Great Wass Island Preserve

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Great Wass Island Preserve, Beals, ME 04611, United States

Open Year-Round

Great Wass Island Preserve

Acquired by The Nature Conservancy in 1978, Great Wass Island Preserve is a natural gem of Downeast Maine. A 4.5-mile hiking trail will take you through the preserve’s unique forests and wetlands.

The Little Cape Point trailhead is located at the eastern edge of the parking lot; the Mudhole Trail branches to the east 100 yards south of the trailhead. The two trails intersect at the south end of the island. Due to the extent of exposed bedrock and uneven terrain, the trails may be difficult or even dangerous in bad weather. Hikers should be particularly careful when hiking in dense fog – a frequent feature of the preserve. Please come well prepared for any kind of weather and be sure to wear sturdy shoes suitable for a long hike through all kinds of terrain. Due to the terrain, your hike will take you longer than you think – you should allow yourself six hours to complete the full 4.5-mile loop.

Little Cape Point Trail (2.2 miles): The Little Cape Trail leads to the shore at Cape Cove and Little Cape Point. It winds through deep moss-floored spruce and fir forests interspersed with open ledges of jack pine woodland. After about a mile, these ledges offer beautiful views of a coastal raised bog. Further on, a boardwalk allows the visitor to walk through a sedge-shrub marsh without harming the vegetation. After the trail reaches the shore, it is just a short walk northeast along the shore to Little Cape Point (3-hour round trip).

Mud Hole Trail (2.3 miles): The left fork 100 feet east of the parking lot leads to the edge of a long, narrow, fjord-like tidal cove known as the Mud Hole. From there the trail winds east to Mud Hole Point, where there are spectacular views of the islands of Eastern Bay, and along the pink granite cliffs that are exposed to the waters of the Gulf of Maine. Just northwest of Little Cape Point, the trail takes you along a cobble beach formed by the force of the ocean. The Mud Hole Trail intersects the Little Cape Trail on Little Cape Point (4-hour round trip).

How to get there: From Route 1, take Route 187 south to Jonesport. Turn south (at the Coast Guard Station) onto Bridge Street and cross the bridge over Moosabec Reach to Beals; turn left at the end of the bridge onto Bay View Drive. Continue approximately 1.1 miles to the causeway to Great Wass Island. Just beyond the causeway at the T-intersection turn right onto Black Duck Cove Road and continue 2 miles to a parking area on the left to access the trail.

(Source: The Nature Conservancy) | Photograph courtesy of the Boldcoast Scenic Byway

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