Sand Beach and Great Head Trail

Bar Harbor, Maine 4609

Sand Beach and Great Head Trail

Sand Beach and Great Head Trail Professional Review and Guide

"Enjoy Acadia’s only ocean beach, made of sand, tiny shell fragments, quartz, and pink feldspar. Then take a hike along the Great Head Trail for its expansive views of the Beehive, Champlain Mountain, Otter Cliff, Egg Rock, and the Cranberry Isles. Also visible just of the tip of Great Head peninsula is an unusual rock formation called Old Soaker.

A hike on the Great Head peninsula is a perfect way to break up a lazy summer afternoon lounging on Sand Beach. Because it is so quintessentially Acadia, it’s also a perfect place to bring first-time visitors, as we have with our nieces Sharon, Michelle, and Stacey."

Sand Beach and Great Head Trail Reviews

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This is a fairly easy hike suitable even for those that don't hike often. Some rock scrambling is required and proper footwear would help. There are lots of users, so don't expect solitude. Those in better condition can continue on to connecting trails for a longer hike. The views of Sand Beach and Frenchman's Bay are wonderful. Most of your time will be spent taking in the views and snapping pictures. It's a great way to spend a morning or an afternoon at Acadia.
This hike was started in mid morning with overcast skies looming overhead threatening rain. The fog hovering through the vallies and eclipsing Cadillac mountain made the views that much more enchanting. Just past Thunder Hole the trailhead begins its 513 feet elevation accent through a path of fallen leaves and small rocks on a carpet of moss and bark. The path slopes up ever so slight as the carpet of bark turns into the granite rock of the mountain side. One must be careful because the rock can become very slippery once your shoes become wet and the granular sand becomes intermingled on the bottoms of your shoes, making them very slippery. The trail at times can be difficult to see and decipher, and the majestic beauty of the mountain and the serene atmosphere can drastically distract one off the correct path. To keep one on the right track there are baby blue rectangle markers pointing out the path, not to mention the cairns along the way to keep you going in the right direction. About .4 miles up, the Cadillac Cliffs make their appearance with their beautiful rock formations decorated with ferns and deciduous trees. Toward the top of the mountain, the view takes your breath away. The waves crashing into Thunder Hole are inaudible, but the sight is just as impressive. Sand beach is easily seen as is so much more of Desert Island. On this particular day, the clouds enclosed Cadillac Mountain, keeping it dormant. But on a clear day, I can imagine how proud it must stand against the horizon, rising some 1500 feet into the sky. A stack of rocks mark the top of Goram mountain with a sign stating the name of the mountain and the elevation. From here, one can call it a hike and start down or keep going on toward The Bowl, about another mile hike out. Being as the rain came through on its threat, we started down, feeling content with the beauty of nature we were able to witness on this soggy June day.

Sand Beach and Great Head Trail Photos

Trail Information

Bar Harbor
Nearby City
Trail Type
Skill Level
1 to 1.5 hours
Spring through fall
80 feet
Trailhead Elevation
500 feet
Top Elevation
Acadia National Park
Local Contacts
USGS Acadia National Park and Vicinity Map
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018