Sunday, March 09, 2014

A Walk In The Park - Acadia's Hiking Guide by Tom St. Germain

$13.00 on Amazon
Have a vacation to Maine's Acadia National Park planned and want to go hiking while you are there? A very useful reference for your hike planning would be Tom St. Germain's A Walk in the Park, Acadia's Hiking Guide. In this small book, St. Germain provides a really good overview of the hiking opportunities in the park and has produced a reference guide that should well serve all but the most ardent explorers of Acadia National Park.

The book is an excellent reference guide and provides trail descriptions, maps and elevation profiles of each of the hikes. The book couldn't possibly describe all the trails in Acadia and remain the size that it is, so the main hikes in the region are chronicled, along with information on the other trails, especially with maps showing all of the trails in a certain area.

Book Basics 

There are five main sections to the book, which correspond to different areas of Mount Desert Island, home to Acadia National Park. The sections are:

The Bar Harbor Region
The Ocean Drive Region
The Jordan Pond Area
Western Mountain
Somes Sound and Seawall Hikes
The sections basically work from east to west across the island and cover the vast majority of the park where you will find trails.

Within each of those sections you'll find descriptions for the major trails in those areas. Each section averages about fifteen or so trail descriptions with a few having a couple more and the others having less. The most trails are described around the Bar Harbor area and the Jordan Pond area. Those with the least include the Ocean Drive region and the Somes Sound area.

In addition to the trail descriptions, the book includes a short introduction from the author talking about his experiences in Acadia along with an index to all the hikes and a glossary for all the trails. I thought the glossary was an interesting touch – something I hadn't seen in any other guidebook. Basically every trail in the book has an entry and there's a one sentence description of the trail following its name. Think of it as cliff notes for trails.

Trail Descriptions 

Of course the trail descriptions are really what make this book. I've found them to be very helpful, for both planning hikes and as a resource as you are hiking. That's because the trails of Acadia can be very dense – trail junctions are all over the place and there are multiple trails diverging from various places. Thus you need to have a good map and guide with you to make sure that you are staying on the hike that you wanted to complete in the first place.

With A Walk in the Park this is easy to do. The description does a good job at giving you an idea of what to expect on the trail. It'll describe the walk itself, what you are going to see on the hike and where to go when you come to various trail intersections. The maps are just as good, if not better. They show the topographic relief of the area along with the roadways, town areas, parking and the other trails in the area. There's also a locus map which shows you whereabouts on Mount Desert Island the trail is. My favorite reference though is the vertical profile on each trail description. This shows you how much elevation you are going to gain and lose while you are hiking and gives you a good idea of what to expect beyond the map and the description while you are hiking. In addition, a few of the descriptions include small black and white photographs of sights along the trail.


Every time I get to Acadia I make sure to take at least one hike since you really can't have a bad hiking experience in the park. All of the trails are just that amazing. However I like to plan ahead and Tom St. Germain's A Walk in the Park does a really good at making that easy. I can find, figure out what to expect on the hike and find its trailhead and parking via the included maps.

I really like the book and considering the number of trails in the Acadia region, St. Germain has done a good job at providing descriptions for the best of the bunch.

Final Thoughts 

I would recommend this book for anyone traveling to Acadia National Park who is looking to do some hiking. You'll most likely be completely bewildered without a guidebook and for an introductory guide to many of the Park's best hikes, definitely pick up a copy of Tom St. Germain's A Walk in the Park, Acadia's Hiking Guide, you won't be disappointed.

More information on Hiking in Acadia National Park at Adventures in the Outdoors.

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