Want to really get away from it all? Check out the loop hike on Great Wass Island near Jonesport. This hike will take you through an interesting boggy forest on your way to the dramatic rocky shoreline where you’ll climb over large boulders and walk along ledges as you make your way around the point. From the rocks at the point you’ll see plenty of seabirds and you’re likely to see seals swimming in the water (I did!) or sun bathing on the small islands. After navigating around the point, you’ll walk across a sandy beach, then climb over more rocks and walk along the ledges again before re-emerging into the forest for the hike back to the trail head.
To get there from Ellsworth, I suggest taking the Route 1 “bold coast” scenic byway where you’ll pass small rural coastal towns like Hancock, Gouldsboro and Milbridge. At Columbia Falls, take Rt 187 to Jonesport, then cross the bridge to Beals Island, then take a left after the bridge onto Bay View Drive. In 1.2 miles, turn right onto Black Duck Cove Road, which becomes a dirt road (don’t worry, you’re not lost) and in 2.5 mile you’ll arrive at the trailhead parking lot on the left.
This hike consists of two trails, the Mud Hole Trail and Little Cape Point Trail. Each trail is a little over 2 miles out and back, or you can combine the two trails to make it about a 4.5 mile loop. I was running short on time because I had spent too long at Schoodic Peninsula on my way there, so I planned on only doing the Cape Point Trail, but after walking around on the rocks to Little Cape Point, I looked at where I was on my GPS and realized I was pretty much at the mid-point so I went ahead and did the full loop. This hike is rated “Strenuous” in AMC’s Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast with an estimated hiking time of 4 hours. On the website of The Nature Conservancy, which owns the trail, you’re advised that “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.” However, I did the loop in 3 hours while stopping to take pictures, and I’m usually on the higher end of the time estimates. It wasn’t easy and my feet and legs were definitely sore afterwards, but I’m giving this a moderate rating. I think that kids would probably love climbing around on the rocks. Sorry, no dogs allowed. The trail overall was in great condition but there were some parts of the trail through the woods that became narrow due to brush overgrowth so check for ticks! I thought that the entire trail was very well marked and I managed to not get lost once! I did have my doubts when I was wandering around the rocks at the point, as this area has very few blazes since it’s technically in between the two official trails, but if you just stay stay on the ledges on the shoreline, you’ll eventually reach the Mod Hole Trail that goes back into the woods and to your car. One important thing to note here is that you’ll need to make sure that it will be low tide. Otherwise, at high tide I think that some of those rocks you would normally be climbing over would be underwater. Click here to see the tide charts for Jonesport. The tides here are pretty extreme too, as this is where the Gulf of Maine and the Bay of Fundy meet, so be careful.