"High Island" is the English translation for Isle au Haut, the name given by the great French navigator Samuel Chaplain during his explorations of the Maine coast in 1604. Although shell heaps along the island's shores tell of an American Indian presence long before Chaplain's arrival, it wasn't until the end of the American Revolution that farmers, fishermen, and boat builders came to the island in large numbers. In the 1880s a small summer community, attracted by agreeable weather and idyllic scenery, was established. In 1943, heirs of the founder of that community donated portions of Isle au Haut to the federal government as part of Acadia National Park. Because of their generosity, much of the island's beauty and solitude is now yours to experience and enjoy. Although about one-half of Isle au Haut is federal park land, the other half is privately owned, with summer residents and a year-round fishing community. Please respect private property rights.
Eighteen miles of trails offer opportunities to explore rocky shoreline, wooded uplands, marshes, bogs, and a mile-long freshwater lake. Be prepared for rough and sometimes wet trails. Bring adequate footgear, warm clothing, and raingear. Duck Harbor provides the best starting point for hiking. During the summer, a park ranger may board the ferry at the town landing to answer questions about Isle au Haut. Upon arrival to Duck Harbor, you may elect to hike with the ranger or explore on your own.
Bicycles are prohibited on hiking trails. There are only five miles of paved roads and seven miles of rough, unpaved roads. The ferry charges an additional fee to transport bicycles and will only drop them off and pick them up at the town landing.
A small store and post office with limited hours are located near the town landing. There are no private campgrounds.
Five sites are available at Duck Harbor from mid-May to mid-October by advance reservation. You must have a reservation to camp. Camping is permitted in designated sites only. Party size is limited to six persons per site.
Obtain a Reservation Request Form by phoning the park at 207-288-3338 (voice/TTY). Reservation requests must be postmarked April 1 or later. Requests before April 1 will be returned without action. Telephone requests are not accepted.
A Special Use Permit fee must accompany each Reservation Request Form regardless of how many nights you wish to camp. There is no additional camping fee. - Postal money order, certified check, or personal check payable to the National Park Service is accepted. Do not send Canadian currency.
If your reservation request is accommodated, your fee becomes non-refundable, and you will receive a reservation confirmation. If the park is unable to honor your request, your fee will be returned. When you travel to Isle au Haut, bring your Special Use Permit.
Isle au Haut is linked to the mainland by a ferry from Stonington. No auto ferry exists. The ferry runs year-round to the town landing. Mid-June through early September (except Sundays), it also goes to Duck Harbor, which is located in the heart of the park. The mailboat operates on a first come, first-served basis. The number of visitors allowed in the Isle au Haut section of Acadia is limited, and day trippers may, on rare occasion, be denied access to the park.