Acadia: Bar Island

Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T!

Bar Island is a tidal island in Bar Harbor, just North of the West Street Pier. It is now part of Acadia National Park (Acadia NP was established in 1916, but the boundaries weren’t adjusted to include Bar Island until 1986) and has some hiking trails running through the island. The only way to get there is by crossing a sand bar on foot or with an ATV.


This land bridge is only accessible 1.5 hours on either side of low tide. You don’t want to be on the island when the tide comes in or you will be stuck out there until the next low tide.


We’d seen Bar Island at high tide from the area behind our hotel. One of the locals explained that we could go there at low tide, so we checked the internet for the next low tide.


We were lucky that low tide coincided with sunset. Even though it was foggy, the setting sun still shone through, creating a glorious diffused effect. It was such an amazingly beautiful sight.


While walking across the land bridge, with what seemed like every other occupant of Bar Harbor, we saw some kayakers coming back to shore.


As we neared Bar Island, we saw little stone towers everywhere. We added a cairn of our own on the beach at Bar Island and then headed back across the sand bar, not wanting to spend the night on the Island.


You can see my other Acadia National Park Posts by clicking on these links:

  1. Park Loop Road
  2. Jordan Pond

Location: Mount Desert Island
Designation: National Park
Date designated/established: Added to Acadia NP in 1986
Date of my visit: August 2015


11 thoughts on “Acadia: Bar Island

  1. Nemorino

    I’m always fascinated by places with high and low tides, never having lived in any place like that. (I grew up near Lake Michigan, which looks like an ocean but is fresh water and has tides of maybe one inch either way.)

  2. We walked to Bar Island on our trip in 1989. Kind of exciting to make sure you don’t get wet feet on the way back. Hope all is well T. Allan

  3. Sounds like an adventure we should have next time we visit, Acadia, T. Since our base of operations for full-timing it on the road will be out of Virginia, that should be in the not too distant future. I’m going to be looking at some of your old posts for suggestions for what to explore in the East. 🙂 –Curt

    1. Visitation has ticked up quite a bit in recent years. Recommend shoulder season like may or Oct…just not too early or late that there are no businesses open. Many of the residents go down to Florida for businesses they have there in the opposite seasons

  4. Good post. Unfortunately, when we visited Bar Harbor and the Park, it precluded walking over on the land bridge. (And not just because I wanted to have a pint at Atlantic Brewery…….) Your photos showed us what we missed.

    1. Bobbie Shields

      Thank you for this info. We are planning a visit this fall. Will have to see if we can access it. Beautiful pictures.

  5. Pingback: Bar Harbor Shore Path - National Parks With T

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