Sheer Bliss

The cliffside trails of Quoddy Head State Park outshine the park’s distinctive landmark

Once you crest the final hill on the way to Quoddy Head State Park, it’s clear why the easternmost point of the continental United States is a destination. The red-and-white-striped lighthouse rises up from a bluff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, with Canada’s Grand Manan Island on the horizon. But the unusual-looking navigation aid isn’t the only reason to visit. The state park’s 541 acres, which the state purchased from several private property owners to create the park in 1964, feature more than six miles of trails along the edges of cliffs, through forests, and across a boardwalk over a bog.

The Coastal Trail is a four-mile round-trip with some challenging, rocky sections but no shortage of stunning views, including at Gulliver’s Hole, a narrow chasm in the volcanic rock; the nearby High Ledge, an aptly named 150-foot-tall sheer cliff; and Green Point. For a shorter hike, stick with the Inland Trail, a three-quarter-mile loop that also passes by Gulliver’s Hole and High Ledge, or tack on the Bog Trail, which has a raised boardwalk and educational signs about the unique flora, including carnivorous plants and dwarf trees. Near the first parking lot and on the other side of the lighthouse is the Coast Guard Trail, a fairly easy loop that is just under a mile and rewards hikers with cliff-top views of Lubec and Campobello Island to the north.

Similar vistas can be found at other area hikes—most notably at the spectacular but demanding trails at Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land—but treks at the state park are unique in their relative short distances and approachability for novice hikers. And once you’ve climbed along the cliffs and through the forests, that candy-striped lighthouse at the end of your hike looks so much sweeter.

Share The Inspiration