Perched on the rugged, wind-swept cliffs of Maine’s Mount Desert Island, the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse stands as a majestic beacon of light and a symbol of the enduring spirit of maritime New England. This iconic lighthouse, located within the boundaries of Acadia National Park, is not just a navigational aid for seafarers, but also a popular tourist attraction that draws thousands of visitors each year. Its unique charm and picturesque setting make it a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the coastal beauty of Maine.

A Brief History of Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse

The Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse was commissioned by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1876 to guide mariners through the treacherous waters of the Bass Harbor. The lighthouse was constructed on a two-acre plot of land that was purchased for . The 32-foot tall tower was built of brick, and the keeper’s house, a Victorian-style dwelling, was constructed of wood. The lighthouse was automated in 1974 and continues to serve as a navigational aid to this day.

Architectural Features

The Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse is a classic example of a coastal lighthouse. The tower is cylindrical in shape, with a conical top that houses the lantern room. The tower is painted white, while the lantern room and the gallery are painted black, creating a striking contrast. The keeper’s house, which is attached to the tower, is a charming Victorian-style dwelling with a gabled roof and a covered porch.

Visiting the Lighthouse

Visitors to the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse can enjoy a scenic walk along a short trail that leads to the lighthouse. The trail offers stunning views of the rugged coastline and the Atlantic Ocean. The lighthouse itself is not open to the public, but visitors can get a close-up view of the tower and the keeper’s house. There is also a viewing platform that offers panoramic views of the surrounding area.

Photography Opportunities

The Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse is a favorite subject for photographers, thanks to its picturesque setting and striking architecture. The lighthouse is especially beautiful at sunset, when the setting sun casts a golden glow on the tower and the surrounding landscape. The rocky shoreline and the crashing waves provide a dramatic backdrop for photographs.

Exploring the Surrounding Area

The area around the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse offers plenty of opportunities for exploration. The lighthouse is located within Acadia National Park, which is known for its stunning natural beauty. Visitors can hike along the park’s many trails, explore its rocky beaches, or take a drive along the scenic Park Loop Road. The nearby town of Bass Harbor is also worth a visit, with its charming shops, restaurants, and art galleries.


The Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse is more than just a navigational aid; it is a symbol of Maine’s maritime heritage and a testament to the rugged beauty of its coastline. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or a photography enthusiast, a visit to this iconic lighthouse is sure to be a memorable experience.

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