The largest island off the coast of Maine, Mount Desert Island is a popular summer destination, host to busy Acadia National Park and quieter fishing villages and harbor towns. Although there are only 10,000 year-round residents, the population swells in summer, with more than 3 million people descending on the Park annually. Bar Harbor is the commercial center of Mount Desert Island, while Northeast Harbor and Southwest Harbor comprise the upscale, ‘quieter’ parts of the island. There are some great options for running in Bar Harbor/Acadia National Park/Mount Desert Island, showcasing spectacular ocean views, quaint harbors, and pine-forested trails. Our thanks to the Bar Harbor Bike Shop for their help with this guide.
The best places to run on Mount Desert Island center on Acadia National Park, the highlights of which are the Carriage Roads, sections of the Park Loop Road, and the quieter Schoodic Peninsula. In Northeast Harbor, we love Sargent Road, and Seawall Rd. in Southwest Harbor has great water views. We’ve also put together some Bar Harbor area highlights.
A couple of notes: Route 3 has some scenic sections but can be very busy and generally lacks a shoulder. A construction project underway in the Bar Harbor area should improve things. Also, in summer, we suggest making use of the shuttle bus system, which for runners has the added bonus of enabling one-way routes! And for more coastal Maine running, see our guides to Maine Mid-Coast and Maine South Coast.