your paddlesports destination

Acadia National Park in Maine

Trip Overview

To Start: This trip was moderate to difficult due to tremendous head winds and gusts of 20knots

You launch at Hadley Point after finding parking and avoiding eager fisherman. Yes these fisherman have only one thing on their minds... money and moving out for the catch. Pay respect to them and just stay away. They are aware that this region is loaded with tourists and a few kayak schools as well.

Hadley Point has 2 ways in which to venture. North East into strong head winds at times, or NorthWest. My suggestion for ease is to bank right out of the Hadley Cove and proceed on the right about 30 feet from shore. WARNING:: There are some jagged rocks that exceed 20 feet from shore, and with a heavy wind you may be looking at some trouble if you are not prepared.

Proceed Northeast for approximately a mile. (There is a good reason for doing this and I will explain in a few.)

At this point there are some great views of the mainland, however you should stay focused on your purpose. Now, at the mile or so mark, you have headed into the wind. you now need to cross over the channel, which is around 1/2 mile to 1 full mile. You are going to cross at a Northern direction, but with the head wind you should notice you are heading more North West. This is the reason for heading around a mile up from Hadley Cove. The head wind can set you off your shore target by a mile. Although not a strenuoa paddle, it can be a real challenge if you are not preparred for waves of 2 or more feet.

You may be asking why you would want to go through all this... There is a reward at the end as I learned later that day, and will explain more in a few.

Your aiming point should be for a small island that just to the right from the center of the channel. Thomas Isle and the "Twinnies" are your focus. the Twinnies are two identical formations that stand guard and if you look carefully there are always seals basking or sun bathing. Get in a look before you actually get to the formations because the seals will scatter into the extremely cold 52 degree water. Once you get to Thomas Isle, which is the small island, you can set your boat cautiously and land on the rocks. These are very rough fixtures to the island and would suggest caution when exiting your boat. Enjoy lunch here and pay very close attention to the mouth of the channel. 9 out of 10 times I have been here there have been porpose and small whales blowing hot air from there lungs.

Leaving Thomas Isle, proceed to the North West and the shores to your right. There are NO smooth rock formations, and I would suggest that fiberglass boats not land here. the footing is unstable and with crashing waves, you can actually get cut, as I did, from a fall or slip.

There is plenty to see here to the trained eye. Wildlife galore, which can include Puffins, whales, seals and plenty of sea going birds.

Although the days we have been out in this region, we encountered heavy winds, there are times that the water and waves are slow to non-existant.

To get back to your point of origin, (which is around 5 nautical miles) you will want to venture due south so that Thomas Isle is to your left. It is easier to paddle then returning the exact way you came.

Once back in the cove you will notice that the wind and the rough of the waves has all but disappeared.

Final Note: If you don't feel like doing this trip yourself, there are 2 guide companies that supply the boats, and instruction for a 2-3 hour tour. NEVER do this venture alone. Always stay alert and use the proper equipment.


No Bathrooms here. No food venues. I suggest packing a lunch.


In New England 95N to Bangor Maine. Head East on Rte. 4 heading to Elsworth. Continue on 4 until you reach Mount Desert Island. At the first set of lights on the island, bear right. Pass (or stop into) Atlantic Brewery (which will be on your right. They have FREE tours everyday with sampling!)

Follow the signs for Indian Point. Pass the entrance to Indian Point park and you will see signs for Hadley Point Fishing Pier. Finding Parking may be tricky, however you can launch your boat(s) and use the side of the road as parking.


In a previous article, I suggested The Sea Kayakers Guide to Mount Desert Island, by: Jennifer Alisa Paigen Page 48 - 49 will describe more on this trip.
  • Duration: Day Trip
  • Skill Level: Advanced
  • Water Type: Open Water/Ocean
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip