Ship Harbor & Wonderland Trails

These two very popular Acadia National Park hiking trails are found about a mile apart on the southwest shore of Mount Desert Island. Each starts from its own small parking lot off Route 102A between the Seawall area and the Bass Harbor light.
Both trails are relatively short — it’s a one-mile round trip for the Wonderland Trail, and 1.3 miles to complete the Ship Harbor circuit — and level on their way to the water’s edge. In fact, both Wonderland and the first half of the Ship Harbor Trail are considered wheelchair accessible, although exposed tree roots or loose gravel may cause slight problems in places.
You’d think just about any harbor would be good for ships. This particular Ship Harbor, legend has it, gets its name because a British warship sailed in there to hide sometime during the 18th century, got stuck when the tide dropped, and never made it back out.
The trail along the eastern side of this inlet is a circular nature walk with thirteen stations describing various local habitats such as spruce forest, huckleberry and blueberry ledges, mud flats, and the cobblestone coast.
Wonderland’s trail, an abandoned roadway, begins in a forested wetland, continues through a pine forest, and quickly attains the cobble beach where you’ll find shorebirds, tidal pools, and a wide variety of colorful granite, volcanic, and sedimentary rocks. (The rocks, of course, are protected by law and not to be removed.)
This area also is considered one of the best bird-watching sites in Maine, especially for those seeking warblers. Acadia’s bird checklist includes 28 different wood warblers seen in the national park, most commonly the black-and-white, Blackburnian, black-throated green, Canada, chestnut-sided, magnolia, Nashville, Northern parula, yellow, and yellow-rumped.