Posted on June 20, 2017 and last updated on August 03, 2017

Great Wass Island Preserve, Beals


  • Preserve Size: 1,576 acres
  • Trail Mileage: 4.5 miles
  • Pets: no
  • Difficulty: difficult
  • Sights: exposed headlands, maritime slope bogs, raised bogs

This is a dramatic place to walk, on an island jutting far into the sea. The 4.5-mile loop trail should only be completed if you have a few hours and are fairly steady on your feet. About 1.5 miles of the trail is along the rocky shore, which requires quite a lot of scrambling. At high tide, the going is even a bit rougher. And in bad weather, the rocks are slippery.

If you do the loop counter clockwise, you’ll first cross the island and its heath on the roughly 1.5-mile Little Cape Point Trail. Look for sundew and pitcher plants on the side of the boardwalk. Once you reach the shoreline, you’ll see sporadic blue blazes along the rocks marking the trail. The blazes aren’t always visible but you basically follow the exposed coast all around the island (except for brief stretches when you head inland behind a screen of trees) until you reach the Mud Hole Trail. At this point, you turn into protected woods again. This trail, with its exposed ledges and crooked coastal jack pines, is charming.

Note that no dogs are allowed on this Nature Conservancy preserve.

Directions: 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 intersection turn right onto Black Duck Cove Road and continue 2 miles, past the Downeast Institute, to a parking area on the left. 


Let me know if you have any trail updates or corrections!