The Carriage Roads in Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island, are the arteries that connect the various parts of this national treasure through the green forested land, along the rugged coast, and deep within the interior. It was an essential addition that helped maintain the integrity of the original vision by giving visitors a way to travel through the park, either by foot, bicycle, horse, or horse drawn carriage, without having to be confronted by, or yield to, a motor vehicle. This was the vision of its original creator, John D. Rockefeller, who desired the same freedom for himself as well.
The Carriage Road System is widely accepted as the finest example of broken-stone roads anywhere in America. Commonly used at the turn of the 20th century, these are true sixteen foot wide roads complete with ditches, stone culverts, three layers of crushed rock - crowned to ensure good drainage. The most remarkable part is the great care that was taken to make the roads a natural part of the landscape. Obviously, they were conceived and designed by someone that had a great deal of respect for the beauty of nature. It is apparent at every turn when visitors realizes that even majestic trees were yielded to and the curvature of the land was followed in the process. Here is a road system that was designed with the natural landscape in mind, not forcing nature to conform to the road itself.
The granite that was used throughout was quarried right on Mount Desert Island. Native vegetation, such as blueberries and sweet fern, were used in landscaping the roadside in order to blend in with the natural surroundings.
One of the most recognized aspects of the system are the beautifully constructed stone-faced bridges. There are 17 in all, each one a unique design, that span roads, streams, waterfalls, and cliff sides. Some of the most beautiful are hidden away in places only accessed via the Carriage Roads themselves.
Three gate lodges were planned to be part of the road system but only two were built - one at Jordan Pond and the other in Northeast Harbor. The lodge for Eagle Lake was never built.
In all, there are approximately 57 miles of Carriage Roads (constructed 1913 - 1940) with 45 miles of this within Acadia National Park. While visiting the area, be sure to take some time to walk on one of them. You will be glad that you did.
Photos of Carriage Roads: Jordan Pond | Duck Brook | Duck Brook | Eagle Lake
To learn about Carriage Rides offered in Acadia National Park, select Carriage Rides.
Wildwood Stables GPS: Latitude 44.314663; Longitude -68.236661
Carriage Roads can be accessed at several points on the island including the Visitor Center at Hulls Cove, Jordan Pond, Bubble Pond, Eagle Lake, Duck Brook, Northeast Harbor, and Wildwood Stables.
Enjoy the Carriage Roads