Duck Harbor at Isle au Haut

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Photo: Terry Campbell

Duck Harbor is a small anchorage on the west side of Isle au Haut, which is what cruising in Maine is all about; isolated, quiet, no services, and often no other boats.  There is a capacity for four to five boats.  Getting there early in the day is important.  There is excellent hiking on Duck Mountain, which is part of Acadia National Park.

Approach & Cautions

Photo: Brian Guck

The approach is fairly easy but can be a bit of an adventure in thick fog as it is easy to go right by the narrow entrance. A bold rock outcropping marks the northern side of the entry. Note the many marked and unmarked ledges outside the entrance in Isle au Haut Bay.

Curlew, a white sloop, at anchor in Duck Harbor.

Click the chart to open Navionics.

Not to be used for Navigation.

Docking, Anchorages, or Moorings

There is good holding in the area west of the Acadia National Park float on the harbor’s south side. You might consider a stern anchor to keep you in position, especially if there are other boats in the anchorage. The tidal range is at least 10 feet, so things look very different at high and low tide.

Getting Ashore

Photo: Sherman Clarke

Getting ashore via dinghy is easy at the prominent float and jetty. Only dinghies can be tied to the inside of the float.

Hiking the Duck Mountain Trail is rewarding — at the peak of Duck Harbor Mountain, you have a great view of your boat and the outer islands if it is a clear day. If you want a very refreshing freshwater swim, carry on to Long Pond. When swimming at Long Pond, you must be careful of the floatplane air traffic on Isle au Haut International Airport. There are quite a few additional trails in the area. There is usually a map on a signboard at the nearby campgrounds. You can find more information about the park and trail maps, plus information about reserving a campsite.

One can also carry on and walk the road that goes right around Isle au Haut. However, that is quite a long distance, about 7-1/2 miles. As always when hiking in Maine, check for ticks upon returning to the boat.


What CCA Members are saying:

Duck Harbor has some of the most accessible and enjoyable hiking and walking trails in the area. The range of options covers all skill and endurance levels.

Doug Bruce

I appreciate the solitude and the rugged coastal Maine scenery -- all in a compact package.

Brian Guck

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