Ship Harbor Trail, Acadia National Park


A nice, easy 1.2 mile trail for all the family. Located on the quieter side of Mount Desert Island and Acadia NP, this trail meanders briefly through some forest but soon opens up offering spectacular ocean views of Great Gott and Placentia Islands out in the Atlantic. It is a beautiful and relatively easy loop that provides opportunities to experience both ocean and forest views, and although you likely won’t have this walk all to yourself, it sure beats the crowded trails on the more popular eastern side of Mount Desert Island.

To get here, follow Route 102 to Southwest Harbor, and after admiring the view of a working New England harbor, take a left onto 102A toward Manset and Seawall. About a mile past the entrance to the Seawall campground and picnic area you will find a small parking lot on your left that is capable of holding maybe 8-10 cars. The trailhead is well marked, and it doesn’t take long to see why this little trail fast becomes a favorite for many people. Don’t forget the very picturesque neighboring Wonderland Trail, also on the left about half a mile before you reach the Ship Harbor Trail. On the day we hiked this trail, we had blue skies, warm temperatures and an amazing ocean breeze that combined for a very enjoyable late afternoon walk. This is what I would call classic Acadia, and if you are looking for a way to beat the heat – and the crowds in the summer – this little trail is just the ticket.


8 thoughts on “Ship Harbor Trail, Acadia National Park

  1. I wish I was there right now!! It is beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your journeys. They are my little mini vacation right here at my desk!! Enjoy a beautiful day.

    • David Patterson

      Carol… thanks. With the heat wave we are experiencing these days a little walk by the ocean sounds just about right!

  2. David, your wonderful photos and words capture this very special trail. Its figure-8 configuration always entertains me. I love the boulders at the shoreline. The proprietor of Sawyers Wine & Cheese recommends this as the best spot on the island for a picnic — I recommend picking up something from his shop for a feast! Regards from NYC — the subway was like an oven tonight!

    • David Patterson

      Lynn… thanks for the kind words. We lived in NYC for two summers so I cannot imagine what it was like underground during these past few days. It has been hot here too… we all struggle with the untypical high temperatures and even the slightest humidity! Will have to check out Sawyers… sounds tempting! Am off to hike the Cadillac South Ridge Trail tomorrow evening… should bring some relief from the heat.

  3. P.S. My “signature” photo was taken at the end of Ship Harbor Trail. On a related note, New Yorkers are going crazy over lobster rolls this summer, as a fiercely competitive group of entrepreneurs head to Maine to buy low, then race back to NYC flea markets and pop-up stands to sell high. I just wrote a blog about it:

    • David Patterson

      Isn’t this a great trail? We had a great time winding along the shore on the way out and then back through the forest. Ah, Maine lobster… great anywhere, but spectacular in Maine.

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