Bass Harbor Head Light, or lighthouse, is located on Acadia National Park land on the southwestern part of Mount Desert Island in the village of Bass Harbor, Maine. This is one of the most recognizable and most photographed lighthouses in North America with a commanding position at the entrance to Bass Harbor and Blue Hill Bay. It is situated on rocky cliffs fifty six feet above mean high water yet is accessible by car, bike, or foot off Route 102A and has free parking. The grounds are open to the public but not the lighthouse. Bass Harbor is part of the municipality of Tremont in Hancock County.
There is a walkway off the parking area to the right that will take you to an observation point next to the tower. There is also a less noticeable path to the left of the lighthouse that will take you down the side of the cliff, via a steep stairway, to a vantage point below providing a view as in this photo.
The Bass Harbor Head Light Station was added to the National Registry of Historic Places on January 21, 1988 and is still an active aid to navigation for mariners off the the coast of Maine, operated by the U.S. Coast Guard. Consider visiting this lighthouse as it will transport you back to earlier times, especially on a foggy morning or evening.
The station was originally established in 1858. A fog bell and tower were then added in 1876 but the bell is currently inactive. The foundation is made of stone with the main construction material being brick. The lighthouse became automated in 1974. The 1.5 story wood framed keeper's quarters is managed by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Original optic: Fifth-order Fresnel (1858)
Present optic: Fourth-order Fresnel (1902)
Characteristic: Occulting red, 4 seconds (3 red, then 1 darkness)
Tower Height: 32 feet
Focal plane: 56 feet
USCG #: 1-2335
44 13 18.5 N
68 20 14.2 W
The Free Island Explorer Shuttle Bus Service makes regular (in season) stops at the Bass Harbor Ferry Terminal. (Refer to their #7 Southwest Harbor Route.) This bus also stops in Bar Harbor at the Village Green.
Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse GPS: Latitude 44.222568; Longitude -68.337273
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