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Porcupine Islands

from Bar Harbor

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Paddle Trip{short description of image}{short description of image}(A Level 3 Trip)
Bar Harbor Region, Western Frenchmen's Bay

The Road Trip: From the South, take Route 1 north to Ellsworth (follow the traffic) and turn right onto Route 3 South to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. Continue on Route 3 for about 17 miles. Continue about one mile past the Ferry Terminal and then turn left onto West Street. Continue about .3 miles. Turn left onto Bridge Street, which quickly becomes a dirt road that leads down to the water. Parking is available in the dirt lot on the right.

From the north, take Route 1A or Route 1 south to Ellsworth, turn onto Route 3 south and continue as above.
Acadia National Park & Vicinity

The Paddle Trip:
Trip Summary: A short day trip with grand views of the Porcupine Islands, the town of Bar Harbor, and of Cadillac Mountain. Lots to look at and lots of opportunities to explore. Bring your camera.

The Launch At high tide, you can launch just a stone's throw from the parking area. At low or mid-tide you can drive down the steep rutted dirt road that leads onto the bar. Lots of mussels and barnacles here -- be sure to wear something with soles on your feet. And don't leave your car on the bar unless you fancy fish in your carburator.
Paddling Time & Distance: 2-3 hours. 6 nautical miles
Route: Head clockwise around Bar Island. Continue east toward Sheep Porcupine Island and Burnt Porcupine Island. Then turn northeast up along Long Porcupine Island (about 1 mile long). From here, Jordan Island and Ironbound Island are less than 2 miles to the east. Turn southwest and trace the cliffs of the southeastern shore. Finally, head for the tall cliffs of Bald Porcupine Island, trace the breakwater back to Bar Harbor, and return to the bar (now on the eastern side), passing through the town harbor on the way.
Paddling Tips: Paddle this trip early in the day to avoid the high winds and rough waters common in this area in the afternoon. Stick to the lee side of the islands as needed.
Watch out for: Boat traffic, including lobster boats, sail boats, and motor boats can be heavy. The waters here can get rough in a hurry. The currents can be strong in the channels between the islands and at the tips of some of the islands. On the day I paddled this trip it was nearly flat calm as I skirted Bald and Sheep Porcupine Islands but became extremely rough during the other legs of the trip.
Natural Features: You name it: nesting eagles, seals, osprey, high cliff-faced islands, picturesque pocket beaches.
Stretch Your Legs: The three inner islands -- Bar, Sheep, and Bald -- are part of Acadia National Park. Please contact the park service regarding day use.
One Paddler's Story: Ray Wirth paddled into a 20 - 25 knot wind on the return leg to Bald Porcupine. It was exciting but next time he will likely choose to do the trip in calmer conditions.

Porcupine Islands Paddle Trip

Porcupine Islands
Cadillac Mountain from the islands
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