A relatively short and easy hike, about one mile back and forth, Ship Harbor Nature trail in Mount Desert, Maine is a must. The trail used to be a deep water harbor and is now a very shallow inlet which runs along the waters edge and rocky shore. The trail rewards visitors with stunning vistas with so little effort needed. It winds through the woods through secret paths and brings you to the ocean, with expansive views of the islands across and ocean waves splashing against the pinkish granite cliffs. This beautiful little path to sea is a great easy trail for children to do or for a nice short walk with a dog in toe.
Let them climb and jump the larger boulders or put their toes in the water on warm summer days. Pack a basket and find a spot next to the ocean for what would be the most picturesque picnic with a view you’ve ever experienced. Watch the see otters splash in the water, the seagulls coming up and down looking for lunch and ducks swimming peacefully in the sometimes calm waters. Or just open a book and read for hours uninterrupted with just your book and stunning views beyond the pages. This beautiful trail is on the quiet part of Mount Desert Island and so off the beaten path that you’ll find it to be the best location to connect and recharge with nature. If you are lucky enough to be there at low tide, you may even get to explore a tide pool.
Ship Harbor Nature trail encompasses a lot of what is special about Acadia National Park and is the quintessential Maine displaying the coastline and the the rocky cliffs, the rocket seashore and green forest. We were lucky enough to visit in the fall with the leaves changing and were amazed by all the vibrant colors especially after the hard rain that had fallen in the morning.
The trail is shaped as a figure eight so that you can never get lost. There is enough parking as this hike is not that popular in comparison to the other hikes at Acadia National Park. Sometimes you can see little boats and ships looking for cover in the cove while the seas are stormy. We do not recommend visiting the trail at these times as the ocean is quite unpredictable. Aside from the perfect spot for families the trail is very popular between birdwatchers and wild flower lovers. This hike a certainly a hidden gem and would be one of the highlights of your trip. You can find it here: