Welcome to Life in Washington County, I have just spent an exciting weekend exploring a couple of local parks. I had the wonderful opportunity to explore Quoddy Head in my hometown of Lubec. Quoddy Head sits 541 acres, purchased by the state in 1962, the park features up to 5 miles of hiking trails, extensive forests, two bogs, a diverse habitat for rare plants, and the striking, red-and-white striped lighthouse tower of West Quoddy Head Light. It’s one of the most photographed lighthouses. With its diverse landscape, breathtaking views, scenic picnic sites, and opportunities for hiking and ability to whale watch, Quoddy Head State Park is a fun and fascinating destination for visitors to down east Maine.
Did you know…..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.
In 1808, West Quoddy Head Light became the easternmost lighthouse in the United States. Its light and fog cannon warned mariners of Quoddy’s dangerous cliffs, ledges, and Sail Rock. Among the first to use a fog bell and later a steam-powered foghorn, this lighthouse greatly reduced shipwrecks in this foggy area, even as shipping increased. In 1858, the present red-and-white tower replaced the original. Monitored and serviced by the U. S. Coast Guard, its light still shines through its original third-order Fresnel lens. After automation in 1988, the light station became part of adjacent Quoddy Head State Park. The tower is closed, but visitors are welcome to enjoy the lighthouse grounds and explore the Visitor Center and Museum run by the West Quoddy Head Light Keepers’ Association.
There are 4 trails: 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).
So pack a picnic lunch and come down and visit for the day…a great way to cool off this week!