Acadia National Park - Great Head Trail

This trail system is currently PARTIALLY OPEN. See Trail Alerts tab for details.
This trail system is currently PARTIALLY OPEN. See Trail Alerts tab for details.
The Great Head Trail offers spectacular ocean views along a coastal headland with some wooded sections. This historic trail includes the ruins of an early 1900's tea house.
Trail Activity
1.7 miles, Loop
Bar Harbor
Dirt/Forest Floor, Rock/Ledge


The trail begins at the far end of Sand Beach with granite steps. A right at the top of the steps leads to an open ledge ascent that provide excellent views of Sand Beach and The Beehive. The trail continues along the headland with dramatic views of the coastline and ocean. The trail is rocky with uneven footing. Good foot wear is recommended. It is a gradual grade to reach the highest point at 145 feet above sea level. At this point the ruins of a 1915 tea house can be seen. The trail turns away from the shore and descends through the forest. A cedar post marks a junction in the trail. For a shorter loop (1.3 miles) , take the trail to the left. It climbs steeply before leveling out and leading back to Sand Beach. For a longer loop (1.9 miles) continue straight. The trail angles back toward the ocean with occasional views. At the next junction, turn left for a easy walk back to the top of the steps where the hike began. Descend the steps to Sand Beach.

Other Information

Near the top of the granite steps at the beginning of the trail, a large millstone (6'10" in diameter) can be found to the left.

In the early 1900's, the Satterlee family owned this area. They built a stone tower on the highest point that included a tea room and an observatory. The ruins of this tower still remain. The trail was part of the Bar Harbor Village Improvement system of the late 1800's.

Dogs must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet. Between May 15 and September 15, dogs are only permitted on Sand Beach long enough to cross to the trail head.

Geocaching is prohibited within Acadia National Park; however, the park does sponsor an EarthCache Program for those seeking a virtual treasure hunt!

Trail Manager

Visit Acadia National Park online for more information or contact:

National Park Service, Acadia National Park

National Park Service, Acadia National Park
PO Box 177
Bar Harbor, ME 04609
Phone: (207) 288-3338

Nearby Events


Trail Tips

Minimize Campfire Impacts
Keep campfires small and contained to established fire rings in permitted sites only.
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Trailhead Information

Starting from ME Route 3, turn off at the Hulls Cove Entrance to the park and the beginning of the Park Loop Road. Follow the Park Loop road 2.8 miles before turning left onto the one way section towards Sand Beach. Park in the Sand Beach parking lot. During the busy summer months, leave your car at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center and take the Island Explorer Bus to Sand Beach. The trail head is located at the far end of Sand Beach. Depending on the tide and the season there could be a small stream to cross at the end of the beach. The Park Loop Road is closed December 1 to April 15. See the park website for winter access information.

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Trail Alerts

COVID-19 Closures in Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is under limited operations due to COVID-19. Some facilities may not be available and staffing may be limited. Visitors should adjust their expectations accordingly and should practice social distancing, personal hygiene, and other behaviors to avoid infection in public areas. Visitors should not rely upon site staff to ensure their protection from contagious disease.

Please note the following restrictions in place:

  • The Park Loop Road and most hiking trails are open
  • Carriage roads are open but beware of hazards as repairs continue
  • Park rangers provide information services in an outdoor setting 8:30 am to 4:30 pm daily outside the Hulls Cove Visitor Center
  • Campgrounds are closed for the season
  • Bear Brook Picnic Area and Thompson Island Picnic Area are closed
  • Gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited
  • The Island Explorer bus service is indefinitely postponed for 2020

Visit Acadia's website for more specifics about which trails and facilities are open and which remain closed.


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