Quoddy Head State Park What to See and Do

Quoddy Head State Park – What to See and Do

Laying claim to being the easternmost point in the United States, Quoddy Head State Park is an amazing place to visit.  Whether you are coming here just to be as far east as possible or for the great hiking and scenery while checking out the beautiful West Quoddy Head Light, you won’t be disappointed with your time here!

Quoddy Head State Park What to See and Do

While it takes a bit of time to get to (even if you are passing through on the way to Canada), it is definitely worth a stop.  You can see the lighthouse and the incredible views in just a few minutes, or you can spend the better part of a day here exploring the hiking trails, which pass through some of the most diverse scenery that we’ve seen on a hike in all of our travels.

While the park isn’t large, it’s good to do a bit of pre-planning to be sure you have time to see what you want to see.  We hope our guide on Quoddy Head State Park helps you out! 

QUODDY HEAD STATE PARK HISTORY

Located on the Bay of Fundy, maritime traffic would routinely have to navigate between mainland Maine and Grand Manan Island (owned by Canada).  But it was the dangerous straight between Lubec and Canada’s Campobello Island that was the main concern of Congress in the early 1800’s.  Known as Quoddy Narrows, this area was challenging to navigate safely but necessary in order to access the nearby bays. 

Quoddy Head State Park What to See and Do

In 1806, Congress authorized the construction of the light station.  It was completed in 1808.  It was upgraded to the current lighthouse in 1858, which included a lightkeeper house.  The lighthouse includes a Frensel Lens, one of only a few still in service in Maine.  This lens enabled the light to be seen from a much greater distance than traditional lenses.

The lighthouse was continuously staffed through 1988, when it was automated by the Coast Guard.

Quoddy Head State Park was established in 1962 and encompasses 541 acres of land along the Bay of Fundy and the Lubec Channel.  An access road allows visitors to easily park near the Est Quoddy Head Light, picnic areas and trailheads for hiking.

 

 

 

ACTIVITIES IN QUODDY HEAD STATE PARK

Quoddy Head State Park What to See and Do

Quoddy Head State Park map, courtesy of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry

While initially you may be thinking that visiting Quoddy Head State Park is all about heading to the lighthouse, there is quite a bit to do in the park that will keep you busy.  From learning about the history to hiking to picnicking, you’re likely to be busy for the better part of a day!

While visiting Quoddy Head State Park, our recommended activities include the following:

  • Visiting West Quoddy Head Light. The West Quoddy Head Light was originally built in 1808, then upgraded in 1858 to its current brick configuration.  It contains a Frensel Lens and is powered by electricity.  You cannot go up into the lighthouse, but just seeing it from the outside is quite impressive.  It sits at 49 feet tall.  If you come during the fog (which is quite common), you’ll hear a horn every 150 seconds that is quite loud.  The light (which flashes every 15 seconds) can be seen 18 miles out!  While here you can also visit the visitor’s center (at the former light keeper’s quarters) which is staffed by volunteers.  Here you can see some terrific exhibits and learn about the history further.

Quoddy Head State Park What to See and Do

Quoddy Head State Park What to See and Do

Quoddy Head State Park What to See and Do

  • Picnicking.  There are a few picnic spots to choose from.  If you park at the main parking lot (the northern lot, visible from the lighthouse), there are a few tables nearby the lighthouse.  There are also several more tables nearby the southern parking lot.  Finally, another option (and the option that we chose) was to eat while out hiking on one of the many viewpoints.  In all cases, the spots will provide you with great views!

THE BEST HIKES IN QUODDY HEAD STATE PARK

Admittedly, when we first started to look for what to do in Quoddy Head State Park, hiking was not on the list of things we expected to find.  However, once we looked into it, we found that there were some really good options to consider.  And after we got into a hike, we were honestly blown away.  So, if you go, be sure you make some time for walking along the trails, even if you only go part of the way! 

For hiking, our recommendations include:  

  • Our favorite hike in the park is the Inland Trail, Coastal Trail, Thompson Trail and Bog Trail Loop. If it sounds like we combined a few hikes into one, well, we did!  This is a moderate trail that is 4.2-miles (round-trip) and climbs about 330 feet over the entire distance.  It is moderate, but if you go within a few days after it has rained, then this trail becomes quite challenging and very slippery with the addition of the mud.  The hike starts by heading southwest from the lighthouse and heads along the coast for the first 2.0 miles.  Along the way you’ll have absolutely breathtaking views.  There are a couple of great stops, including Gulliver’s Hole (a narrow and deep chasm), a 150 bluff (called High Ledge) and access to the beach via the Green Point Trail.  At the 2-mile point, you’ll reach Carrying Point Cove and then head back inland on the Thompson Trail (see below).  Right before you meet up with the Inland Trail again, you’ll turn left and take the short Bog Trail.  The trail then heads back on the Inland Trail and terminates at the picnic area.  The trailhead for the Inland and Coastal Trail starts from the southwestern side of the grassy area near West Quoddy Head Light.

inland trail and thompson trail loop map

Quoddy Head State Park What to See and Do

Quoddy Head State Park What to See and Do

Quoddy Head State Park What to See and Do

Quoddy Head State Park What to See and Do

  • If you are not up for hiking the entire loop, then there are a few options. The Coastal Trail is a 3.5-mile (round-trip) hike that gets you all the great ocean views of the above hike but skips heading through the shaded forest and the Bog Trail Loop.  It climbs about 300 feet total and is moderate in difficulty. The trailhead for the Coastal Trail starts from the southwestern side of the grassy area near West Quoddy Head Light.

coastal trail map

  • The Bog Trail is another great option. This 1-mile (round-trip) hike is easy with little elevation gain.  You’ll start on the Inland Trail and then turn right (west) and follow signs to the short Bog Trail.  Here you’ll hit a boardwalk, which walks visitors through the bog, which has quite different plants.  There are signs to learn about the local flora as well.  There is about 80 feet of total elevation gain.  The trailhead for the Inland Trail starts from the southwestern side of the grassy area near West Quoddy Head Light.

bog trail map

Quoddy Head State Park What to See and Do

Quoddy Head State Park What to See and Do

  • The Coast Guard Trail heads to the north of the lighthouse. This 0.9-mile (round-trip) loop trail has only about 80 feet of total elevation gain and is fairly easy.  The hike heads along the forest and gives views to the Bay of Fundy as well.  The Coast Guard Trail starts from the northern parking lot and terminates at West Quoddy Head Light.

coast guard trail map

  • Finally, hiking on the Thompson Trail by itself is a good option. This 2.5-mile (round-trip) hike heads through the forest and terminates at beach at Carrying Place Cove.  While we recommend heading on the coast as well (and combining it with this hike), this is a good option if it’s been particularly wet or if you are looking to get access to the beach at Carrying Place Cove.  The trailhead for the Thompson Trail starts by hiking on the Inland Trail from the southwestern side of the grassy area near West Quoddy Head Light.

WHAT IS THERE TO DO NEAR QUODDY HEAD STATE PARK?

This area of Maine is very remote, but we loved the feel of it and enjoyed visiting small towns nearby and checking out a couple of the nearby attractions.  Our recommendations include:

  • We loved checking out the town of Lubec, ME. The easternmost town in the United States, this little town has plenty of character and charm.  You can check out the fishing boats, get a bite to eat, drink great coffee or just walk around and do a bit of shopping.  Lubec, ME is located about six miles away, on Highway 189.
  • Cobscook Bay State Park is also a good spot to check out. There are a few hikes here, some of the best state park camping that we’ve experienced, and great places to bike.  Cobscook Bay State Park is located about 20 miles away, just north of Whiting, ME.

Quoddy Head State Park What to See and Do

  • Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge is a great place to drive through. Here you can spot beaver and potentially moose as you drive through the secluded roads of the refuge.  Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge is located north of Whiting, ME, just across from Cobscook Bay State Park.
  • Just to the east of Lubec, ME is the Roosevelt Campobello International Park. This is Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s former summer home.  It’s actually located in Canada, so you’ll have to have a passport to enter onto the island.  Roosevelt Campobello International Park is located just east of Lubec, ME. 

 

 

HOW TO GET TO QUODDY HEAD STATE PARK AND OTHER TRAVEL INFORMATION

To say that Quoddy Head State Park is off the beaten path is an understatement.  You likely won’t ever find yourself up here without specifically planning for it.  It’s about 2.5 hours from Acadia National Park, and seemingly in the middle of nowhere.  While it isn’t on any main thoroughfare, it is still easy to get to.

ENTRANCE FEES AND REQUIRED PASSES FOR QUODDY HEAD STATE PARK

Fees are charged to enter into the park, but they are quite modest.  Fees are collected on the honor system in a small drop box as you walk from the parking area to the lighthouse.

Quoddy Head State Park What to See and Do

WHERE TO STAY IN QUODDY HEAD STATE PARK

Quoddy Head State Park Lodging: There is no lodging or camping in Quoddy Head State Park.  The nearest lodging that we’d recommend is in Lubec, Maine.

CAMPING NEAR QUODDY HEAD STATE PARK

There are a few campgrounds located nearby Quoddy Head State Park, with most of them being private campgrounds.  However, if you are interested in public campgrounds, there is one really good option:

Cobscook Bay State Park:

  • Location: Cobscook Bay State Park is located just north of Whiting, ME, about 20 miles away from Quoddy Head State Park. Directions from Quoddy Head State Park to Cobscook Bay State Park.
  • Accessible via: Vehicle
  • Reservations: Offered May 15 through mid-October. Cobscook Bay State Park Campground Reservations.
  • Capacity: 106 sites.
  • Electricity / Water Hookups / Dump Station: No / No / Yes.
  • Toilets / Showers: Pit toilets and no showers.
  • Additional details: This campground is situated right on Cobscook and Whiting Bays. It offers a very peaceful and remote setting.  While there is minimal services at the park, it is truly one of our favorite spots we’ve camped at.

BEST TIME TO VISIT QUODDY HEAD STATE PARK

Since the trails can get quite muddy in the springtime, we recommend coming to the park after the area has melted off thoroughly.  Black flies start to appear a bit after Mothers’ Day, and are much better at the beginning of July.  Therefore, we recommend coming between July and early October.  If you want to see fall colors, come in the first week of October to see the colors at their peak.

Quoddy Head State Park What to See and Do

VISITING QUODDY HEAD STATE PARK IN THE WINTER

The park is open year-round, but the facilities are only open from May 15 through October 15.  If you come in the off months, you can walk the trails and visit around the lighthouse.  Take extreme care nearby the cliffs if you do choose to hike here.  We recommend having good traction on your feet, such as micro spikes or snowshoes.

ARE PETS ALLOWED IN QUODDY HEAD STATE PARK?

Absolutely!  Pets are welcome but are required to be leashed at all times.  They also ask that you take care to clean up after your pet.

Quoddy Head State Park What to See and Do

RELATED INFORMATION ON QUODDY HEAD STATE PARK AND THE SURROUNDING AREA FROM JUST GO TRAVEL STUDIOS

  • Another “must see” in the area is the wonderful, Cobscook Bay State Park. Our blog will help you know what you want to see and do while you are there!
  • Be sure to check out all our blogs on Acadia National Park!
  • When you return, be sure to check out how we can make a custom, vintage travel poster, where we take a photo that you send to us and turn it into an amazing travel memory!

custom travel posters from your own photo

Quoddy Head State Park What to See and Do

Back to blog

About Just Go Travel Studios

We are Amy & Pete Brahan. Very simply, we are passionate about our National Parks and Public Lands and explore them with our three kids whenever we can.

As much as we enjoy traveling, we also love sharing our knowledge and helping others create everlasting memories through our custom-made travel posters, downloadable travel itineraries and detailed blog articles.

10% of all after-tax profits are donated to the National Park Foundation.

Veteran owned.