The Ghost Trails of Acadia National Park
Today, Acadia National Park is home to 150 miles of official trails. However, in 1915, the area that would soon be protected was home to over 200 miles of trails. So what happened to all those extra trails?
In turns out, many of these trails still exist. Now known as "ghost trails" or "phantom trails," these old trails may no longer appear on official park maps, but they still exist within the park for those who seek them out.
During the 1980s, people known as "trail bandits" would scour old maps of Acadia National Park to find old trails and use or restore them for use. Today, the use of GPS and the internet has opened these trails up to anyone who performs an internet search; there are many websites that direct park visitors to these ghost trails without having to use old maps to find them.
Although visitors to Acadia National Park are allowed to explore off the official trail network, the park does make some effort to prevent this. Park staff will not encourage use of ghost trails or direct visitors to ghost trails. They will also block popular ghost trail entrances with brush piles, although these conspicuous piles of brush often have the unintended consequence of pointing hikers seeking the ghost trails directly to the trail.
While Acadia National Park does not promote its ghost trails, it does sometimes restore an old trail back into official use. One such path that has been restored is Homans Path on Dorr Mountain. Restored and reopened in 2006, this once-abandoned trail features significant rock work, like granite stairs and narrow passages.
Want to learn more about Acadia National Park? Check out 101 Travel Bits: Acadia National Park.