QUICK TRAIL FACTS
- Preserve Size: 47,000 acres
- Trail Mileage: 0.8-mile loop
- Pets: yes
- Difficulty: easy
- Sights: crumbling ruins, protected harbors, cobblestone beach
Compass Harbor is worthwhile to visit, both for its lovely views of the protected harbor, filled with ducks the day we visited, and for its history. Plus, the paths are wide and flat — offering an easy walk for those who relish easy walks!
While you start out on a wide gravel path from the relatively small parking area, the path does not remain wheelchair accessible the whole way. Eventually you’ll reach the shore and its views before turning inland to what remains of George Dorr’s estate, Oldfarm.
Dorr was one of the founders of Acadia National Park and its first superintendent. One of the most prominent features that remains of his estate here is a long, stone staircase in the middle of the trees that once connected cottage to seaside. It’s kind of ghostly. You can wander around the house foundations, look for the old saltwater pool, and find faint outlines of gardens. Check out the virtual tour.
You can loop back to the trailhead for a roughly 0.8-mile loop, or head out for a longer walk on the Schooner Head Path, which crosses Old Farm Road. The gravel path continues for a half mile before depositing walkers across the street from Jackson Laboratory. You can carry on here, parallel to Schooner Head Road, all the way to Schooner Head (about 2 miles), or veer off and climb Champlain Mountain.
Directions: The trailhead and small parking area (big enough for 8 or so cars?) is right outside of downtown. Drive south on Route 3 away from town, and you’ll arrive at the parking area a half mile after you pass the intersection with Cromwell Harbor Road.