Ocean Path is a scenic trail along the southeast coast of Acadia National Park's Mount Desert Island. It hits the highlights of the Park Loop Road along its 2-mile length. Sand Beach marks the northern terminus, while a parking area at Otter Point just beyond Otter Cliff provides access from the other end. There are several parking areas and access points in between in addition to ways to link in other loops.
The parking area at Otter Point is furthest from the main attractions along the Ocean Path; therefore, it's easier to find parking in the large lot. The path begins across the Park Loop Road, hugging the coast. Several spurs encourage visitors to walk out to the rocky shore, where tide pools teeming with life can be found at low tide. At high tide, waves crash against the rugged outcroppings and spray the rocks with mist.
Since Otter Point is the most removed section of Ocean Path from the more popular destinations in Acadia, it's the best place to enjoy the natural beauty and feeling of solitude the desolate coast can offer. Moving north, the trail winds through a coastal forest, popping out for expansive views of the Atlantic at frequent intervals.
As it approaches Otter Cliff, the trail climbs some steps. This is the most demanding portion of the trail, and it only gains about 50 feet of elevation. A large cut-stone wall lines the path for a few feet, before the trail turns abruptly and descends to the cliff edge via another set of stairs.
From here the trail undulates gradually as it passes access to Boulder Beach, one of the best views of Otter Cliff. Monument Cove follows, an oft overlooked cove with a great sea stack. From here, the trail will likely start to feel crowded.
Thunder Hole comes next, but be sure to explore the coastline immediately to the north and south. Several interesting rock formations, crags, and tide pools offer respite from the concentrated crowds at the booming inlet.
The final stretch to Sand Beach is mostly flat with a slow rise at the very end. Follow the path all the way to the beach to cool your feet, or find your way back to the car via any number of loops on the various trails or with the Island Explorer shuttle bus, which makes frequent stops at the Sand Beach parking area.
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