Otter Cliff is a 110-foot cliff located on the southeastern shore of Acadia National Park near the end of the Ocean Path. It is among the tallest coastal headlands on the Atlantic Coast, and it offers incredible views into the ocean as well as the adjacent coves. Otter Cliff is especially well known among climbers, as it is one of the only places in the northeast that starts only a few feet from the ocean shore.
To reach the cliff, visitors can either walk along the Ocean Path south of Thunder Hole or park on the right just off the Park Loop Road in a small parking area. While most stop right below the steps leading down from the road, the popular climbing area is actually along a path through the woods to the north.
Huge waves can pound the cliff, so it’s advisable to stay a good distance away from the edge during stormy weather. A small cove to the north is littered with smooth round boulders, a testament to the power of erosion. The contrast of the rounded boulders with the jagged cliff is striking.
Just off the coast, a rock formation known as the Spindle is marked by a buoy. In 1604, Samuel De Champlain and his crew of sailors ran aground here while sailing closer to shore to inspect the smoke from a Native American campfire. The damage to his ship was significant, requiring the crew to spend their winter in Otter Cove while they repaired it.
Unique in the climbing world, the routes at Otter Cliff are only accessible from the top, meaning climbers must first rappel to the base before they can begin. The ledge at the bottom is covered during high tide, so access is limited.
Otter Cliff is especially gorgeous at dawn, when the early morning light strikes the cliff, bathing it in a golden glow. While the setting sun isn’t visible from here, excellent sunsets can be seen as the sky fades to deep shades of pink, purple, and cobalt blue.