(Easy hiking, 1.2-mile loop)
On the west side of Mount Desert Island near Bass Harbor and just east of the Wonderland Trail is the narrow inlet of pretty Ship Harbor and the start of the Ship Harbor Nature Trail, a fun family walk leading out to the ocean.
Trailhead parking is on Route 102A, a little under a mile east of its junction with the Lighthouse Road, which leads to Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, and a little over a mile west of the entrance to Seawall Campground and Seawall Picnic Area. A toilet is available at the trailhead.
The Ship Harbor Nature Trail, part of Acadia National Park, follows a figure-eight loop through the woods to the outer edge of Ship Harbor, an easy and interesting walk of a little over a mile. Soon after the start, bear right at a junction to reach the east shore of Ship Harbor and nice views south to its mouth. Follow close along the water’s edge to another junction. Bear right again to remain along the harbor. Occasional roots and rocks in places along the trail will naturally slow the pace of your walk, allowing you to absorb the beauty of this special corner of the park.
Enjoy the salt air and cool ocean breeze at the far end of the trail, where there are numerous picnic spots perfect for relaxing, and fine views to be had of Great Gott Island, Little Duck and Great Duck islands, and Great Cranberry Island. On the return leg of your walk follow the inland side of the loop that passes through fragrant woods of spruce and balsam fir.