Bar Island

(Easy, 1.0 mile one-way)

Just offshore from Bar Harbor in the waters of Frenchman Bay is Bar Island, which is connected to the mainland by a sand bar. It is from this sand bar that the town of Bar Harbor derives its name, with the island, the town, and the sand bar combining to form a snug harbor. Bar Island – part of Acadia National Park – is accessible on foot at low tide and is one of the most popular walks on the island.

Find a parking spot in downtown Bar Harbor, walk to West Street at the north end of the village, and then go down Bridge Street. to the water. For a 1 1/2 to 2 hour window of time on either side of low tide the gravelly sand bar dries out sufficiently to form a “trail” across the head of the harbor to the island, a natural land bridge. Be sure to consult a tide chart before venturing across and always keep an eye on the tides! The park’s seasonal visitor guide has information on local tides. There are no public facilities on the island.

As you saunter the half-mile across the sand bar you’ll enjoy fine views of Frenchman Bay north to Hulls Cove and the many beautiful homes lining the shore, as well as the jumble of islands to the east and south known as the Porcupines. At the far shore, scamper over the rocks onto Bar Island. If time allows, pass through the gate blocking the old fire road, and continue uphill on a wide path to the highpoint of land another half-mile ahead. Along the way you’ll pass through a big field that’s just right for picnicking. After a second, smaller field, reach an old flag pole and pile of stones marking the top, where there are wonderful vistas of busy Bar Harbor across the bay. The pink granite peaks of Champlain Mountain and Cadillac Mountain rise impressively in the distance.

Visitor Resources: Bar Island

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