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Great Head Trail



Great Head Trail in Acadia Park

Quick Facts

Difficulty moderate
Trail Type loops
Distance 1.1 miles (1.8 km) mapped
Estimated Time 1 hr return
Surface Type crushed rock, rock
Elevation Change 148 feet (45 meters)
Total Ascent 446 feet (136 meters)
Features views, shoreline
Trail Markers blue paint
Scenery Rating must see
Maintenance Rating well maintained
Cell Reception strong
Dog Friendly on a leash
Fees park entrance


For directions to the park go to the Acadia National Park page.

There are two ways to access the Great Head Trail. The more popular access point is from Sand Beach. There is also a parking lot on the south end of Schooner Point Road. Sand Beach is probably the most popular place in the park. It may be difficult to find a parking spot at Sand Beach so it is recommended to use the bus system to access.

Access to the trail is at the far end of Sand Beach. To get to Sand Beach from Bar Harbor travel south on Main Street (Route 3) for 1.7 miles (2.7 km) and then turn right into the park entrance. This short access road will take you to the Park Loop Road. Turn right onto this one-way road. You will start to climb and have coastal views of the bay on your left. Continue past the small parking area on the right for the Precipice Trail. You will soon come to Sand Beach Entrance gate where you need to purchase a park pass if you haven't already. For more details on park fees go here.

Sand Beach and the start of the Great Head Trail in Acadia Park

Half a mile from the gatehouse is the access road to Sand Beach on the left. Park here and cross the beach to the treeline on the far side of the beach. Here you will find the trail climbing the hill. These trails take you up to the Great Head Trail. Turn right to go around the point. Turning left will take you through the woods to the Schooner Point Road Parking Lot.

To access the trail from the parking lot on Schooner Road you will need to turn left just before the gatehouse towards Schooner Head Lookoff. Since the Park Loop Road is only one way in this area you will need to buy a park pass at one of the other locations before getting here, or go through the gatehouse and drive all the way around the park loop road to get back to this point. After 200 meters on the Schooner Head Overlook Road turn right onto Schooner Head Road. Drive for 650 meters and you will come to a parking lot on the left. The Great Head Trail enters the woods in the far corner of the parking lot. This parking lot is less busy than Sand Beach but it is also much smaller.


The Great Head Trail goes around the edge of a point of land between Sand Beach and the Gulf of Maine. The section of the trail on the Sand Beach side provides amazing views of Sand Beach and the rounded mountain called the Beehive. If you look closely at the Beehive you will probably see teeny tiny people climbing back and forth up it's face.

The Beehive from the Great Head Trail at Acadia National Park

The section of the trail on the Gulf of Maine goes along the rocky shoreline. The trail slowly climbs up along the cliff tops until you get to the wooden post that marks the peak of Great Head. At this point the cliffs are so high above the surf that you can't see it crash against the rocks below.

At this point the trail leaves the shoreline and drops down a bit before climbing back up on a ridge that crosses the point. The trail back to Sand Beach (turning left) travels along this ridge. The trail also goes to the right and loops back out near the shoreline, before coming to a junction near the parking lot on the end of Schooner Point Road. Turn right at the junction and you will soon come to the parking lot. Turn left and you will return to where the trail starts near Sand Beach.

The rocky shoreline near Great Head at Acadia National Park

The trail near the Schooner Point Road Parking Lot is a wide crushed rock trail but gets progressively narrower as it nears the main loop trail that goes around the point.

Other Trails in the Park

  • Acadia Mountain Trail
  • Alder Trail
  • Amphitheatre Trail
  • Anvil Trail
  • Asticou and Jordan Pond Path
  • Bald Peak Trail
  • Bar Island Access Trail
  • Bass Harbour Head Lighthouse Access Trail
  • Beech Cliff Loop Trail
  • Beech Mountain Trail
  • Beehive Trail
  • Bernard Mountain Trail
  • Bowl Trail
  • Bubbles Trail
  • Bubbles Divide Trail
  • Buck Cove Mountain Trail
  • Cadillac Mountain Trail
  • Cadillac Summit Loop Trail
  • Cadillac West Face Trail
  • Canada Cliffs Trail
  • Canon Brook Trail
  • Carriage Roads
  • Champlain Mountain Trail
  • Cold Brook Trail
  • Compass Harbour Trail
  • Deer Brook Trail
  • Dorr Mountain Trail
  • East Trail
  • Eagles Cragg Trail
  • Eagle Lake Trail
  • Flying Mountain Trail
  • Giant Slide Trail
  • Gilley Trail
  • Gorge Path
  • Gorham Mountain Trail
  • Grandgent Trail
  • Great Meadow Loop
  • Great Notch Trail
  • Hadlock Brook Trail
  • Hadlock Ponds Trail
  • Hemlock Road Loop
  • Hunters Beach Trail
  • Jesup Path
  • Jordan Pond Carry Trail
  • Jordan Cliffs Trail
  • Jordan Pond Path
  • Kebo Brook Trail
  • Kebo Mountain Trail
  • Ledge Trail
  • Long Pond Trail
  • Lower Norumbega Trail
  • Man o'War Brook Trail
  • Mansell Mountain Trail
  • Maple Spring Trail
  • Norumbega Mountain Trail
  • Ocean Path
  • Orange and Black Trail
  • Otter Cove Trail
  • Parkman Mountain Trail
  • Pemetic Mountain Loop
  • Penobscot Mountain Trail
  • Perpendicular Trail
  • Precipice Trail
  • Quarry Trail
  • Razorback Trail
  • Saint Sauveur Mountain Trail
  • Sargent Mountain Trail
  • Schiff Path
  • Schoodic Head Trail
  • Schooner Head Point Trail
  • Ship Harbour Trail
  • Sluiceway Trail
  • Valley Trail
  • Valley Cove Trail
  • Valley Peak Trail
  • Western Mountain Connector Trail
  • West Ledge Trail
  • Wonderland Trail
    • Trail Last Hiked: October 8, 2016
    • Page last updated: March 30, 2020