Discover some of the oldest National Scenic Byways in the country and one of the newest.
DownEast Acadia is the only region of Maine with five scenic byways. Each exemplifies the plethora of scenic, cultural, and recreational opportunities that greet visitors throughout the area.
Acadia All-American Road
A 40-mile route encompassing Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island, the Acadia All-American Road features beaches, foliage, islands, and ocean views.
Beginning at the Ellsworth/Trenton town line, where you’ll find specialty retailers, theme-park-style family activities, and classic lobster pounds, the road continues into Bar Harbor, a haven of historic landmarks, lodgings, eateries, and excursions.
Travel along Acadia National Park’s 27-mile-long Park Loop Road. Be sure to stop at the many scenic overlooks and stops throughout the park. You’ll find hiking trails and walks along the way. When you return to Bar Harbor, relax in our green spaces with a scoop of homemade ice cream!
Schoodic National Scenic Byway
Weaving through gorgeous scenery—including reversing tidal falls, lighthouses, and historic architecture—the Schoodic National Scenic Byway is a 29-mile journey through the only mainland section of Acadia National Park.
Start your adventure at the Taunton Bay Gateway, marked by a granite monument. Overlooking Taunton Bay, you’ll first take in the view—seabirds swooping through the air, lobster boats, and sailboats in the distance.
The Byway takes you along a shoreline decorated by wildflowers, with Cadillac Mountain and Mount Desert Island views in the distance. Your trip traverses hillsides, blueberry barrens, seaside villages, and working harbors: Stop on the Wharf and talk with fishermen about their haul. Gordon’s Wharf was once a site for shipping large blocks of granite; today, you’ll find a small boat launch and interpretive information.
Have your camera ready for the Frenchman Bay Scenic Turnout, offering spectacular views across the bay. Pack a picnic for a stop at Long Cove: Watch the tide ebb to reveal mudflats rich with clams and marine worms. Then prepare for the drama of Schoodic Point’s powerful waves, but keep your distance; the rocks are slippery, and the rip can be intense.
Black Woods Scenic Byway
A few miles from busy U.S. Route 1, Black Woods Scenic Byway offers a lovely 12.5-mile route on Route 182, starting in Franklin and extending easterly to Cherryfield, encompassing trailheads and boat launches to our mountains and lakes. Highlights include bicycling, boating, canoeing, kayaking, foliage-viewing, hiking trails, lakes, ponds, rivers, mountains, the Atlantic Ocean, and wildlife.
The two anchor towns, both beautiful communities, have populations of fewer than 2,000 each. The towns go back to the 18th century. Franklin’s namesake was Benjamin Franklin, and the leading products in the early years were ship masts, railroad ties, and granite. Today, blueberries and Christmas trees are big. The town is dotted with historical sites, like its cemetery and grange hall.
Cherryfield, calling itself the wild blueberry capital of the world for its proximity to the region’s vast blueberry industry, was named for the wild cherries that once peppered the riverbanks. Its historic district comprises a collection of period structures dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries.
The route itself is a quiet, winding journey through wooded hillsides and open vistas. A special place to stop, midway on the drive, is the Donnell Pond Public Reserve Land; 4,000 acres of forested land with crystal-clear lakes, secluded ponds, and mountains with panoramic views. Visitors can enjoy boating, camping, canoeing, cross-country skiing, hiking, hunting, snowshoeing, and wildlife-watching.
Bold Coast National Scenic Byway
This route along the DownEast Coast was designated as a National Scenic Byway in February 2021, becoming the Bold Coast National Scenic Byway. From the coastal fishing community of Milbridge to Eastport and all points between, the Byway links visitors with the people, places, and culture of an authentic Down East Maine. Soak in the history and wild beauty of the region and attend local events and celebrations.
The stunning Bold Coast features waves crashing on the rugged granite shore, weathered lobster piers, fishing boats plying the sea, and clam diggers working the mudflats at low tide. The nation’s first sunrise lights up the red and white candy-striped lighthouse at West Quoddy Head. Blueberry barrens stretch over vast rippling landscapes in ever-changing hues, from the deep purple berries in August to flaming red foliage in autumn.
Million Dollar View Scenic Byway
Aptly called the “Million Dollar View,” this stretch of U. S. Route 1 in the northeasternmost section of DownEast Acadia offers travelers unsurpassed views of the Chiputneticook chain of lakes. Travel through rolling hayfields with direct views of Mount Katahdin, Peekaboo Mountain, and beyond into New Brunswick, Canada. Travelers may spot local wildlife, and scenic turnouts provide front-row seating for the vast and impressive views to the east and west.
Danforth, a former lumber town in the Baskahegan River Valley, marks the Byway’s southerly limit and provides many small-town amenities. Weston is the location of a historic portage used by Native cultures and early settlers connecting Baskahegan Stream to Butterfield Landing on East Grand Lake. Weston also has many impressive historic buildings, such as the Weston Community Church, which was moved across the ice of East Grand Lake from Canada, and modern accommodations of the First Settler’s Lodge.
The Byway reaches its high point near the top of Peekaboo Mountain, and travelers may continue north to explore Aroostook County or enter New Brunswick, Canada, through Orient’s border crossing.
To help you plan your trip we provide information on drive time and distances to and around the region. Plus info on other commercial transportation options.
Once you arrive in DownEast Acadia, you will want to access local sources of visitor information, state laws, recreation rules, and road conditions.
To help you pack or plan your day, check out the current weather in the region or learn about year-round averages of temperature and precipitation.