Giant’s Stairs Trail and McIntosh Lot Preserve

Photo by Tony Barrett
Photo by Tony Barrett


For dramatic coastal scenery in Harpswell, nothing beats the Giant’s Stairs.  Named for its interesting geologic history, the Giant’s Stairs trail follows the rocky coastline with gorgeous views of eastern Casco Bay, often with crashing waves glinting in the sunlight.  On any given day you might see rafts of ducks, foraging harbor seals or a lobster boat hauling traps below your feet.  The Giant’s Stairs Trail is managed by the Town of Harpswell, while Harpswell Heritage Land Trust’s McIntosh Lot Preserve Trail completes the short and easy loop.

The rock formations here are a geologist’s dream, but even a layman can appreciate the gigantic forces that shaped this coastline going back 500 million years.  Layers of mud formed the original sedimentary rock, along with deposits of minerals that later crystallized into quartz and garnet.  Movements in the Earth’s crust pushed the rock layers upward, causing massive buckling and cracking.  Gradually, hot magma from deep below the surface flowed into one large crack and formed a vertical seam of dark basalt rock, known to scientists as an “intrusive volcanic dike.”  Erosion of the basalt during 200 million years led to what we now call the Giant’s Stairs.


Click here to get directions from Google Maps.

Parking is located at 19 Ocean Street, Bailey Island. From Cook’s Corner in Brunswick, follow Rt 24 south for 14.5 miles, crossing the Cribstone Bridge. Turn left on Washington Ave. Please be respectful to the land owners surrounding this property. Park at the Episcopal Chapel at the intersection of Washington Ave and Ocean St (except during services) or at the four designated spots along Washington Ave.


Click here to download a trail map and brochure.

Giant’s Stairs Visitor Guidelines (Town of Harpswell)

  • No overnight parking
  • Carry in-carry out trash disposal policy
  • No fires
  • Intoxicating beverages are not allowed
  • Do not pick or dig any living thing
  • Pets must be on leash
  • Pet owners must clean up any fecal deposits left by their pets
  • Please report any damage to the Town of Harpswell
  • Please respect private landowners property
  • All uses of town facilities are at the users’ risk. There are no lifeguards

McIntosh Lot Visitor Guidelines (Harpswell Heritage Land Trust)

  • Carry in, carry out.
  • Pedestrian use only.
  • No open fires.
  • No camping.
  • Dogs must be under owner control and not bother wildlife, neighbors and other users.
  • Carry out all dog waste.
  • No hunting or discharge of firearms.
  • Please respect wildlife, neighbors and other users.
  • Power driven mobility devices are not allowed.

Click on the links below to learn more