Great Head Trail (Short Option) 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
301 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.

1 month ago

I second the going counter clockwise. We started the trail on the stone steps at the far end of sand beach scrambling up the rocks. The views from the head are stunning! A great hike.

hiking
1 month ago

This was a fun trail with some great views. If you take the full loop there is also some diversity of trail - a few stretches with somewhat challenging rock scrambling and some downright wide, easy paths to relax a bit. I would recommend going counter-clockwise so that you are scrambling up the rocks instead of picking your way down. Then you get the easygoing portion at the end.

1 month ago

So fun. A lot of traversing over granite rocks and spectacular views!

1 month ago

Amazing views at every turn! A great, relatively easy hike. I’d definitely do it again.

1 month ago

Most excellent views. Not great for small kids. Nice break from crowds.

2 months ago

Love the views

2 months ago

One of my absolute favorite hikes in Acadia. Short and rather easy, the views of Sand Beach are breathtaking. If you go at low tide, you can scramble down the cliffs and observe the tide pools below. A peaceful hike surprisingly absent of others!

hiking
2 months ago

We actually veered more left and hiked a larger portion of the loop. The part of the trail that is not outlined red on the map here is very easy gravel area. The part that is marked red is moderate with some rock scrambling. There are some awesome views on this trail.

2 months ago

Pretty view..... kids loved it

2 months ago

Nice hike and a little climbing for great views.

3 months ago

Easy. Scenic

3 months ago

another great trail walk great views

Nice easy loop with good views from Great Head Summit. We did it after Beehive Trail so it was a great cool down after that amazing hike.

3 months ago

had to turn back as we approached sand beach overlook section on great head trail as it was too steep and rocky for my dog to navigate. we had started at schooner head parking lot and got about 3 quarters of way around loop clockwise

hiking
3 months ago

Definitely moderate with several rock climbs but doable and an enjoyable challenge. We had fun.

3 months ago

Easier going up than coming down

hiking
3 months ago

Walking on the beach was a fun part. The path was easier than it was rated. It rained for a large portion of the trail.

hiking
3 months ago

Such a beauty of a trail, the rose granite of Acadia is a must see and this has it forevah!!!

hiking
3 months ago

Outstanding hike along granite cliffs overlooking the ocean. A little tricky climbing over the rocks in a few places.

4 months ago

This is a really beautiful and manageable cliff side hike in Acadia. We did it our last morning in the park around 8AM — it was pretty foggy but lovely views down to the rocks anyway. Some scrambling and some stairs but otherwise a pretty easy hike. We brought our dog and she loved it. No dogs allowed on the Sand Beach so instead you can park on Schooner Head Road and access the trail from there.

hiking
4 months ago

Love this short hike- as it provides some of your best Acadia "wow moment" views of the entire Newport Cove and coast all the way to Otter Cliffs. Most guides tell you to park at Sand Beach lot (yeah, good luck with that ...), but there is another option: drive out of Bar Harbor on Schooner Head Road (basically to the end) where you find a small parking lot (usually not full) at another Great Head Trailhead. I find that clockwise is the better way to take this loop (go left when trail splits soon after the parking lot), and you then have the best views over Sand Beach and the coast toward the end of this hike. Great places to sit and picnic on the flat ledges overlooking the beach. This trail is always rated as easy - but the sections directly over sand beach are actually a bit difficult for many as you must climb and navigate some climbs over high rock faces. We often see many hikers coming from beach deciding to turn back when they first confront this tricky section.

4 months ago

We had a little trouble finding the trailhead, but just go left at the foot of the stairs entering the beach and follow the sandy beach all the way left until you reach the woods. Great little hike we finished in about an hour.

rock climbing
4 months ago

Not easy in parts, with significant rock scrambling, but the vistas are worth it. Each one is better than the last!

4 months ago

This was a fun trail. Some steep rocky sections we were not expecting. We have a big dog and some of the steep sections were a little challenging for him.

5 months ago

Easy, short trail with great ocean views! I like to go to sand beach and start and end the loop there.

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful easy hike. We did this MDW and it was hot so ending up at the beach was perfect! Great views.

5 months ago

we really enjoyed the hike, wonderful ocean views.

6 months ago

Short hike with amazing views. There’s several options to follow for a longer hike. Lots of fun stretches over rock with ocean views.

6 months ago

Great hike with some very nice views. Fun short hike for my 8, 11, 12 year olds as well as my wife and I. Take your camera for some very nice shots.

hiking
11 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.

Load More