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Hiking

When should you hike a trail? Some hikes lead to fascinating forests, some have tremendous views and others are rich in variety. Share your favorite trails with other hikers and nature lovers.

The best time to visit Acadia National Park in terms of pleasant weather is between late spring and fall. However it's often crowded. A less busy time with great weather are the two weeks after Labor Day in September until mid-September, just before the leaf peeping crowds arrive. Read our complete overview for every season below with many useful tips. Tip: If you'd like experience something special in Maine and get away from the crowds, check out these great tours: Lighthouse, Coastal & Sailing Tours in Maine. And one of the best guidebooks out there for Acadia N.P.: Acadia - The Complete Guide (via Amazon)

We also collected the the best tips for short hikes and walks, as well as insider tips on how to avoid the crowds during peak season and fall color tips (direct navigation):


Season Tips for Acadia National Park

May - June | Spring 

Both months bring warmer and drier conditions. However, in May the trees aren't green yet and it might be too cold for water activities. Temperatures: Up to 51-75°F / 11-22°C in June. It’s pleasant weather for hiking and other outdoor activities. The downside is, depending on how rainy it has been before, there are biting bugs from mid-May until mid-June. Many facilities are open and May is still a quiet month, except for Memorial Day Weekend (end of May). In June it gets already busier but not as crowded as in July and August.

July - August | Summer 

Warm, most pleasant temperatures. Peak season. It gets very busy, even more in August. Booked accommodations, waiting lines, crowded parking lots, congested Park Loop Road and busy view points. To avoid the crowds during peak season, get to the park early in the morning or in the late afternoon around dinner time. More tips on how to avoid the crowds can be found below. 

September - October | Autumn - Fall Colors 

Early September after Labor Day until mid-September is a nice time to visit the park: The weather is pleasant (49-68°F / 9-20°C), it's not super quiet, but the heavy summer crowds are gone and the 'leaf peeping' crowds haven't arrived yet. It gets very busy again from late September until mid-October as thousands want to see the leaf color explosion in fall. The best time to experience the amazing colors is usually mid-October. Tip: Read our '7 Must-Know Fall Color Tips' below in the main text. Book ahead of time if you need accommodation during the ‘leaf peeping’ weeks. After Columbus Day in mid-October crowds dissipate and rates drop. This is another sweet spot time without the heavy crowds. The last week of October ist often still ok for watching the fall colors, but it also gets cold and rainy. 

November | Late Autumn 

Even in early November, it's usually too late for spotting the beautiful fall colors. Temperatures drop (33-48°F / 1-9°C ), try to visit until mid-November. It’s colder, but still worth to visit the park without the crowds, almost in solitude. Many facilities are closed though. Definitely, drive the Loop Road which is usually still open in November.

December - March | Winter 

It’s off season and very cold. Average temperature in January: 14-32 °F / 0-(-)10 °C . Time for snowmobiling and skiing. Most hotels, restaurants, campsites and attractions are closed. The scenic Park Loop Road is also closed from December until mid-April (weather dependant). More winter activity info: NPS Acadia Winter Activities

April | Early Spring

Many visitors would say that April ist is still not pleasant with melting snow and muddy ground. Average temperatures are between 25-41° F / 1-11° C. However, we'd definitely recommend this month. You might be wondering why? First of all, from mid-April the scenic Park Loop Road usually opens. Second, it's still quiet without any heavy crowds of other tourist. You'll have no issues with parking and can enjoy some places almost in solitude. While there are still signs of winter, the scenery is just breathtaking. Some say the views are even more amazing with no leaves on the trees. Bottom line: We think a visit between mid and late April is a great time!


Weather

Regardless of monthly temperatures we described above, you should know that in Maine the weather can change dramatically during the year. However, temperatures along the coast in Acadia N.P. are moderated by the ocean. In the graph below you'll find the average monthly highs. Least rainfall is in June, July and August. But still, keep in mind that the weather is often unpredictable and can change instantly. Be prepared for rain at any time.

 

 
Avoiding Tourist Crowds

It gets crowded in Acadia National Park in summer and fall. A sweet spot time without the heavy crowds but mostly pleasant temperatures used to be those two weeks in September (after Labor Day until mid-September). However, it's not that quiet anymore during this time, especially in the recent years as visitation increased. Otherwise, there are two different sweet spots weeks with mostly pleasant weather and few visitors: A) The weeks after Columbus Day (mid-October) until early November.  B) Early June until mid-June: Although it's already busy at places like Bar Harbor, visitors report that most hiking trails in the park are not crowded.

 

However, if you plan to visit during the summer and leaf peeping time in fall, we have three great tips to avoid crowds:

1. Be Early or Late:
The majority of people tend to visit Acadia from mid-morning to afternoon. Get up early and try to be at the most visited spots or trailheads before 9:00 AM. Usually, the crowds start to arrive around 10:00 AM. Incredibly popular spots like the summit of Cadillac Mountain can be crowded earlier. Be there at 8:00 A.M. and you'll dodge the heavy crowds at the top. Another advantage to visiting early is the great light for photos and the higher chance of spotting wildlife. Check out this great Ranger Early Bird Video. Alternatively, visit the favorite spots later around dinner time or head out on a short trail just before sunset. Just after 5 P.M. is a perfect time since most are heading back for dinner around that time. However, make sure to be back when there is still daylight. It's too dangerous to hike in the dark.

2. Visit Quieter Areas:
Head to the less traveled places and trails. On the 'quiet side' of Mount Desert Island west of Somes Sound, try out Acadia Mountain Loop or the Beech Cliff Trail (see below in the hiking section). Or you could head to Schoodic Peninsula (Google Maps) on the mainland, or the quietest side of Isle au Haut, accessible only by mail boat.

3. Use the Shuttle:
If you are visiting between late June and Columbus day, use the free Island Explorer Shuttle. It takes away all the worries of full parking lots at trailheads and congested parking areas at popular places like Cadillac Mountain or Bar Harbor. There are bus stops at all well-known places. They even added one for the trailhead of Caddilac North Ridge Trail (see below in the hiking section). Additionaly, you can always ask the bus driver to let you off, even if it’s not an official stop.
 

US United States

Trolltunga! Mesmerizing! Follow our tips to make the most out of your visit. When is the best time? Mid-June until early September are the most pleasant months for hiking and seeing the spectacular scenic cliffs. However, it gets very crowded up there. Read on for our detailed description of weather conditions, how to avoid the crowds and a full season guide. Updated 2019!

We also have new (scroll down or click the links) must-know tips, hiking details, camping tips, and more! Looking for a place to stay? Our Hotel Tips for Trolltunga can help you.
 

Season Guide

Spring | Late March - April - May | Guided Hiking | It’s still snow season (hiking tours with snowshoes). A guided tour is recommended. Sometimes groups who hiked in April on their own, had to turn around: Freezing, too much snow and trail markings (red ‘T’s) were snow covered. In May experienced hikers report that the hike is doable alone but still challenging due to the snow. We suggest guided hiking tours throughout spring. You can find the official Trolltunga Active A.S. (they are the best!) hikes here: Trolltunga Active Tours & Hikes Booking in advance is highly recommended!

Summer| June - July - August - Mid-September | Self-Guided Hiking | Peak season! The best weather and terrain conditions are from mid-June until early September. The trail is well marked and can be done without guides. However, if you're very unexperienced a guided hike is recommended. Meaning, if you can't or don't want to go alone, book a tour via GetYourGuide. They only offer tours from the two top operators Trolltunga Active and Trolltunga Adventures (the best guides you can get):  Reliable Trolltunga Tours. Crowds? The downside is indeed the crowds at Trolltunga and on the trail as well. At the cliffs, it’s not unlikely to wait in the queue for 1-2 hours until you can take your photos. Read our tips below on how to dodge the crowds!

Autumn | Mid-September - Mid-October | Guided Hiking | Already a high chance of new snow and rough weather. Guided tours are highly recommended. Recently in late September, a group had to be rescued by the Red Cross before they would have frozen to death. They went in bad weather. If you want to go alone: Check weather conditions constantly, listen to the locals and prepare with the right gear and clothing.

Winter | Mid-October - Mid-March | Guided Hiking Only | Off-season! DANGER, extremely rough conditions. Life-threatening even for experienced hikers. UPDATE 2019: Somehow the tourist information center 'Visit Odda' changed their mind about hiking in the winter. Now, they say you can hike even in the winter, but only with very experienced guides from Trolltunga Active. See their new infographic here: Trolltunga Hiking Seasons And the official tour by Trolltunga Active: Winter Snowshoe Hike 

 

Avoiding the Crowds


Norway Trip by Neuwieser, CC BY-SA

The main trail to the top and Trolltunga itself became really crowded recently. However, we got you covered with the best tips. You have three viable options to dodge crowds on the trail as well as avoiding long waiting times to take a photo at Trolltunga:

Start Early
Start very early around 6 AM or even better at 5 AM. (If you want to drive the new road (see below), be in Skjeggedal at 6 a.m. when the road 'opens') Hikers who start at 5 AM and arrive around 9 AM usually only see a few others on the trail and up there, even in July/August. You’ll only wait less than 15 minutes to take your photos, compared to an hour or longer!

Consider Camping:
Bring a tent for camping and stay overnight. That way you can experience a quiet sunset and sunrise without the crowds of day hikers. Never camped before or don't want to camp alone? In that case we highly suggest booking the Overnight Hike to Trolltunga (with Camping). It's offered by Trolltunga Adventures and you'll completely dodge the crowds at sunset or sunrise. 

Visit Outside Summer
Go in shoulder season, either April/May or Sept/Oct or even in the winter with a guided tour now. Rougher conditions but fewer people, sometimes almost solitude.


Sweet Spot Months

Try the sweet spot time between EARLY JUNE until MID-JUNE: Still, some snow on the ground but no guide needed. Mostly pleasant conditions and much less crowded than in late June, July, and August.

NO Norway

When to go? It depends on what you’re looking for. Every season is different. Read on for the best tips to plan your visit:

Avoiding Tourist Crowds

Expect a busy National Park year-round except for winter (mid-November/December - February). The main season is from May until October with most tourists and highest rates. Heaviest crowds in July/August. A sweet spot month with mild climate but without heavy crowds is early-November until mid-November. Otherwise, March/April are considered months without massive crowds.

Insider Tip: There are several tips to avoid crowds year-round. A very nice and detailed information from a hiking point of view can be found here at TripAdvisor (close the pop-up and scroll down): Itinerary for Hikers to Avoid the Crowds  

Weather Details

Zhangjiajie-Weather-Averages

December - February (Winter): It’s usually cold and chilly. The average temperature is 7°C (45°F). Often snow, and tracks can be frozen, which makes even short walks on the top dangerous. However, it’s possible there are still some good days in the first half of December. During winter months there are virtually no tourist crowds. That means you can enjoy an amazing scenery during days with pleasant weather. In February the park is closed for 1 week.

March - April (Spring): First months with more tourists but still not high season. Mild temperatures: Up to 21°C (70°F) in April, which is a beautiful month and excellent for photography: Flowers are blooming, the forest in is full of vigor, leaves are verdant

May - August (Summer): Peak season. Temperatures climb to an average of 29°C (84°F) in August. The wet season, with most rain in May/June/July. However, some tourists don’t mind the rain: It creates an enchanting atmosphere with mountains surrounded by mist.

September - October (Autumn): Still high season but usually comfortable weather and less rain than in summer months. Temperatures 20-28°C (68-82°F)

November (Winter): Fewer tourists and still comfortable temperatures and even less rain. Beautiful autumn leaves. Some say from early-November until mid-November is one of the best times.


National Holidays: Avoid the national holidays at all cost. Even more crowds and highest rates:

  • Chinese Spring Festival (New Year): Late Jan/early Feb
  • International Labor Day: May 01 to 03
  • National Day: Oct 01-07 (the heaviest crowds of all and highest rates)
CN China

The best tips before visiting Bryce Canyon National Park, one of the most beautiful parks! It’s worth going regardless of the season of the year. Summer months (May through September) is the park’s tourist season with pleasant weather perfect for a day’s exploration. TIP: Excellent sweet spot months with mostly pleasant weather and less crowds are April and October. Read our full season guide below for more tips and details. Winter (November) offers plenty of snowfall and great winter activities.

Don't miss our tips for the '5 Amazing Must-Know Walks and Hikes' (scroll down) including Google Maps links which you can send to your smartphone.

Book Tip: Check out the best guidebook for Bryce and Zion which is available: Zion & Bryce Canyon National Parks

Tour Tip: This one is unforgettable: You spend three days with the best tour guides you can imagine and explore stunning Zion and Bryce National Parks, Monument Valley, as well as Antelope Canyon and Grand Canyon. You ride with a 4x4 jeep through Monument Valley and get world class photo opportunities on this once in a lifetime tour. Hassle-free with with everything taken care of! Read the reviews: Bryce, Antelope, Grand Canyons, Zion & Monument Valley - Exclusive Tour


Weather

Sitting at a relatively high elevation of 8,000 to 9,000 feet, Bryce Canyon National Park is colder than any national park in Utah including Zion, Canyonlands and Arches. Summer temperature is pleasant and mild with little fluctuations. Night time in spring and fall are chilly but winter is the coldest with plenty of snowfall. Remember to pack your warm clothes when planning your trip to Bryce Canyon National Park anytime of the year. Monthly average maximum temperatures:

More details: Bryce Canyon Climate

Spring (March – May): Weather during spring transition from cold to mildly warm. Nonetheless, visitors still need a jacket particularly in March and April. This is the time to see snow melt from the higher elevation mountains surrounding this spectacular park. However, especially March is still considered a 'winter month' with snow and often unpleasent temps. April is the time when most Bryce experts consider going: The snow is melting and it's the first 'warmer' month as temperatures are getting more pleasant in April.  It doesn't matter that the trails are still muddy and that’s it's unlikely to see flowers. Also, keep in mind that nights in April and May are chilly. 

Summer (June – August): Experience pleasant days and cool nights during summer. The best weather is in July, the warmest month. Rainfall during mid to late summer comes as afternoon thundershowers. These are also the peak tourist months with heavy crowds.

Fall (September – October): Especially September is a great month with pleasant temperatures, blue sky, clear and crisp air. However, weather can be unpredictable and fall nights can be relatively chilly. It is possible to experience some snowfall in October.

Winter (November – February): Winter is the coldest time to visit Bryce Canyon. One will experience lots of snow between January and February, making it ideal time to enjoy snow activities such as skiing and sledging. Much of the area experience snowstorm from October through April. The coldest month is December. Few facilities and amenities will either remain closed or reduce their operating hours.


Avoiding Tourist Crowds

The park is attracting over 2.6 million people annually now (2018). Summertime is the peak tourist season. Quieter times are winter, early spring and late fall. In September, the crowds start to thin out slightly after Labor Day (first Monday in September). However, not on weekends, as they are still packed in September.  June, July and August bring the heaviest crowds. In May it already starts to get busy, especially on weekends.

To avoid the crowds, start your day’s exploration early and go mid-week if possible. Finding the perfect parking space can sometimes be challenging especially at the view points along the scenic drive. However, you can find a nice parking spot just few kilometers away from the more packed ones. Special Tip: If you want to park your car at Sunset Point (limited parking only), arrive there around 7 a.m. A park ranger even suggested 6 a.m.! Otherwise it's better to use the shuttle (see below). Hiking enthusiasts should also start very early as most hiking trails will be packed later. The family friendly and moderate trails are packed in high season: Rim Trail, Queens Garden Loop, Navajo Loop, … You can find solitude, even in peak season, on the more strenuous day hikes like Fairyland Loop and Peekaboo Loop. Especially if you start early. Looking for very easy, short hikes or walks? Read our guide with the 5 best hikes and walks at the end of this article.  

Opening Hours and Shuttles

The park is open 24 hours throughout the year. The Visitor center is modern, with everything you need. No restaurant though. Visitor Center Operating Hours . Shuttle service for the Bryce Canyon stops in late October and resumes with the start of spring in mid-April. Detailed schedule: Bryce Canyon Park Shuttle Is is it free? Yes, there is no additional fee. You can use the shuttle as often as you like. It's all included in the $35 entrance fee to Bryce Canyon.

US United States

The ruins are open to the public year round but choose a clear day to get the full effect of the skyline views. The ruins are incredible during a sunset in the summer or after a snow fall in the winter.

DE Germany

The best months to visit Hong Kong's trails are October to April since the northern summer means monsoon. Most pleasant temps from October to December although, the clearest months are also the coldest from December to February. Keep in mind that Hong Kong is very busy during the Western and Chinese holidays. The Dragon's Back and other parts of the Hong Kong Trail are best done during the week. Usually, weekends are crowded, especially at Shek O Beach where the trail ends.

Dragons Back with a clear blue sky during winter
Dragons Back

Weather by Seasons in Hong Kong
  • Dry Season
    The driest months are October to March, although rain already returns in March and temps start to rise again. The very best months especially if you come to Hong Kong for hiking are October to the beginning of December due to the pleasant temps; on average around 25°C / 77°F in October. November is already cooler and from mid- December to February daily temps are below 20°C / 68°F and nights can be chilly around 14°C / 57°F. The colder temps are the reason for fewer clouds, clear skies. However, be prepared for a shower.
  • Rainy Season
    The rainy season starts in April but most precipitation from May to September while June until September are the hottest months with high humidity. Thunderstorms occur frequently and be aware of typhoons in September. Temps during summer are on average around 30°C / 86°F. Bring a swimsuit and towel and go swimming at one of the many beaches around.
Beautiful scenery along the Dragon's Back hiking trail
Crowds on the Dragons Back Trail 

If you can't start early, the trail is packed with people. However, many walk until the Dragon's Back viewing point only and back. From here the trail is less frequented and makes even more fun. Visitors hike the trail in either direction, but most start at To Tei Wan. If possible avoid weekends. Hiking is pretty popular by the Hong Kong residents. 

HK Hong Kong S.A.R., China