• Join us on

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.

We also collected the the best tips for short hikes and walks (great if you only stay one day / 24h), as well as insider tips on how to avoid the crowds during peak season. You may also jump directly to our 7 Must-Know Fall Color Tips or our Personal Accommodation Tips, if you'd like to save money in peaks season. At the end of this article: 7 Best Short Hikes and Walks in Acadia National Park


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

This hike through the gorge can be done at low water level only. After heavy rainfall, the Apsley River is flooded. Check the weather forecast first. Don't hike through the gorge if there is much rain forecasted. Even roads can get flooded. One day after our hike in November 16 we experienced flooded roads, closed trails, and landslides. A couple of trails got destroyed.

Flooded Apsley River after heavy rainfall close to Bicheno

Crowds

The Apsley River waterhole is popular for swimming in the summer. We saw several people having a look to the waterhole, but none of them hiked the trail through the gorge. It’s still a hidden gem compared to Freycinet.

Climate Bicheno

Pleasant temps around 20° C in the summer from December to March. Nights can be cold. More precipitation in summer. Warmest month on average is January. Winter with mild temps on average around 5-13° C. Frost is not common. In general, the eastern part of Tasmania is much drier than the western. Bear in mind it’s Tasmania rain can always occur.

AU Australia

Recommended throughout the year. We prefer May because many different flowers are in bloom especially along this trail and October with the autumn foliage. The second reason for April/May and Sept./Oct. it is the right temperature for the filled cupboard with wine along the trail. This is a highlight of the trail. It would be too hot in summer and in winter it is empty.

DE Germany

Best at low tide especially for the 9.2 km long hike around the peninsula.
Tide times 

Candelabra flowers in bloom from February to April (pictures number 6-8)

Whale spotting from May to November possible.

Climate

In general, low rainfall in the Plettenberg area. Driest and coldest months are from June to October. The coolest and driest month is July. More precipitation in the hottest months from November until March. Most rainfall in March. However, Plettenberg gets more than 300 hours of sunshine each month in summer.

(updated by whentobewhere)

ZA South Africa

Hiking to Widgery Cross and Brad Tor is almost always possible even in changeable weather. This short hike is a "hidden gem" and not marked. Best visited and more impressive at the magic hour before sunset if the Dartmoor weather allows a blue sky and sunshine. Avoid hiking here in May during the huge Ten Tors event. Check out the details here.

Parking

There isn't any sign for the walk or the car park. The reason that not many people walk to the cross. We marked the minor road on the map which leads to the parking site. Coming from Tavistock or Lydford Gorge on A 386, after the Dartmoor Inn (they offer delicious local meals) on the right before the farm stall on the left turn right into a gravel road. Shortly afterward you have to pass a gate, and after roughly 200 meters you get to the car park which is for free. For more information make a stop at the farm stall. They offer the best beef pasty and a good coffee. The owner provides you with lots of information and pictures for hiking in the nearby surroundings. It’s also one of the car parks for the famous Ten Tors hike. Each May a huge hiking event takes place on Dartmoor for two days.

Widgery Cross Dartmoor

Weather Dartmoor

The climate is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. Due to the higher altitude and exposed areas, more extreme climate conditions appear. Much more precipitation occurs on Dartmoor than in the surrounding lowlands. Many rivers emerge on here. The rain gets quickly absorbed by the moor, the reason that the soil is often soaked. Sometimes the weather is notoriously bad, windy, cold, foggy and of course wet! Autumn and winter are the wettest time of the year. Snow can occur in the winter, but it’s not common. Anyhow, sunny days or hours appear. The driest months are in the summer. The summer mean daily temps are below 20 degrees, but up to 30 degrees are possible. 

GB United Kingdom

The best time to safely visit the place would be from the beginning of May till the end of September. The snow should be melted by this time and the access road should be safer to move on. If you are planning to walk from Smrdliva Voda to the range it will be a two day trip - the distance is almost 20 km one way. Check the weather forecast before you go. The weather can change very quickly in the mountains.

MK Macedonia