I Hiked to the “Only Fjord in the Eastern United States.” Here’s What I Learned…

Cam Billings
3 min readOct 14, 2022
Photo by author

Last weekend on October 9th, 2022, I had the pleasure of hiking up Acadia Mountain, which has a peak of 681 feet. Acadia Mountain isn’t just a plain-old, typical mountain you can find anywhere else. This short mountain is part of a fascinating and unique geological formation.

Located in Acadia National Park in Maine, Somes Sound is known as the “only fjord in the United States.” It’s a 5-mile-long inlet that splints Mount Desert Island into eastern and western halves. Mount Desert Island is home to the majority of Acadia National Park.

This isn’t true.

But we’ll get to that in a moment. First, let’s talk about what a fjord is…

What is a fjord?

Fjords are long, narrow inlets between steep cliffs or mountains that were created by a glacier.

Fjords are typically found in:

-Norway

-Iceland

-Ireland

-Scotland

-Sweden

-Alaska

-Washington state

-Russia

-Canada

-New Zealand

Plot twist

Now, back to Somes Sound. It’s not “the only fjord in the eastern United States.”

There is another fjord in the eastern United States. The Hudson River in New York is home to a fjord between Peekskill and Newburgh.

Also, Somes Sound isn’t a fjord. Say what now?

If it’s not a fjord, then what is it?

Somes Sound is known as a fjard.

A fjard is “a smaller glacial embayment drowned by the sea.”(-13) Fjards are smaller, fjord-like ocean inlets formed by glacier activity.

Fjards have lower relief cliffs compared to fjords, meaning the surrounding mountains have lower peaks. Somes Sound has a large relief of 300 meters from the deepest area of the inlet to the summit of the tallest mountain surrounding it. But most fjords have reliefs of roughly 1000 meters or larger. And the water depth of Somes Sound…

Cam Billings

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