You'll take a step back in time when you walk, hike, bike, snowshoe, or cross-country ski the carriage roads of Mount Desert Island. Or go by horse and carriage, the way John D. Rockefeller, Jr. intended when he built the 45 miles of crushed stone roads between 1913 and 1940. No matter how you experience the carriage roads, you'll enjoy the magnificent beauty that surrounds them.
Though sometimes called carriage trails, the word trail is truly a misnomer. The roads are 16 feet wide with generous crowns that keep them well drained. Considered the best example of broken stone roads in the United States, they are, indeed, an engineering wonder.
Local workers quarried granite right here on the island to build the intricate network of roads and 17 spectacular stone bridges. In fact, the stone cutters developed such skill that Rockefeller asked them to create a more rustic look. He also took care to preserve trees and to landscape with native plants—ferns, sheep laurel, and blueberry bushes—so the roads blend naturally with their surroundings.
The well-marked roads wander through Acadia National Park, covering long, shady stretches of woodland, skirting peaceful lakes and ponds, circling mountain elevations, and showcasing breathtaking views of the Atlantic and nearby islands.
More than 60 years ago Rockefeller donated 11,000 acres to Acadia National Park, complete with the road system he planned, funded, and constructed. Today both Mainers and visitors enjoy the quiet beauty of Acadia's beautiful carriage roads.