Winter Grooming on Acadia’s Carriage Roads

We love skiing on groomed carriage roads. We also want to be diligent stewards of this incredible park resource.

Cross-country skiing on Acadia’s carriage roads is a winter highlight for Mount Desert Island locals and park visitors, so when the snow starts falling, skiers get understandably eager.

When conditions are appropriate, grooming on the carriage roads is done by National Park Service volunteers from the Acadia Winter Trails Association.

But there are some requirements before grooming can begin:

Volunteers may groom the carriage roads if new snow exceeds six inches, and the roadbed is frozen (at least five days of freezing temperatures), and grooming must be done at times that are both convenient and safe.

This approach helps ensure the carriage roads remain in top-notch condition, since shallow snow depth and warmer weather/wet conditions soften the carriage roads and make them susceptible to damage. That said, when the temperature is too warm or the snow depth doesn’t reach six inches, skiers are still welcome to set their own tracks.

Acadia’s historic carriage roads were constructed with great forethought and care; using them with care helps protect them and prevents costly repairs, so visitors can fully enjoy the carriage roads for years to come.

A cross-country skier on a freshly groomed carriage road around Eagle Lake in Acadia National Park in 2021. (Photo by Ashley L. Conti/Friends of Acadia)

To stay up to date on winter grooming:
Check the Ski Acadia page on our website and our Facebook page for winter grooming updates.


Enjoying the Carriage Roads in Winter

The carriage roads welcome cross-country skiers, snowshoers, and walkers who come to enjoy the impressive winding paths through rich forest, over historic stone bridges, and along the edge of freshwater lakes and ponds.

To accommodate the multiple uses, the etiquette is simple:  

  • Be respectful of other users.
  • Avoid trampling groomed ski tracks.
  • Keep pets on a leash no longer than six feet (this last one is a federal law and applicable year-round in the park).

The efforts of the volunteer groomers last longer when walkers and snowshoers avoid “post holing,” which can destroy the quality of the tracks. This applies to accompanying dogs as well. The rules embody a “share the road” philosophy, just like that of our neighborhood streets, helping all to feel welcome to enjoy Acadia National Park.