Devil’s Head is a 318-acre park on the St. Croix River six miles south of downtown Calais, Maine. Primarily covered by woods and marsh, it fronts for a half-mile on the river where it joins Passamaquoddy Bay.
A ¾-mile access road extends from the entry on US Rt.1 to a picnic and beach access on the bay. Two hiking trails loop from mid-access road to the picnic area. The oldest, Devil’s Head Trail, 1.3 miles long, starts southward and climbs to the 340-foot summit of Devil’s Head, offering views of St. Croix Island to the south and the Oak Bay vicinity to the northeast.
The Shoreline Bluffs trail, done in 2016 and 1.2 miles long, extends north from the access road and follows the granite cliffs southward to the picnic area. Hikers will enjoy the moss beds, brooklets, birds and occasional mammals, views of the Canadian shore, and large trees: red and sugar maples, white and yellow birches, white pines, hemlocks, red spruces, and white cedars.
Devil’s Head has attracted visitors for thousands of years. As long as 11,000 years ago Native Americans camped there to harvest fish and clams. Beginning in the early 1600s, French and then English settlers beached their boats to await the tides that would carry them upriver. The colonists also used the site for hunting and gathering firewood.
Two miles south of Devil’s Head in Passamaquoddy Bay, visible from the beach, sits St. Croix Island International Historic site. There, in 1604-5 France attempted to establish its first permanent settlement in North America. Its failure shifted the balance of power to the English, changing American history.
St. Croix Island has a visitor center two miles south of Devil’s Head, but visitors are not permitted on the Island. Those seeking to swim, scuba dive, or boat at Devil’s Head must be aware of the very cold water, the tidal cycle of 6 hours rising and six falling, and the powerful tidal flows and currents