, an old Indian trail, ran right through the area of the bike path, and at one time, in the rear right hand corner of the beaver pond was where the Wild Gardens were first located. Once the Bike path was abandoned by the Park Service, the wild gardens were dug up and moved to their present location.
Before there was Acadia National park, there was the Green Mountain Railroad, a cog train that took passengers from the shore of eagle lake to the summit of than Green Mountain, which was later renamed Cadillac Mountain. After the Green Mountain Railroad company went out of business, the tracks were sold for scrap, and an attempt was made to remove the railroad spikes from the granite, that that was quickly abandoned because the spikes were driven too deep into the granite. All the rails except one section were hauled down off the mountain, that one remaining piece of rail rests on the mountain side about two thirds of the way up. For many years after locals continued to hike along the path the train took, which is how it got its name, the Green mountain railroad Trail. Caution has to be taken as you hike the route as most of the railroad spikes still stick up out of the granite, falling or tripping on one could be very painful.
Today one of the major entrance points into Acadia National Park is by way of West street Ext, with West street being on the other side of Route 3 (Eden Street) which leads down to the Bar Harbor town pier. But West Street Ext wasn't always an entrance point into the park, because West Street Extention wasn't always there. Before that street was built, the main entrance point into Acadia National Park from downtown Bar Harbor was by way of the Bloomfield Road, and that route took you to the much lesser used Duck Brook Road. Once West Street extention was constructed, you could now go straight into the park from in town, and it took you right onto the Park Loop Road. The old entrance in to the park, was abandoned, but locals still use it as a quick short cut to the Duck Brook road and to Duck Brook Bridge where the Carriage Roads are. For the past several years there has been a large storage container setting at the start of the abandoned road, with a trailer to the right. Behind the storage container you can clearly follow the worn foot path along the edge of the woods, which widens to a road a short ways in.