Maine August 23, 2018
Few People Know There’s A Maine Island You Can Walk To
Maine has more than 3,000 islands dotting its coastline. Some are totally uninhabited and include just a few feet of sand and trees. Others house some of the state’s most luxurious hotels. Then there are some in the middle; not too small, not too big—just perfectly sized for a moderate adventure on two feet. That’s right! There’s an island you can walk to in Maine. It’s easy and leads to some beautiful trails to explore. Just make sure to watch the clock, as the trail is only accessible during low tide!
Bar Island is located just off the coast of Bar Harbor, across a body of water known as the Mt. Desert Narrows.
But, if you take a closer look, you'll see that the Mt. Desert Narrows is shallow. How can a boat cross it to get to the island?
Easy! They don't. For three hours every day low tide will allow you to access it by foot.
There's a clearly marked trail head that begins at Bridge Street in Bar Harbor. If you're staying in town, set your GPS to walk here for the trail start.
You can also head to the Hulls Cove Visitors Center in Acadia National Park, then take the Island Explorer Bus heading to Village Green. When you've arrived at Village Green, head down Main Street to West Street. Here, you'll make a right on Bridge Street.
There are ways to drive onto the sandbar, but this means you'll need to keep exact track of the time and the tides or risk your car floating away.
The low tide exposes the gravel trail for about 3 hours every day, which is more than enough time to get to Bar Island, do some exploring and come back before it's underwater again.
If you're not from the area, timing your visit is a great way to get a better understanding of how tides work. See the end of this article for a link to the tide tables that can help you plan the best time to visit Bar Island.
While the short window of low tide can be daunting, it's a big part of what makes this trail so cool!
The low tide time listed on tide tables will reveal the time that the trail is most exposed, which means you have about 1.5 hours before and after that time to enjoy the path.
Because the path is submerged under water for most of the time, there are lots of tide pools and sea life to enjoy along the way.
This is a great way for kids and grownups to learn about the ecology of Maine, but remember not to disturb anything by picking it up.
The path will also be soft and sandy in places, so be sure to wear footwear that can handle this type of terrain. Going barefoot is a great way to have fun and cool down.
It can be a lot of fun to walk into the water. Unless it's because you've timed things wrong and have found yourself having to swim!
But, with the signs warning you of the dangers you should be fine.
The trail is close to the mainland, making it a great way to look back at Bar Harbor and see the nature that exists all around you.
While some trails in Maine are best left for sunny days, fog and clouds add to the atmospheric nature of this one.
Once you've reached Bar Island, be sure to explore some of the trails that meander through the area.
The trail follows an abandoned road, which you should follow until you come to a place where you can head towards the right.
From here you'll find viewing points to see Bar Harbor at it's finest.
If you head towards the left, you'll begin going uphill to the highest point on the island. The views here are just as gorgeous.
You'll know that the tide is beginning to come back in when the trail looks less wide than it did earlier.
This is a good time to make sure you're heading back. The tides in Maine move quickly and if you're cutting things too close you could get stuck. So, be sure to take nature seriously. You can always do it again tomorrow.
To check out the Bar Harbor tides,
unique hike to take in Maine leads to this fun, wobbly bridge. It’s unexpected and easy enough to do in just an afternoon with kids.