From above Sand Beach it is an easy 0.7 mile walk to 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.
The trail continues past Monument Cove, named for its sea stack, a vertical stack of granite isolated from the cliff by erosion. Across the road from Monument Cove is the Gorham Mountain Trailhead. Continuing on the Ocean Path, the path enters the forest and continues to a picturesque point with a bell buoy to warn sailors of a shallow shoal just off Otter Cliff. Here the path reconnects briefly with the road. Just past Otter Cliffs the trail turns away from the road and continues to provide dramatic views of the coastline and ocean. It rejoins the Park Loop Road at Otter Point. Just before the point there is a plaque to John D. Rockefeller, Jr., a major contributor to the park. The trail continues around the point and ends with a view across Otter Cove with Cadillac and Dorr Mountains in the background.
The hiker has the option of retracing the trail to return to the starting point or, if traveling by the Island Explorer Bus, flagging down a bus to continue on the Park Loop Road.
Historically, commercial advertisements promoted the rocky coast and touring the island's rock formations. Climbing along the shore became known as "rocking," a popular recreational pastime. The original route was first described in a guidebook as early as 1874. The Ocean Path as we know it today was aligned with the Park Loop Road by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933-38.
Watch out for poison ivy next to some sections of this trail. Dogs are allowed on the trail on a six foot leash.
Geocaching is prohibited within Acadia National Park; however, the park does sponsor 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. Although the trail technically begins at the Sand Beach parking area behind the restrooms, it can be easily accessed from multiple parking areas along the Park Loop Road. Much of the trail parallels the road. The hike can also be started at Otter Point by parking in the Otter Point parking lot.
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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