Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hike – Shore Path

Looking towards Bar Island on The Shore Path
Some folks like getting away from all the people on the streets of downtown Bar Harbor by taking a walk along The Shore Path.  This path has existed for more than 130 years so that “genteel folks” could enjoy themselves.  This post describes a loop that will also take you through the main street of Bar Harbor (which most everyone walks anyway.)

Directions – Rather than try to park right downtown, where spots can sometimes be hard to find, start to drive south out of Bar Harbor on Route 3.  Keep watching to the left.  In a few streets you will see a sign with a white “H” on a blue background indicating a hospital.  This is Wayman Lane.  Park in one of the spots opposite this on the main street.  In addition to usually being open, they also have the advantage of no time limit.  While the Shore Path does not take long to walk, stopping at all the shops in Bar Harbor does.

Cross the street and walk down Wayman Lane.  At the end of it you will see a large sign indicating the start of the Shore Path.  There will be a fence on the right.  Do not try to climb over it since this is private property.  In fact, the entire Shore Path runs along the edge of private, ocean-front property, but the owners graciously allow the town to maintain this historic walking path.

One of the properties along The Shore Path

In a few hundred feet you will come to the ocean.  There are views out to the Porcupine Islands.  There are sometimes cruise ships in the harbor, as there was the day I did it.  Turn left and walk along the ocean.  The path is wide and well maintained.  It is crushed stone, not pavement.  There is a small retaining wall, but this does mean a drop of a few feet onto rocks in some places, so you still need to watch your step.

First view of the ocean from The Shore Path
The Shore Path
Coming to a bend in the path
A view of the harbor from The Shore Path

Continue along the path at a leisurely pace.  This is meant to be experienced, not gotten over with.  Look back now and then for views further down the coast.  Look away from the ocean at some of the homes.  The day I walked this there was one that was for sale.  As Ferris Bueller said, “If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.”

Looking down the coast from The Shore Path
Anyone got some spare change?
I just liked the juxtaposition of these two objects

The path ends at the pier in Bar Harbor.  Across the water is Bar Island.  You can read about a walk out to the island during low tide here.  Looking uphill towards the town you can see a small park that attracts people who want to picnic, or just get some sun, all while having great views of the harbor.

Coming to the end of The Shore Path
Looking back along the path from the pier

Start up through this park.  When you come to a fountain you are transitioning into the downtown area of Bar Harbor.  There are shops all along both sides of the street, and down many side streets.  Depending on the time of year, and whether there is a cruise ship in the harbor, there may be quite a few people here.  You may just want to go directly back to your car, but most people stop at shops that look interesting.

View of the harbor from the park
The fountain at the corner of the park on Main Street

The reason I suggest doing the Shore Path in this direction (most guides start you at the pier) is that it allows you to make purchases after you have had your pleasant walk along the ocean.  Trying to carry purchases along it would lessen the experience.  Some people have even gotten so caught up in shopping that they have abandoned plans to walk the path entirely.  This way you can just continue along Main Street all the way back to where you parked your car.  Because it is parked somewhere with no time limit you can spend as much time as you want in Bar Harbor.

Cumulative distance:             1.8 miles round trip
Cumulative elevation gain:   50 feet (on Main Street the Shore Path is flat)
Cumulative duration:           1-4 hours (depending on your shopping time in Bar Harbor)

Acadia Hiking Guide


  1. Nice snaps there! Maybe you should write a travel guide? ( : I recommend taking a look at Eric's site "The Warning Sign", he's just written about hiking.

  2. @Chris - Thanks for the complement. I like taking photos, but I have never attempted to sell anything. Every now and then I have thought about trying something like that, but it has never gotten beyond idle thought. In regards to that site: I checked your followed blogs and did not see it. I then tried to Google it, but "warning sign" is a very common phrase. Do you have a link to it?

  3. @Chris - I went to the site. I scrolled back through almost four months of posts. I saw reviews of movies, video games, beers, and poll results, but I didn't see anything related to hiking. Thanks, though.

  4. Sorry you went to all that trouble, you are correct there is not a lot, no hiking images, but he went to Portland:

    and a little here:

  5. I like the fact that you vary your content with posts like this Chip, and you also feature some wonderful photographs, I did enjoy that juxstaposition with the cruise ship!
    I always plan my vacations so that they include opportunities for walking, so far that's been confined to Europe, mainly in the Italian Lakes.
    But, if I ever visit The States you've given me some food for thought.
    Keep 'em coming!

  6. @Paul S - Thanks for the oompliments. If you're going to come all the way to the U.S. to see the sights then the most famous (i.e. The Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls) are still probably your best bet. If you want to still see beauty, but with fewer people to get in the way of it, then Acadia National Park in Maine is really great. It's in the most northeastern part of the country, though, so you wouldn't want to visit in winter.

    1. So much for proofreading. That's supposed to be "compliments", by the way.