On the hike to the 525 foot summit there is an alternative route, the Cadillac Cliffs Trail, that returns to the main route. At this intersection, there is a memorial plaque to Waldron Bates, an early trail builder and the designer of the simple, but elegant, cairns seen on many of Acadia’s trails. The Cadillac Cliffs trail traverses the base of the cliff and is more difficult, requiring some scrambling over granite boulders. Hikers are encouraged to stop and look at the cliff features which are strikingly similar to the current day coastline. These features include small ancient sea caves that were created when sea level was about 250 feet higher than today.
After reaching the summit, the trail descends moderately. At the first intersection, there is a cut-off option to go left to reach The Bowl, a small picturesque pond, in 0.4 miles. Continuing straight the trail intersects with the Bowl Trail in 0.1 miles. Taking a right on the Bowl Trail leads to the Park Loop Road.
Once at the Park Loop Road, continue right towards Sand Beach. A visit to this beautiful crushed shell and sand beach is an option before continuing. There are restrooms at Sand Beach. The Ocean Path begins at the south end of the upper Sand Beach parking lot.
The Ocean Path offers views of the classic Maine coast with many stopping points for enjoying the picturesque scenery and taking pictures. Before reaching the Gorham Mountain parking lot, the trail passes Thunder Hole, a shallow sea cave. When there are large ocean swells, on an incoming tide, the waves trap air in the cave. The escaping air can make a thundering sound. During the summer, there are restrooms and a gift shop with snacks across from Thunder Hole.
Upon reaching the Gorham Mountain Parking area, there is an option to continue on the Ocean Path for about a mile to its end at Otter Point, a scenic view point, then backtracking to the Gorham Mountain parking lot where the hike began.
Geocaching is prohibited within Acadia National Park; however, the park does sponser an EarthCache Program for those seeking a virtual treasure hunt!
Visit Acadia National Park online for more information or contact:
National Park Service, Acadia National Park
Starting from ME Route 3, turn off at the Hulls Cove Entrance to the park and the beginning of the Park Loop Road. Follow the Park Loop road 2.8 miles before turning left onto the one way section towards Sand Beach. The trail begins on the right at the Gorham Mountain Trail parking lot, 0.3 miles past Thunder Hole. During the busy summer months, leave your car at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center and take the Island Explorer Bus. The Park Loop Road is closed December 1 to April 15. During this time, see the park website for an alternative access route.
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