Acadia’s Trails and Carriage Roads

are Built to Last

Friends of Acadia helps to protect Acadia’s trails and carriage roads in perpetuity.

Acadia National Park’s carriage road system, built by John D. Rockefeller Jr., has been called “the finest example of broken stone roads designed for horse-drawn vehicles still extant in America.”

Off-limits to motorized vehicles (except motorized wheelchairs and Class 1 e-bikes), the scenic roads and their 17 historic stone bridges are used by hikers, runners, bicyclists, cross-country skiers, and equestrians.

Similarly, the park’s historic trails are unequalled in their scope and workmanship. Today’s visitors can enjoy stone-stepped trails built by the Civilian Conservation Corps and other path makers, gentle coastal strolls along Acadia’s shores, or challenging scrambles up cliff faces with iron ladders and rungs.

A generation ago, with limited funds and staff, the carriage roads faced significant maintenance hurdles. The carriage roads were among the Friends of Acadia founders’ earliest priorities, and their restoration was the young organization’s first major achievement. This was followed in the early 2000s with the Acadia Trails Forever campaign, a public-private partnership to restore and permanently endow the maintenance of Acadia’s trails.

Acadia Trails Forever Partnership

In 2000, Friends of Acadia and Acadia National Park embarked upon the Acadia Trails Forever partnership to restore and maintain the park’s historic 158-mile hiking trail system. Acadia became the first national park in the country to have an endowed trail system. The Acadia Trails Forever campaign raised $9 million in private donations and $4 million from national park fees. The Acadia Trails Forever model has been adapted by other national parks and their partners working together to preserve trail systems.

Carriage Roads Endowments

The carriage roads were among the Friends of Acadia founders’ earliest priorities, and their restoration was the organization’s first major achievement. Between 1992 and 1995, an extensive rehabilitation of the carriage roads was financed by federal construction funds along with matching private funds from Friends of Acadia that created the Carriage Road Endowment. Today, Friends of Acadia grants more than $200,000 from this endowment to the park each year, to ensure that the carriage road system will be maintained.

Built to Last

The Carriage Road and Acadia Trails Forever endowments help Acadia National Park retain a skilled workforce to take care of the legacy of Acadia’s founders. This professional expertise, combined with the dedication of enthusiastic volunteers and sustainable funding for materials and labor, will ensure that the trails and carriage roads retain their value as outstanding recreational and cultural resources. Join us and help care for Acadia’s trails and carriage roads.