Monday, July 11, 2011

Hike – Ocean Path

Otter Cliffs from the Ocean Path
The Ocean Path is a very scenic walk along the ocean side of the Park Loop Road in Acadia National Park.  It leads from Sand Beach to Otter Cliffs.  While you can drive by the same views in a car, you get an entirely different perspective when you walk it.  This is an easy way for even non-hikers to enjoy tremendous views and it is highly recommended.

Directions – Drive down the Park Loop Road to the Sand Beach parking area.  It will be on the left.  There are many places to park and there are also bathrooms and drinking water available. 

To start, walk up toward the Park Loop Road from the parking area.  On the left is a well built walking path on the ocean side of the road.  This is the Ocean Path.  It will lead you alongside the Park Loop Road.  It occasionally separates from the road to give you better views that you can’t get from your car.  Any place where there is a drop down off the path on the ocean side there is a sturdy stone wall to keep you safe.  There is also a stone wall to separate you from the cars when the path runs right next to the road.

Sand Beach in the distance
Rocky coast
Otter Cliffs in the distance

Stone wall, water smoothed rocks, and Otter Cliffs in the distance

Stone wall, trees growing right out of the rock, and the rocky coast

The path runs by Thunder Hole, one of the most famous features in the park.  It continues on to Monument Cove and Otter Cliffs.  It even winds around the end of Otter Cliffs to Otter Cove before finally ending by connecting to the Park Loop Road.  If you turn left and walk along the Park Loop Road for a short distance there is a monument and a little further on, a picnic area.  If not all of you want to walk back you can wait here while one person goes back for the vehicle.

Looking north towards Great Head
The rocky coast
Water smoothed rocks
Otter Cliffs
Block of stone so old it has moss growing on the sides and grass on the top
Gorham Mountain (left) and the Beehive (right)
Small Peninsula
Various mosses growing amongst the rocks

Looking down from Otter Cliffs
The end of Otter Cliffs
Relaxing in the sun on Otter Cliffs
Waves coming in over the rocks at Otter Cliffs
Gorham Mountain
Old, strange tree growth
Otter Cove with Cadillac Mountain and Dorr Mountain in the distance
At any point in this walk you can turn around and return to where you parked.  If the four mile roundtrip would be too much for you to do all at once, then you can easily walk this path in sections.  There are multiple parking areas along this stretch of the Park Loop Road (i.e. Thunder Hole, Gorham Mountain trailhead, etc.) and each can be used as a starting point to continue the walk from where you last left off.  I wouldn’t want to pick only one particular stretch of the path and tell you to walk just that.  The entire two miles is filled with one beautiful scene after another.

Cumulative distance:             2 miles one-way, 4 miles roundtrip
Cumulative elevation gain:   260 feet (cumulative total of small rises and falls)
Cumulative duration:            2-3 hours (including time for photos and exploring)

Acadia Hiking Guide

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