Many in Granite State Carriage Association have discovered the singular beauty of Acadia National Park via carriage or on horseback. Located near Bar Harbor, Maine on Mt. Desert Island, Acadia’s groomed and graded carriage roads offer 57 miles for drivers and horseback riders to explore, plus...

there is bicycling and walking, and hiking trails, and a terrific variety of other area recreational activities and sights. Pets on leash are allowed. More info--  National Park Service

20021231 102AcadiaHorsesTypical Acadia Carriage Road with coping stones alongside

The Park “Loop Road” for automobiles features numerous scenic stops such as “Thunder Hole,” “Sand Beach,” auto road to the summit of Cadillac Mountain, “Bubble “Pond,” “Pebble Beach,” and the Jordan Pond House for dining, tea and popovers (purchase of Park Pass is required to travel full length of the Loop Road.) There are regular bus routes on the park roads and in Bar Harbor.

Wildwood Stables offers commercial horse-drawn wagon tours of the carriage roads and bridges. The area offers sea kayaking, bicycle rentals, beaches, schooner and whale watching cruises, seal and eagle spotting, fishing village exploration and lighthouses, maritime museums, and amazing shopping and seafood dining in Bar Harbor and surrounds.Acadia Jordan Pond GatehouseCarriage Driver at Acadia's Jordan Pond Gatehouse

The history of John D. Rockefeller Jr.’s construction of the carriage roads and donation of the area to the country as a National Park is quite interesting. The carriage road network features several unique stone bridges (all different) made from native stone; the routes— built for carriage driving and skirted with secure coping stones above steep dropoffs— take full advantage of scenic vistas on all sides of Mt. Desert Island.  Commercial carriage tours

Folks bringing in horses can access the carriage road system and rent stalls from Wildwood Stables via “Carriages of Acadia.”  You must tend your own horse; shavings and hay can be brought in or purchased there. Dogs are allowed at Wildwood. Stall renters can also rent rough campsites on the Wildwood grounds, or choose from area inns, motels, B and B’s, or camping. PLEASE NOTE:  There is no horse veterinarian on the island; farriers can be found in the area, as well as feed/grain stores on the mainland.

Wildwood Stables generally is open from Memorial Day weekend into early October. The season is busiest in July and August and tapers off in the fall.

TWO GSCA MEETUPS in Acadia (See  GSCA 2016 Calendar of Outings ):
In 2016, your club will feature two Acadia times which you can attend all or part of, or overlap with:
Acadia GSCA Meetup One — June 19-28
Acadia GSCA Meetup Two — September 6-13

Acadia cobblestone bridge"Cobblestone bridge" in Acadia National ParkDuring these times, experienced GSCA members will be attending who can explain the carriage road ins & outs, potentially suggest route options, and address other concerns. Everything can be found on the carriage roads— from flat level trotting to short loops to steep and long, from mountainside vistas to pond-side trails, from grass trails where bicyclists are not permitted to short mountain climbs with spectacular ocean or lake views.

Since stabling reservations are made by each individual, anyone can go independently, at any time. Reservations open January 2, and it is best to reserve early if you want specific dates. Wildwood does accommodate parking for trailer-ins to day-ride or drive. Day trippers can also access the carriage roads from a couple other locations, although with limited space for parking; horses are not permitted on the park auto roads.  

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