Tips for Visiting the Preserve

The land and gardens of the Preserve are special retreats tucked away in a quiet corner of Mount Desert Island. Many of our guests find that the beauty of the properties is a welcome adjustment to a busy day or a special time to enjoy a moment of reflection. All of the landscapes have been thoughtfully preserved as places of beauty and natural appeal with the hope that our visitors will respect these ideals and take away a special memory and spirit from their visits.


Some things to know when planning your visit:

Parking at both gardens is limited. If you are coming in a group, please plan to car pool or use the Island Explorer bus in season. There is no parking for buses or RVs at either of the gardens.


Pets can not be accommodated at the gardens. Dogs on leashes may accompany you on the Asticou Terrace Trails only.


Tours of the gardens for small groups can be accommodated on a limited basis. If you are interested in scheduling a narrated visit to either of the gardens, please call the Preserve office well in advance. There is a suggested contribution of $5.00 per person for group tours and we recommend limiting the size of the group to 15 people.


Accessibility within each garden is by stone or grass walking paths. Thuya Garden has a handicap accessible entry off of the upper parking lot at the top of Thuya Drive. The Asticou Terrace Trail to Thuya Garden is a moderate climb that includes stairs and is not handicap accessible. Thuya Drive, off of Route 3/Peabody Drive, is a private one-lane road that may be used by our visitors who do not walk the Terrace Trail to the Garden. Buses and RVs are not allowed on Thuya Drive.


Ceremonies in the gardens are accommodated on a very limited basis through advance reservation only. Please contact us for more information.


Weather plays an important part in your enjoyment of the gardens! The Azalea Garden has no covered areas or indoor facilities. The Thuya property includes Thuya Lodge which can be a way station in inclement weather during the summer season, two outdoor covered garden pavilions, and a public restroom.


Hiking and walking at the gardens is limited to the designated paths, trails, and grass areas. Both properties connect to public paths and trails that also lead to the trails of Acadia National Park. We encourage you to consult your trail maps and island guide books to plan a hike that can be combined with your visit to the gardens. Historically, the Thuya property was only accessed by visitors who arrived on foot and explored Eliot Mountain and nearby trails to Jordan Pond and Harbor Brook. The Preserve landscapes are fragile ecosystems that can best be enjoyed AND preserved by staying on the maintained paths.


Photography by our visitors must be for their own personal use and enjoyment. Any use, reuse or reproduction by any means for commercial use is at the discretion of the Preserve and may only occur with the express written consent of the Preserve. All requests for use of images for commercial purposes will be considered on a case-by-case basis upon submission of an application to the Executive Director of the Preserve.


NO food, beverage, or picnics are permitted at either of the gardens.