Visiting Bass Harbor Head Light Station
The Bass Harbor Head Light Station is located in Tremont, Maine, marking the entrance to Bass Harbor and Blue Hill Bay on the southwest corner of Mount Desert Island. Among about 80 lighthouses across Maine, it is one of three lights managed by Acadia National Park, including two others on Baker Island and Bear Island. It appeared on the America the Beautiful quarter in 2012, the NPS centennial postage stamp in 2016, and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.
Expect Sunset Gridlock, Lack of Parking
With 180,000 annual visitors, the light station is the most visited place on the west side of Mount Desert Island and the fifth busiest destination in the entire park, behind only Cadillac Mountain, Jordan Pond, Sand Beach, and Thunder Hole. Be forewarned —
Without encountering traffic and queuing for limited parking, the light station would be about 35 minutes from Hulls Cove Visitor Center and 10 minutes from Seawall Campground.
Although there is no public access to the interior, visitors can view the exterior of the light station via paved walkway. The park maintains a parking lot, restrooms, and short boardwalk trail to a shoreline viewpoint.
Bass Harbor Head Light Station was constructed in 1858 from funds appropriated by Congress. The site was considered significant from 1858 to 1948 for its mid-19th Century design and construction, and for its association with Maine’s critical reliance on maritime transportation and aids that made that transportation possible. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.
A 52 acre parcel was purchased by National Park Service in 1937 from the Worcester family. The purchase included the entrance road, parking lot, restroom, short hiking trail, and stairway to a shoreline viewpoint area. On July 8, 2020, the National Park Service formally accepted transfer of the Bass Harbor Head Light Station from the USCG. USCG will retain right-of-way to operate and maintain the automated aid to navigation.
The lantern with fourth-order Fresnel lens covered in red cone Photo courtesy Friends of Acadia
The lantern with fourth-order Fresnel lens with LED replacement Photo courtesy USCG