Residential sprawl and second home development is spreading eastward, reaching even the more remote stretches of Downeast Maine. When Horan Head, a 235-acre peninsula along the wildlife-rich shores of Cobscook Bay, went on the market to settle an estate, The Nature Conservancy negotiated a bargain sale purchase (well below the appraised value) so that the State could hold this property in perpetuity as a wildlife preserve.
A 3-mile loop trail leads through mature spruce and cedar interspersed with scattered older growth pine and mature hardwood. These woods are frequented by numerous songbirds in season. Where the trail approaches South Bay and Federal Harbor, visitors can often spot seals and porpoises offshore.
Migrating and wintering waterfowl congregate in South Bay, just off the bold ledges of Horan Head, and 16 pairs of bald eagles breed in Cobscook Bay (one on an island just off Horan Head).
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife now manages Horan Head, which is accessible for daytime walking and hunting. Horan Head is featured in a regional guidebook, Cobscook Trails, that is available at area businesses or through the Downeast Coastal Conservancy.
Downeast Maine – Hancock & Washington
Directions from nearest town
DeLorme Maine Atlas and Gazetteer Map 27, A-3. From Route 1 in Lubec, travel 5.6 miles east on Route 189, then left onto Crow’s Neck Road (unmarked). Take a right turn after .4 miles onto Lead Mine Road (unmarked) and in .2 miles, turn left onto Straight Bay Rd. (unmarked). Approx. 3.2 miles after that turn, turn right onto a short, gravel road (where a sign, set back from the road, indicates the Horan Head site).