Bar Island

Only possible at low tide!

It was raining gently when I woke on Wednesday morning in Bar Harbor, so I took my laptop to a cozy café for a couple of hours of catching up with my photo editing. Two cups of chai later I was heading back out with my camera, thinking today would be a good time to trek over to Bar Island – which is only accessible at low tide, by walking across the wide sandbar that connects it to the shore in the town of Bar Harbor. (This sandbar gives Bar Harbor, and the town, its name.) Somehow I thought I was being clever in picking this walk on this gloomy day, but several hundred other people had the same idea.

People stream across the sandbar to Bar Island from Bar Harbor, Acadia.
Warning sign beside the sandbar to Bar Island from Bar Harbor.

The “sandbar” was mostly gravel, consistent with Maine’s rocky shores. Children were scattered about, exploring the tiny tidepools and excitedly reporting everything they found. Families of all sorts were strolling toward the island, then up its gentle slopes to the “summit” a kilometer away. From there is a partial view back toward the town, and on the way down the trail passes through a beautiful meadow filled with milkweed plants.

At the end of the sandbar is a sign warning that “High tide will leave you stranded” – the sandbar is passable only 90 minutes either side of low tide.

A few more photos in the photo gallery.

Hike stats:
Distance: 4.8km (round trip from hotel)
Time: 1h15 (with plenty of stops)
Gain: 65m

Author: dfkotz

David Kotz is an outdoor enthusiast, traveller, husband, and father of three. He is also a Professor of Computer Science at Dartmouth College.

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