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Best Damn Weekend Ever: Acadia National Park

Avoid the crowds in Maine's Acadia National Park by skipping getting a jump on the season and hiking the park in the Spring. Stephen King country never looked so good.
Backpacker_Magazine_Acadia_National_ParkAcadia National Park, Maine Office of Tourism

Here’s some statistical motivation: Of the two million people caravaning annually into Maine’s Acadia National Park, 1.8 million of them make the trip between June and September. The rest are mostly October leaf-peepers–which leaves deserted-island hiking opportunities in the spring (and winter, if bitter cold is your thing). April and May are special months at Acadia because of the solitude–you’ll see more herons and harbor seals than people–and the moderate weather.

Roll in by mid-afternoon to set up basecamp in Blackwoods Campground (Loop A is the most secluded); then drive to the Otter Point parking area and the Ocean Path Trail for a 5.8-mile evening trek. Hike 2.2 miles to Sand Beach, passing Thunder Hole, a rocky inlet that gets pummeled by waves, sending spray as high as 40 feet. Scan Sand Beach for lounging harbor seals, then cross Loop Road to climb the pink granite ledges of the Beehive Trail. You’ll grab iron rungs hammered into the rock to top out 505 feet above the coast. Dig the view? Continue south on Beehive to the Gorham Mountain Trail to summit Gorham Peak (520 feet) before descending to the Ocean Path and an easy return to Otter Point. It gets dark around 7:30 p.m. Pack a headlamp to be safe, or shorten the hike and backtrack from Sand Beach.

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