Location Lat 44.816200 / Lon -66.952943
Four (4) miles off Route 189 in Lubec.
Hours / Season Open 9:00 a.m. to sunset daily from May 15 to October 15. Fee Charged. - cash or check only, no credit cards accepted. Visitors may continue to enjoy the park during the off season by parking outside the gate, without blocking it, and walking in during these same hours. Please place the admission fee in the self-service collection canister. Please be aware that facilities are closed during the off season.
Quoddy Head State Park encompasses 541 acres at the tip of America's easternmost peninsula, offering opportunities to visit an historic lighthouse, picnic and hike up to 5 miles of scenic trails. From the candy-striped West Quoddy Head Light, Maine's easternmost lighthouse, visitors can look out over Quoddy Channel (which divides the U.S. and Canada) to the towering red cliffs of Grand Manan Island in New Brunswick.
Commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson, West Quoddy Head Light was first built in 1808. The present tower and house, which date back to 1858, were staffed by resident lightkeepers until 1988 when the U.S. Coast Guard automated the light.
The Park affords some of Maine's best wildlife-watching. Visitors in summer may spot humpback, minke and finback whales offshore, along with rafts of eider, scoter and old squaw ducks. Kittiwakes, gannets, black-bellied plovers, ruddy turnstones and purple sandpipers all can be seen at times roosting on Sail Rock. During spring and fall migration periods, hundreds of shorebirds congregate near the Park's western boundary at Lubec Flats and Carrying Place Cove (named for a canoe portage site that Native Americans used). Birding opportunities continue into winter, with sea ducks, murres, and razorbills offshore and frequent bald eagles.
An easy, one-mile round-trip walk leads to an unusual coastal plateau bog (also known as a heath) with sub-arctic and arctic plants rarely seen south of Canada. Shrubs predominate, particularly black crowberry, baked appleberry and Labrador tea, along with carnivorous plants such as pitcher plants and sundew. A second bog at the property's western boundary, Carrying Place Cove Bog, is a National Natural Landmark (http://www.nature.nps.gov/nnl/).
The Land and Water Conservation Fund contributed to this State Park.Learn more about LWCF.
The name Quoddy Head, which means fertile and beautiful place, comes from the Native American Passamaquoddy tribe ("People of the Dawn"). The park's impressive black cliffs date back to the Silurian Age (roughly 420 million years ago) when volcanic magma rose up from under the ocean floor intruding between existing rock layers. That magma solidified into a dark, coarse-grained rock (gabbro), which is visible now that overlying rocks have worn away.
In 1962, the State secured this exceptional property by purchasing much of the current acreage from several private landowners. As part of the Maine Lights Program, in which the Coast Guard transferred title to 28 Maine lighthouses to nonprofit organizations or agencies, the deed to West Quoddy Head Light went temporarily to the Island Institute and in 1998 to the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands. The Bureau now manages the light, one of 63 active lighthouses along the coast of Maine, with assistance from the nonprofit West Quoddy Light Keepers Association.
The lighthouse was originally fueled by sperm whale oil, later by lard oil (in the 1860s), then kerosene (around 1880), and finally electricity (in the 1890s). The light still shines (two white flashes every 15 seconds) 15-18 miles (24-29km.) out to sea through an 1858 third-order Fresnel lens that is 5.5 feet tall. The 15 red and white stripes, which make the station more visible in snow and fog, were added after the house and tower were reconstructed in 1858 (when the original stone tower was replaced by brick). The tower is closed but visitors can enjoy the former light keeper's quarters (staffed by West Quoddy Light Keepers volunteers).
If you are interested in learning about geology around the state, check out the Maine Geological Survey Searchable Database.
- Hiking (trails)
- Watchable wildlife
- Please stay on trails to protect the headland?s fragile vegetation.
- Take care and supervise children closely by cliffs and near the water, particularly along the Coastal Trail.
- Park rules strictly prohibit use of intoxicating beverages.
- Camping is not permitted.
- Do not feed, touch or disturb wildlife.
- Keep pets on leash (less than 4 feet) at all times.
- Carry out all trash.
- Do not leave valuables unattended in your vehicle.
- Please use the stairs by the picnic area to access the shore.
- No hunting is permitted within 1,000 feet of the lighthouse.
- See Rules for State Parks and Historic Sites
Consider lending a hand. Contact us if you would like to help with stewardship or maintenance work.
Hikers may choose from four interconnected trails that start at the parking area winding through forest and wetlands and offering expansive coastal views (with trails closest to the parking area allowing some wheelchair access). For shore access, use the stairway near the picnic area. Please be careful near high cliffs and bluffs and be prepared for wet terrain.
Natural Heritage Hikes are narratives that guide hikers through the rich ecological, geological, and cultural elements encountered on 25 of Maine's most popular hiking trails. These descriptions provide the hiker with the what, how, and why of the natural environments they are walking through.
Visit the Quoddy Head State Park trail map at Maine Trail Finder.
The Inland Trail (0.75-mile roundtrip), is the shortest and most improved option and offers a moderate walk through conifer woods rich in mosses and lichens, leading steadily uphill to Green Point.
The Bog Trail (1-mile roundtrip), off the Inland Trail, has a raised boardwalk and interpretive signs describing how the plants here adapt to high levels of acidic water and few nutrients. Please stay on the raised boardwalk to prevent damaging bog plants.
The Thompson Trail (1.25 miles) offers a fairly level wooded route running inland between the Bog Trail and Coastal Trail. At Carrying Place Cove, hikers can enjoy 1,200 feet of sandy beach.
The Coastal Trail (4-mile roundtrip) affords more challenging terrain (and spectacular ocean views), with some steep and rocky sections. This trail passes Gulliver's Hole (a narrow chasm formed from the erosion of a vertical fault in the volcanic gabbro rock); High Ledge (a 150-foot-high bluff); and Green Point (a large ledge outcropping where hikers can reach the beach).
The Visitor Center at West Quoddy Head Light is open daily from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. from Memorial Day weekend through mid-October.
View the Maine Parks and Lands EVENT CALENDAR
- Picnic area
- See Visitor Accessibility
The Park is often wreathed in fog that forms when warm, moist air from the mainland meets masses of cold air over the surrounding waters. Fog and sea breezes can make for chilly conditions, even in the height of summer, so bring extra layers. Be prepared for low visibility and carry a park map with you when hiking trails.
Exercise caution and supervise children when walking on cliffside trails or by the shore. Tides can fluctuate more than 20 feet and flow in quickly.
Please take note of park boundary signs and do not trespass on adjacent property.
Carry your own drinking water for hikes and picnics as none is available at the park.
Please note that the only wheelchair-accessible privies are by the lighthouse. The lighthouse also meets ADA standards.
In late spring and summer, be prepared for some mosquitoes and black flies. Deer ticks, while not prolific, do occur in the area so check yourself daily to prevent Lyme disease.
Quoddy Head State Park
973 South Lubec Rd.
Lubec, ME 04652
May 15 through October 15: (207) 733-0911
Off season: (207) 941-4014
download park guide & map, 2 pages,16x9-inches each (1.4 MB pdf)
Directions and Parking
From Route 189 in downtown Lubec, turn right on South Lubec Road and follow 2 miles to a fork, bear left and continue 2 miles to the park entrance. Disabled persons can park adjoining the lighthouse visitor center.