Hike the Great Head Trail in Acadia NP

Great Head Trail, Bar Harbor, Maine, United States

  • Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Loop

  • RT Distance:

    1.5 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    275 Feet

Beach
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Forest
Scenic

The Great Head Trail is a perfect early morning or late afternoon hike with beautiful views of Sand Beach and the Beehive. 

To begin the Great Head Trail hike, you'll want to park at the parking lot for Sand Beach located on the Park Loop Road. From the parking lot, you will cross the beach entirely, which is a nice morning walk in itself, especially on the foggy days Acadia is famous for.

When you reach the end of the beach, the Beehive (small mountain beyond the tidal pools) will be to your left. There is a sign and some rock stairs that lead up the cliffs directly in front of you at the end of the beach. This is where the Great Head Trail begins. 

The beginning of this trail is the most difficult part as you climb the cliffside, but it will soon level out once you're on top of the headland and it becomes more of a walking trail.

Eventually you will come to the end of the point and see a sign to the right leading to the end of the Great Head. If you take this turn to the right, you'll come to some rocky shore/cliffs that you can walk out on to for a really unique view of Mt. Desert Island, Thunder Hole, Sand Beach and the Beehive. Be careful on the cliffs and watch out for waves (they can sneak in and crash quickly here).

As you continue on the trail heading back towards the mainland, you will walk through a beautiful section of birch trees and eventually come to a split in the path. Stay to the left following the markers to return to Sand Beach. If you go towards the right, you will end up on Schooner Head Road (probably not where you want to be) unless you don't want to return to the lot at Sand Beach. 

One of the best things about this trail is it's not very popular and even in the summer/busy months you may find yourself entirely alone the whole time while hiking. 

Pack List

  • Hiking shoes/boots
  • Camera
  • Rain jacket (never a bad idea in Acadia)
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Reviews

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Great trail without the crowds. When I hiked this trail in August, we had the cliffs to ourselves.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

This is a great hike right near the beehive and beach. It's short and not too strenuous but the payoff scenery wise is great. Definitely would do again

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Chris Mongeau Explorer

I am a 26 year old lifestyle and travel photographer from Providence, Rhode Island. I spend my time planning trips, scouring maps, and drinking lots of coffee. I love sharing travel tips and hearing stories from other folks, feel free to get in touch with any questions!

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