Great Head Trail

MODERATE 145 reviews
#8 of 133 trails in

Great Head Trail is a 1.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Bar Harbor, Maine that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
1.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
278 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

beach

cave

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

scramble

Moderate loop trail along Sea Cliffs on the east side of Acadia NP's Sand Beach to Great Head. Great Head Trail is 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. 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. Take the granite steps to Sand Beach. Walk to the other side of the beach. Near the base of the rocky outcropping, look to your left for a great view of the Beehive (520 foot summit - another great hike). Close 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. Once 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. Continue on the loop back 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.

hiking
4 months ago

Love this trail! Not a very long hike but you get some really great views of sand beach and the beehive across the way.

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful views of the waves crashing against the cliffs as well as the sandy beach.

6 months ago

Good short trail with spectacular views. I didn't run across a lot of other hikers. Pay attention to the blue trail markers. It's easy to get turned around at the top.

6 months ago

Easy, short trail to get some good scenery in if only have a short amount of time.

6 months ago

Nice trail with great views.

6 months ago

Was a great hike with amazing views!!!

6 months ago

This is a really unique, beautiful trail! Short in distance, but definitely quite a few scrambles to keep things interesting! Look for loons and other seabirds diving for fish.

6 months ago

Awesome trail easy but you can make it a little more challenging by adventuring true the rocks .

6 months ago

Beautiful hike and a perfect warm-up for Beehive and Precipice. Saw a bald eagle fly overhead. Stunning.

7 months ago

GREAT hike...enough jagged rock to make it interesting....not to crowded...we are glad we picked it to hike

hiking
7 months ago

I haven't tried this trail with my own kids, but I hiked it quite often as a child myself. Beautiful views, a few cliff-edge picnic spots, but really crowded.

hiking
7 months ago

Great hike. Wonderful views.

8 months ago

Forest trails, rock scrambles, ocean views. What's not to like?

hiking
8 months ago

Good day trip with the kids. Beautiful views and a nice easy trail. It wasn't too crowded. Stretched it a bit because we wanted to do more.

hiking
8 months ago

Great hike with great views! Very easy hike

8 months ago

8 months ago

Amazing trail! Stunning views

hiking
8 months ago

Great hike to do with the family, with great views!

8 months ago

Absolutely unbelievable views of the Atlantic and of Sandy Beach. I saw an eagle fly overhead and climbed around pools of sea life during low tide. Love this!

hiking
9 months ago

The view at the top of Great Head is incredible. Our kids loved climbing all over the huge granite boulders along the coast. Go early to avoid the crowds at Sand Beach.

9 months ago

Did this trail with kids and they loved it!

9 months ago

beautiful hike! just challenging enough to keep it fun but not particularly difficult. dog enjoyed it too.

hiking
9 months ago

One of our favorite hikes in Acadia. Not overly complicated and the trail has some great spots to hop off and view the beautiful Maine coastline.

hiking
9 months ago

Very fun, but a little more difficult than "moderate" in my opinion. Very rocky, comes with amazing views.

hiking
9 months ago

Amazing view of Sand Beach and the ocean with a couple of challenging wrung-rocks but overall minimal rigor. Trailhead on Sand Beach is partially hidden so traffic is light.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

We did this hike in late October at sunrise and saw no one else on the trail. There was one other person on Sand Beach at the start of it, but overall it was very peaceful.

There are two ways to a access this trail. One is by a parking lot at the trailhead. The other is as shown in this app crossing the beach at the start, which is the one we did. To get to this trailhead, park at the beach parking lot, cross the beach itself and look to the tree line towards the east. Be careful not to go at high tide or you will get your feet wet at the trailhead.

This trail involves somewhat challenging bouldering and is complete with a section that has an iron rung to hoist yourself up. Wear sturdy shoes. We brought hiking poles and were very thankful that we did.

The trail rounds the peninsula, but great head will be labeled with a post, so you can't miss it. Some people said it wasn't well labeled, but if you focus on the blue markers you'll be fine. The blue markers show you the whole way.

There are many beautiful vistas at the top, making this well worth the effort. Sunrise was doubly beautiful.

hiking
Sunday, September 25, 2016

Great views! Low traveled. Not terrifically marked but just follow the water and you will make out great. Could be dangerous for kids as there are large drops.

hiking
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

This was a great trail. Pretty moderate trail but you can explore off to the water and find some cool areas. We climbed on the rocks out there which was a lot of fun.

hiking
Monday, September 12, 2016

Quick trail! I liked that it was near the ocean so every so often you would get a glimpse of the ocean and the sounds of the waves. Beautiful views. The trail had a lot of rocky areas so be sure to follow the blue lines to find the path of the trail and use shoes with good traction, so you're not sliding down rocks.

hiking
Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Absolutely beautiful. Lots of bang for your buck - every step up and around the granite rocks gives you a stunning new view. Looking down at the beach is incredible, and so is walking around the cliffs and seeing more and more of the ocean.
Lots of climbing up and down large granite boulders. Definitely not a smooth clear cut trail, but it's short and definitely doable for someone who only gets to hike a few times a year.
I did not see a sign pointing to the steps on the beach at the beginning of the trail, but if you just cross the beach from the parking lot side, you will see them. A+++

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