Help keep our trails and parks open during COVID-19 by committing to social distancing. Some trails or park services may be closed this weekend so check with local authorities before heading out.
Learn more

Great Head Trail (Short Option) is a 1.6 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Bar Harbor, Maine that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 1.6 mi Elevation gain 301 ft Route type Loop

Dogs on leash

Kid friendly

Hiking

Nature trips

Bird watching

Running

Beach

Cave

Forest

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Scramble

Description
Waypoints (0)
Facilities
Contact
Getting There

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.

Park at the Sand Beach Parking Lot Park Loop Road Closed: December through May 16, 2013, Two short sections remain open year-round.

Mailing Address Acadia National Park P.O. Box 177 Bar Harbor, ME 04609-0177 Shipping Address Acadia National Park 20 McFarland Hill Drive Bar Harbor ME 04609-0177 Phone/E-mail 207-288-3338 Phone 207-288-8800 TTY 207-288-8813 Fax

Starting from the start of the Acadia NP Park road at the Hulls Cove entrance (northern most), drive past the Cadillac Mtn Entrance and over the bridge over Hwy 233, then take a sharp left along the one-way road and take that to Sand Beach Parking Lot. Park there and hike to the far end of the beach, take the trail up the rocky hill to the right and connect with the Great Head Trail to the point.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (342)
Photos (502)
Recordings (227)
Completed (1076)
Joseph Underkoffler
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 04 2020
Hiking

Beautiful views for half of the trip. Great, short little hike for the family. Views would rival Gotham Mountain if not for the fog.

View Joseph's Recording
Kirsten Costedio
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Apr 20 2020
Hiking

Easy hike with some of my favorite Maine views

Amy Coggin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Mar 15 2020
HikingRockyScramble
View Amy's Recording
Matthew Rambo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Nov 20 2019

Great name for a great trail.

Dave M
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Oct 19 2019
HikingRocky

This is a pretty easy trail aside from the rocky parts. There is a reroute from the Sand Beach parking lot that takes you out to the parking area on the Schoodic Road. Great views toward the ocean and then back toward Sand Beach and the Beehive.

View Dave's Recording
Mary Nonack
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Oct 16 2019
Hiking

Another great trail in Acadia! Accurate difficulty level with beautiful ocean views!

Kelly Gant
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Sep 23 2019
Hiking

For best display of crashing

View Kelly's Recording
Christina Battiston
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri Sep 20 2019
HikingRockyScramble

A scramble and uneven paths once to the circuit. Great views.

Ally Brion
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Sep 20 2019
Hiking

Beautiful views from this short trail, it follows the cliffs around so you get amazing shots of the ocean. A bit of traffic on this but worth it.

Elyse Desjardins
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarThu Sep 12 2019
HikingMuddy
View Elyse's Recording
Megan Hoffman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarThu Sep 12 2019
Hiking

The views over the cliffs were amazing. The trail was very hard to follow in the beginning until we noticed some blue markings (bread crumbs) to lead the way. This hike requires a lot of climbing and I suggest hiking down prior to sundown.

Melissa M.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue Sep 03 2019
Hiking

Nice trail but not enough by the ocean.

View Melissa's Recording
Adhish Patel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Sep 02 2019
HikingRocky
View Adhish's Recording
Harry Leonard
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Sep 02 2019
HikingRockyScramble
Angela Muench
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarThu Aug 29 2019
Hiking

Due to rain very muddy, but also not crowded at all. Saw seals and harbor porpoises!

View Angela's Recording
Tina Padilla
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue Aug 27 2019
HikingRockyScramble
View Tina's Recording
Destini Ann
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Aug 27 2019
HikingRocky

This trail is amazing. I would consider most of the trail easy except for the very beginning and also the very end. The beginning is misleading because you are climbing up rocks for quite a bit. Once you get to a higher vantage point you then make your way around the top where it is mostly a flatter walk. The views are absolutely amazing! I saw many families with young kids doing this hike without a problem. Definitely worth completing while in Acadia!

Eric Kemner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMon Aug 19 2019
HikingRockyScramble
View Eric's Recording
Michael Goldstein
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Aug 18 2019
HikingOff trailRocky
View Michael's Recording
Rob Woodson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Aug 01 2019
Hiking

My family’s favorite trail of Acadia! This trail is beautiful and provides on my opinion some of the best views in the whole park. We were told it is a less trafficked trail but apparently the secrets out. However, I still highly recommend it. Not too hard, I took my 9 and 13 yo kids and they killed it. MUST DO IN ACADIA!!

View Rob's Recording
Jordan Freeman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Jul 27 2019
HikingScramble
View Jordan's Recording
Erica C.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jul 26 2019
Hiking

My favorite! No moderate - it was Hard in some places!

Chad Staker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jul 23 2019
Hiking

Awesome trail. Lots of rocks. A little more challenging, but a lot of fun.

View Chad's Recording
Sean E
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 20 2019
HikingRocky
Showing results 1 - 24 of 342