Ship Harbor Trail

EASY 10 reviews
#18 of 122 trails in

Ship Harbor Trail is a 1.4 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Southwest Harbor, ME that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

1.4 miles 60 feet Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly



nature trips

trail running






wild flowers



Acadia National Park P.O. Box 177 Bar Harbor, ME 04609-0177 Phone: 207-288-3338 Shipping Address Acadia National Park 20 McFarland Hill Drive Bar Harbor ME 04609-0177 More information:

3 months ago

4 months ago

A relatively easy and short trail in Acadia NP that has a very nice variety of scenery (woodlands, cove and rocky coast).

5 months ago

Another great short hike for families with kids.

1 year ago

This hike can be best appreciated in early or late day. Great color in the rocks.

1 year ago

2 years ago

Bass Harbor Lighthouse trail is an old abandoned phantom or ghost trail that once connected Ship Harbor to the Lighthouse.
The Bass Harbor Lighthouse Trail is well known to locals in the area, but it is an abandoned and unmarked trail. Old maps show it at one time running from the Bass Harbor Lighthouse along the oceans edge to the mouth of Ship Harbor, before turning inward and running through woods and crossing two brooks before coming out near where the Ship Harbor Nature trail is today. There are several places along the trail where it passes near the top of high cliffs with ocean view.
You first must drive to the Bass Harbor Lighthouse. As your leaving Southwest Harbor and heading toward Tremont, you will be on route 102. As you round a corner, look for a sign for 102A and Manset and Seawall, turn onto 102A. The road will pass by Manset, through Seawall, past the Seawall Campground and Seawall Picnic area, past Wonderland hiking trail, past Ship Harbor Nature trail, and finally you will come to the Bass Harbor Campground.
as you pass the campground entrance, there is a very sharp curve in the roadway, turn off the main road at that curve and onto the Lighthouse Road. If you want to get here on the free Island Explorer Buses, get onto the Southwest Harbor bus at the Bar Harbor village green and let the bus driver know you want to get off at the Bass Harbor Campground. From there walk to the curve where the Bass Harbor Lighthouse road begins.
Follow the Lighthouse road to the parking lot, its about a 15 minute walk.
At the parking lot thereare restrooms to the far left of the parking lot. A trail is there that leads past the bathrooms, and rounds a corner. Just ahead is a set of long narrow wooden stairs that leads down by the ocean below the lighthouse. About a car length before the wooden steps, on the left, just inside the tree's is a worn path which is the Bass Harbor lighthouse path. For the most part the path is very easy to follow since for long stretches the ocean is always within view and much of the path is well worn. as the trail begins there will be several places where you can leave the trail and step out onto the granite overlooking the ocean. Not ar along the path passes close to some drop offs before turning inward and going uphill. At the top of the hill the trail quickly turns back down again as it makes it was toward the ocean. This is the only steep section of the trail, use tree's to help make your way down.
the trail continues to follow the edge of the ocean until it reaches a spot that turns inward and passes through a section of woods before coming out by the ocean again. At some point along here you pass by some more cliffs, and than come to several fallen tree's that you have to get over or around. You than pass along a long cliff over looking a beach below - locals call this Whistler's Beach. Follow the cliff until it comes down to the level of the seashore, here you can turn right onto the rocks and access the beach.
The trail continues to follow the ocean, at times wandering away from the ocean only to return to it again. At one place the trail passes a section where large pieces of driftwood often wash up onto the rocks. The trail finally ends by the mouth of Ship Harbor. On summer days you can look across at people on the other side looking at you and wondering how you got to where your at.
Now many years ago the path turned here and went into the woods, and crossed a brook, and than pretty much followed the edge of Ship Harbor all the way to Ship Harbor parking lot. If you go to Ship Harbor parking lot and walk down the road just a very short way in the direction of Tremont and Bass Harbor, you will see a Brook that runs under the roadway. The old trail on this end began around the edge of that brook, and came out by the waters of ship Harbor where it entered just in the tree line and followed the outline of Ship Harbor to a point where it entered the woods. Locals hike this entire trail but if your not from the area, the trail on the Ship Harbor end is very hard to follow out to the oceans edge. Your easiest route is by beginning by the Bass Harbor Lighthouse end.
This is a moderate hike.

3 years ago

3 years ago

A great family hike! Great shoreline exploration for the kids, and a variety of scenery. There did not seem to be much of a trail overview at the trail head, so we got a little confused when the trail crossed over itself (figure 8 trail).

3 years ago

Nice hike as you reach the cove area. I like doing this along with the Wonderland Trail.

3 years ago

A beautiful, short trail that can be easily connected to the Wonderland Trail by walking on the beach between the two.