1.4 mile (2.2 km) Great Head Trail is rated as “moderate” and
loops around the perimeter of the small peninsula called Great Head
located on the east side of Sand Beach in Acadia National Park. (photos) This
is a great early morning hike, or afternoon for that matter, and one
that the whole family can experience (with caution of course).
Park in the lower Sand Beach parking area located on
the left of the Park Loop Road and
on the east side of Mount Desert Island. (This
trail may also be accessed from the Schooner Head Road out of Bar Harbor.) Granite steps lead down to the beautiful Sand Beach.
Straight ahead, you will see the cliffs which is your direction. Depending
on the tide, you may want to walk on the compressed sand next to the
shore for an easier walk. Note the fence to your left to protect the
grass on the sand dunes.
the base of the rocky outcropping, look to your left for a great view
of The Beehive reflected in a
tidal pool. It's 520 foot (158 m) summit is often visited by hikers.
Depending upon the time of day, you may have already noticed climbers
on its trails when you arrived earlier. If not, be sure to look up
when you return to your vehicle.
to this spot you will see a small sign leading to steps where
you will begin your ascent. This starts as a leisurely climb leading
to some beautiful pink granite cliffs.
Follow the blue lines to be sure to stay on the best route up as it
can be steep at times. Pause to look back at Sand
Beach, The Beehive, and other sights.
on top, the hike is fairly easy. A sign leads your way to the right
leading to Great Head where you will have wonderful views of the rocky
coast, Otter Cliff, and the churning
ocean below. There are ample spots for you to have a picnic, relax,
or sit and reflect on the power of this place.
you continue on the loop back, you will go through a beautiful
pathway through a section of white birch trees. Up ahead, there
will be a path split. Take the left up the granite, following the markers,
to return to Sand Beach. Watch for signs. There is one that you will
not see the front of until you look back at it as you pass. If you
continued straight, it would lead to the Schooner Head Road in Bar Harbor.
By now, the daylight has changed somewhat and some of
the sights will have changed. Have your camera ready because there
is much beauty here. Take your time and enjoy!
(Refer to the Acadia
Hiking Trails page for suggestions and rules while hiking in
Acadia National Park. Always wear the appropriate attire such as hiking shoes, let others know where you will be, and excercise caution!)
Please share this with friends & family!