If you are looking for a gorgeous location in Maine to visit, you are probably thinking about Acadia National Park. Arguably the biggest tourist destination in the state, this iconic outdoor wonder has so much to do that you could spend a week exploring and still not see everything.
One portion of Acadia National Park that you cannot miss is Echo Lake. Get ready to take a deep dive into everything that this lake has to offer, and plan your visit to Acadia National Park.
Echo Lake is a popular spot for swimming, kayaking, and fishing, and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Visitors can also hike the trails around the lake and enjoy a picnic on the shores.
About Echo Lake at Acadia National Park
Situated on the western edge of Mount Desert Island, Echo Lake is just south of Somesville and just north of Southwest Harbor – west of Route 102 in Acadia National Park. (Not to be confused with Echo Lake, aka Crotched Pond, near Fayette, Mount Vernon, and Readfield.)
The land around the lake is home to numerous hiking paths and trails for everyone to explore, and one of the major highlights is the summit of Beech Mountain. The high cliffs along the lake’s western shoreline are the perfect location to see the entirety of the lake from above.
Of course, Echo Lake has numerous aquatic opportunities as well, but its history goes much deeper than the water itself.
A History of Echo Lake
While it is unclear exactly how Echo Lake in Acadia National Park was formed, most lakes are formed in valleys that have been dammed by ridges of glacial debris. The rivers and streams in Acadia National Park date back more than 9,000 years, and it is widely believed that Echo Lake dates back that far as well.
Researchers have studied not only Echo Lake but also the land around it, conducting numerous geological surveys over the years to better understand how the lake and other bodies of water have formed.
The numerous crags and fractures scattered throughout Acadia National Park, including Echo Lake, serve as a reminder of the history that has taken place in the park itself.
Unique Features of Echo Lake
There are several unique features that everyone should know about Echo Lake before they get there. These include:
- The lake is positioned in a wooded area located at the base of the Beech Mountain Cliffs.
- There is a convenient hiking trail located on the edge of Echo Lake that you can follow to the top of the Beech Mountain Cliffs. Along the way, you might see some signs with educational information about the plants and animals that live in the woods nearby.
- It has an average depth of approximately 66 feet, but the exact depth can vary significantly depending on where you are on the water.
- Even though the temperature of the water in Echo Lake can vary depending on the time of year, the average water temperature is approximately 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer month.
- The lake itself is home to a variety of fish, with the most common being Brook Trout.
What to Know Before Visiting Echo Lake
Before you visit Echo Lake at Acadia National Park, there are several important points to know. These include:
- You are allowed to use a boat on Echo Lake as long as it has less than 10 horsepower.
- You can get to the lake by taking the free Island Explorer shuttle bus, which offers drop-offs and pickups at Echo Lake.
- If you want to drive to the lake yourself, it is located on the western edge of Mount Desert Island, south of Somesville Maine near Route 102.
- No pets are allowed on the beach between mid-May and mid-September, but you can have pets on the beach at other times during the year.
- There are bathrooms and changing rooms on the beach.
- There are lifeguards on duty, but they are only there from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Even though the water temperature is approximately 70 degrees Fahrenheit on average, remember that it can vary depending on the time of year. While some people get in the water in their bathing suits, you might be more comfortable in a wetsuit.
Top Things to Do at Echo Lake in Acadia National Park
There are plenty of fun things you can do at Echo Lake, but you need to keep the rules and regulations of the lake in mind. Here are a few of the top activities.
Before you get in the water, you may want to work up a sweat. One of the best ways to do so is to follow the hiking trail to the top of the Beech Mountain Cliffs. Make sure to bring your camera because you will definitely want to take a picture of the lake from the top.
After you have worked up a sweat, you might be brave enough to go for a swim. The water temperature can get up to the mid-70s during the summer, but it will still be a bit chilly! You may not want to go out too far because you could be a bit far from your towel.
There is a small, sandy beach and a roped-off swimming area at the southern end of Echo Lake. But be aware – there is not always a lifeguard on duty, so swim with caution.
Echo Lake Beach is a designated swimming beach from May 15 – September 15. Be sure to follow posted rules for safety of all visitors.
If you want to go fishing on Echo Lake, it is usually peaceful unless you are visiting on a weekend during the summer when it gets busy. Therefore, the lake is the perfect location to go fishing, and you may catch some trout or salmon.
More Activities Near Echo Lake & Acadia National Park
Even though Echo Lake has more than enough to keep you busy, there are plenty of fun things to do nearby as well. Explore some of these other top activities in the national park.
If you love hiking, you should head to the top of Cadillac Mountain. It is the tallest mountain on the North Atlantic Seaboard, and there will be some amazing views from the summit. Just remember to bring a sturdy pair of hiking shoes, plenty of water, and your camera.
If you haven’t had enough of the water after your visit to Echo Lake, you should head to Jordan Pond in Bar Harbor. There is a gorgeous nature trail at the lake where you can view some evergreen trees and gaze into the crystal-clear water.
Also, you may want to head to The Bubbles. If the sky is clear, you can see a reflection of the mountains in the water, which is a view you will not want to miss.
Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse
If you are looking for a gorgeous view of the surrounding area without having to fight the crowds at Cadillac Mountain, head out to the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse.
It was constructed during the 1800s and will provide an amazing view. You will not be able to go up the lighthouse, but the view around the lighthouse is unparalleled.
Restaurants Near Echo Lake
If you want to grab a bite near Echo Lake, your options are limited within Acadia National Park. However, there are plenty of great restaurants in Bar Harbor Maine. Some of the top options include:
- The Jordan Pond House is located at Jordan Pond and serves appetizers, popovers, and sandwiches.
- If you are in the mood for some lobster, consider visiting The Travelin’ Lobster in Bar Harbor.
- If you want a delicious beer with some surf and turf, consider checking out McKay’s Public House in Bar Harbor.
Lodging Near Echo Lake
If you want accommodations near Echo Lake, there are several lodging options in Bar Harbor Maine. Some of the top places to stay include:
- The Inn on Mount Desert is a historic inn that will remind you of old New England and is only 1 mile from Acadia.
- The Harborside Hotel, Spa & Marina is a luxurious hotel situated in the heart of Bar Harbor and has a gorgeous view of the water.
- Ullikana Inn is just a short walk from downtown Bar Harbor and has been modeled after a late 19th-century Tudor cottage.
FAQs About Echo Lake at Acadia National Park
Can you swim in Echo Lake?
Yes, you are allowed to swim in Echo Lake, but the water is cold, even during the summer. Typically, the water temperature only gets to the mid-70s, so it is chilly.
Are pets allowed at Echo Lake?
You are allowed to bring your pets to Echo Lake, but they are not allowed on the beach between mid-May and mid-September.
What is the easiest way to get to Echo Lake?
One of the easiest ways to get to Echo Lake is to take the free Island Explorer shuttle bus, which has a stop at Echo Lake itself.
Plan Your Visit to Echo Lake at Acadia National Park
Echo Lake has a lot to offer, so make sure that you don’t miss it during your next visit to Acadia National Park. Because this is a popular destination, you may want to make your hotel reservations pretty far in advance!