Donnell Pond Public Reserve Lands- an escape from the “free park day” crowds

The weather was cold and rainy yesterday so we were ready to head into the park for a day of adventure.  What we didn’t know was that it was Public Lands Day and admission to Acadia National Park was free.  The crowds were unbearable.  We couldn’t even find a place to park and the buses were full.  We made a quick change of plans and headed out of the Acadia area to one of our other favorite spots, Donnell Pond Public Reserve Lands.  The ride from our camping spot at Narrows Too is less than 45 minutes and the traveling is easy.

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Gizmo’s favorite hike all week- Acadia behind him

We headed back towards Ellsworth and turned east on to Route 1.  In Sullivan you turn onto rte. 183 and drive about 4.5 miles (just after the Downeast Sunrise Trail crossing) turn left on to the gravel Schoodic Beach Road.

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Sign at start of road

You will bear left at the first fork in the road and continue for approximately 2.3 miles to where the road ends at a parking lot. You can choose a few different hikes from this parking lot.  We like to hike up the Schoodic Mountain trail.  The trail starts right beside the “outhouse” and is a 1.3 mile hike that takes you up over 1000 feet of elevation to reach the summit.

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Trail up the mountain

The top is a bald summit with  a panoramic views of the mountains of Acadia National Park, nearby ponds and lakes and the Atlantic Ocean.

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Enjoying the summit views

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View towards lakes, the Atlantic and Acadia

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Views out towards the Atlantic

We like to combine this trail with the Schoodic Beach Trail on the way down.

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Make sure you turn here

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Views toward Donnell Pond

Be prepared, it drops you down in elevation VERY quickly.  This is a very steep trail.  The lake is a great spot to cool off if it is a hot summer day.  Today the wind was blowing and creating lapping waves on the shore.

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Running on the beach 

The beach area contains day use and overnight areas.  You can camp near the beach for up to 2 weeks for free!  The hike back to the car from the beach is about 1/2 mile of an old jeep path with a steady incline.  The other hike you can take from the parking lot or the beach is up to the cliffs of Black Mountain.  This is still on our list of hikes to do.

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About gizmogoeswest

I just "pre-tired" from my job of over 30 years as a nurse. John, my husband and Gizmo and Sierra our Shih Tzus are embarking on our 3rd cross country RV adventure. We are searching for awesome dog friendly hikes and adventures
This entry was posted in Dog Friendly, hiking, Maine, National Parks and Monuments, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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