United States

Bar Harbor/Acadia National Park/Mount Desert Island, Maine

A Guide to running on Mount Desert Island, including Acadia National Park

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.

Editor's Picks

Some of our favorite runs in Bar Harbor/Acadia National Park/Mount Desert Island, Maine

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Acadia’s weather is largely a product of latitude and marine influences. During the popular summer season, the weather is generally delightful, with high temperatures in the 70s (21-24C), and cool nights. Fall is short but gorgeous, with peak colors typically in the first two weeks of October. Winters can be severe, with frequent ‘noreaster storms and an average of 61 inches of snow. Average high temperatures in winter are around the freezing mark, with lows dipping into the teens. The coastal location is a bit of a moderating influence on snowfall amounts and temperatures, given the latitude. Spring can be lovely, but also damp and foggy, as northeast winds coming off the water keep the temperatures down until the ocean warms up.

Running Stores

There are no dedicated running stores on Mount Desert Island, but there are numerous outdoor recreation stores that sell running gear. See the map on the location home page.

The Bar Harbor Bike Shop was helpful with this guide. They have a staff knowledgeable about the local area, and sell bars and other ‘runner food’.

The Bar Harbor Half Marathon & 5K in September is rated by Halfmarathons.net as one of the best half marathons in New England. It’s one of the only road races in a national park!