Great Head Trail (Short Option)

MODERATE 241 reviews
#8 of 176 trails in

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

hiking

nature trips

trail running

bird watching

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
rocky
scramble
10 hours ago

hiking
off trail
rocky
1 day ago

hiking
18 days ago

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!!

hiking
scramble
23 days ago

hiking
24 days ago

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

hiking
27 days ago

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

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

We did this with a toddler in our backpack and my father and his dog. It has an interesting scramble to start but if you follow the blue markers it was great! Once we were at the top this hike had so many stunning views of the ocean. If I only had a couple days to hike in Acadia this is one I would do!

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

I LOVE THIS HIKE!!!! we brought our whole family out for this trail and there some beautiful views. if you enjoy climbing on rocks and boulders, there are plenty to keep yourself busy. i climbed around for around an hour and a half on oceanside boulders and it was incredible! a ton of fun, i would highly recommend. if you want an adventure, i would also highly recommend climbing on the rocks!!

hiking
2 months ago

Loved this hike. A few bugs. Fairly wet in spots. Amazing views of the ocean and the mountains. Highly recommend.

hiking
2 months ago

We did the long loop and it was great! It took about 2 hrs with the kids 8 and 9...amazing ocean views

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

Great little trail!

hiking
3 months ago

Nice mid-day hike. Quick trail from the beach with great views of the ocean on a clear day. More trafficked due to easy access and views. Would rate on the easier side of moderate.

hiking
rocky
snow
4 months ago

On our last day in Acadia National Park we hiked this trail and glad we did! It was beautiful. The breath taking beach and the cliff walls were amazing to view! The winter kept the crowd level down and we were able to enjoy the park without the congestion. Photo ops here are plentiful and absolutely rewarding. The Otter Cliffs were lined with frozen waterfalls! I loved it!

hiking
snow
5 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

Really great walk, fantastic in the early morning! enter off the city road not the loop for an easy in and out

hiking
8 months ago

A great little hike that's definitely worth the effort. Especially the views back toward Beehive across the little bay can be absolutely stunning if the weather is right.

10 months 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
10 months 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.

10 months ago

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

10 months ago

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

10 months ago

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

11 months ago

Love the views

11 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
11 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.

Load More

Featured Trails