Take the mail boat to Isle Au Haut, where 18 miles of trails criss-cross the southern half of the island, a part of Acadia National Park.
- Take the ferry from Stonington five miles South to remote Isle Au Haute
- Hike 18 miles of Acadia trails through the forest and along rugged coast on the Southern half of the island
- Get a special use permit to spend the night in a lean-to at Duck Harbor Campground
Five miles South of Stonington, 2,700 acres of this small island are a part of Acadia National Park. While trips there take advance planning –the island is only reachable by ferry and camping permits are required months in advance – the trek is well worth it. The remote island is perfect for day hikes; there are few other hikers, most of the trails are under three miles, and longer loops are easy to navigate. Just remember to bring your own food and water – the tiny island grocery store is a five-mile hike from Duck Harbor and has limited hours.
Removed from the rest of Acadia, Isle Au Haut is off the coast of Deer Isle, just five miles South of Stonington, ME. Catch the mail boat/passenger ferry from the Stonington town dock and from mid-June to early September you can get off right at Duck Harbor to start your hike. The rest of the year, the ferry runs only to the town landing, about a five-mile hike to the Duck Harbor Campground. Check out current ferry schedules and fares at http://www.isleauhaut.com/.
While hiking is permitted year round, camping is limited to May 15 - October 15. In summertime, the mail boat makes a stop at Duck Harbor Landing, but come fall stops only at the town landing.
Pack a picnic lunch and take a day trip or use the lean-to shelters at Duck Harbor Campground as your base camp for hiking the 18 miles of trails within Isle Au Haut’s Acadia boundaries. You’ll see rocky coastline and pine forest, and can climb to the top of 314-foot Duck Harbor Mountain.
You’ll need a special use permit and reservation to camp at one of Duck Harbor Campground’s five designated sites, open May 15 to October 15. Permits cost $25 and requests must be submitted after April 1 (download the request form at http://www.nps.gov/acad/planyourvisit/duckharbor.htm).