Skiing Cadillac Mountain

Posted March 13, 2014, at 6:21 a.m.
Last modified March 13, 2014, at 5:09 p.m.

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, Maine — If Maine’s ski areas had a contest for the most scenic run in the state, the commercial areas all would be battling for second place. With views of the Cranberry Islands to the south, Eagle Lake to the west and Frenchman’s Bay to the north, it would be hard to beat the views you get from Cadillac Mountain Road.

There are no lifts, obviously, to take you to the summit of 1,530-foot-high Cadillac. It’s a 4.5-mile hike or ski from the Park Loop Road gate at Route 233 to the summit. From the top it is a fairly easy ski all the way back to the car. I used metal-edged cross-country skis for a half-dozen trips up and down the road earlier this month.

In the winter the road is closed to cars but open to snowmobiles -– and that’s a good thing. The occasional sled traffic packs down the snow, keeping the asphalt covered in all but the most windblown areas near the summit. A week ago more than 95 percent of the road was still covered with packed snow although the parking lot at the top was almost all crusty ice.

If the road were an official ski run it would be rated with a green circle for its gentle grade. I did, however, manage to hit 17 mph on one stretch, according to the GPS app on my phone. But that was only because I was in a hurry to get down to one of those scenic pull-offs. The light was getting nice and I wanted to make a picture of that classic view overlooking Bar Harbor and the Porcupine Islands.