Hiking in Maine: Explore the Schoodic Peninsula, for the Acadia less traveled

The Schoodic Peninsula is home to a remarkable landscape of dense spruce forests, jack pine woodlands, shrubby heaths, cobble beaches, granite headlands, deep harbors and rugged islands. Bounded by Frenchman Bay to the west, Gouldsboro Bay to the east and the Gulf of Maine along its southern margin, the peninsula is a true natural gem of Maine’s bold Downeast coastline.

Two towns make up the Schoodic Peninsula. Winter Harbor encompasses the southern reaches, which feature the extraordinary Schoodic District of Acadia National Park, the only mainland chunk of the park, while Gouldsboro takes in the lands on both sides of U.S. Route 1, stretching from the center of the peninsula north toward Tunk Lake.

The “quiet side” of Acadia National Park may be considered by most to be the west side of Mount Desert Island, but that label might be better applied to Schoodic. Despite having attracted increased attention when it expanded to 3,450 acres in late 2015 thanks to a large private donation of land and recreational infrastructure, Schoodic still sees just a fraction of the annual visitors that overwhelm the park proper – from Sand Beach to Jordan Pond to Bass Harbor Light – on MDI.

Enjoy the network of meandering trails and bike paths, amble in awe over the wave-splashed pink granite at Schoodic Point, check out the cool log and stone visitor information center and perhaps camp at the park’s Schoodic Woods Campground.

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