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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
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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.

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Reviews (406)
Photos (694)
Recordings (307)
Completed (1271)
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Joelle Gryniewicz
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Hiking

Amazing trail, some bouldering so avoid if you don’t like climbing rocks - views are unbelievable

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Troy Lee
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 23, 2020
Hiking

Nice short rigorous hike with tremendous payoff with beautiful views.

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Mike Rivela
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 20, 2020
Hiking

It’s worth the hike. Beautiful

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Stephen Bartos
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Hiking
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Ashley Irons
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 19, 2020
Hiking

The trail was absolutely beautiful. There wasn’t a ton of people there when I went. I started at about 7:30 and finished around 9. There are some parts where there are small rock scrambles but they’re not too bad. I brought along my 15 pound chihuahua-terrier mix and he did great. There are blazes everywhere and in some spots where there are scrambles, blazes are spaced just a few feet from each other. I would absolutely recommend, even for beginners. Just take your time and you’ll be fine!

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Joao Jacinto
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 18, 2020
Hiking

Fun

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Randy Dellinger
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Hiking
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Caroline Butts
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Hiking

Great spot to watch the sunrise and avoid the crowds on Cadillac! Had the trail to ourselves pretty much the entire time.

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Andrei Strizek
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 15, 2020
Hiking

Real BJ

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Catherine Agopcan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 15, 2020
HikingRockyScramble

Great trail. Did it with a toddler carrier. A bit hard with the rock scramble but views and air are amazing.

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Marianne Modl
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Hiking
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Lisa Marie
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 12, 2020
Hiking

Amazing trail. Easy with a bit of an edge. Love the views at the top and there are also quiet spots at the top you can just relax and chill. So tranquil and incredible view

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Alicia Yanac
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 7, 2020
Hiking

great trail with some climbs up rocks. well marked and amazing views along the way

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Krystal Yankowski
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 7, 2020
Hiking

I would rate this hike as moderate as the rocks can be slippery and some areas are steep. Did this on a beautiful September day, not too many people are on this hike as most of the crowds do the oceans trail or are just hanging out on sand beach. Would definitely recommend this hike to those who don’t want to spend too much time hiking but want some beautiful views

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Meghan Palmer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 7, 2020
Hiking

Loved this trail! Short but has some parts that get your heart rate going. Views are incredible. Depending on which way you start there’s also a beautiful sand beach you can hang out on at the start or finish. We strayed off the path some and were able to get down the rocks to the water pretty easily and it was definitely worth the views from down there!

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Jean Belanger
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Hiking
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Ryan Fitzgerald
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HikingGreat!
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Cindy Syracuse
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Hiking

Beautiful despite the fog

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Rita Esposito
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Hiking
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Guilherme Ferraz
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Hiking
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Karla Roeber
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 29, 2020
HikingGreat!

I did a late afternoon hike after hanging on the beach. Fantastic views and nature. Some rocks to climb along the way but I did it in Teva sandals so while not easy, it was not too difficult. Highly recommend!

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Michael Green
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 22, 2020
HikingGreat!

Cool hike, great views!

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Jon Crevier
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 21, 2020
HikingGreat!

Fun-varied terrain overlooking Sand Beach and the ocean.

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Jordan Valentine
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Christian Rios
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Adam Nager
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Hiking
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Gina Schultheiss
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 15, 2020
Hiking
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Chris Moesel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 14, 2020
Hiking

Great hike, beautiful views, super quiet at 7am. Subtracting one star for those nasty black flies!

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Emily Beiermann
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 12, 2020
HikingGreat!Rocky

Relatively mellow rocky trail, easy to follow. Didn’t get many views because of fog. 8/12/20

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