Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Wild Gardens Trail + Ocean Path Trail (Acadia NP)

Elevation: from 20 to 108 ft.

Wild Gardens
Distance: 0.90 mi.
Elevation Gain: 44 ft.
Start Time: 1:05pm
End Time: 1:35pm

Ocean Path (Sand Beach to Thunder Hole) (8/14/2018)
Distance: 1.81 mi.
Elevation Gain: 144 ft.
Start Time: 2:08pm
End Time: 3:05pm

Ocean Path (Monument Cove to Otter Point) (8/15/2018)
Distance: 1.22 mi.
Elevation Gain: 111 ft.
Start Time: 2:34pm
End Time: 3:09pm

Trip Report:
At the Sieur de Monts Nature Center we began a lovely little hike walking through the various Wild Gardens. They had sectioned areas of different environments and the types of plants that would be found there. There were simple pea gravel trails all about the gardens to walk upon. When we had our fill of the garden we decided to get a little more hiking in and moved south on the Jesup trail towards a pond we could see on the map. This was perhaps a 3/4 mile walk and we ended up at what was called The Tarn. Due to the foggy weather of the day the views were limited but still found the Tarn to be a rather beautiful spot. On the hike back we worked a parallel trail called the Wild Gardens Path and returned to the nature center.

The Tarn
The Tarn
Nice wide paths for easy hiking
A simple bridge over a dried creek bed

We hiked Ocean Path in two segments. On our first day out there my wife and I set out from Sand Beach, followed the great signage, hiking up the hill on a short but steep path to gain the roadway. The Ocean Path is very evident and essentially follows the road. It was a smooth dirt path most of the way. The initial section is in the trees and then the rest of the north half heading for Thunder Hole was by the road with the rock slopes between you and the ocean. Our August 14 hike was in the clouds as was the theme of the day. It was still pretty in its own way but we lacked the color and depth a sunny day would have offered. We hiked to Thunder Hole exploring in the rocks a few times as we went. The signage explained that the best time to visit Thunder Hole was two hours before high tide. We didn't get to hear it thunder but walked down the walkways to the water's edge to take a look. We retraced our steps all the way back to Sand Beach to complete the hike.

Our return to Ocean Path the next day, August 15 provided amazing results. You can see the amazing contrast in the photos. We found this to be perhaps the most beautiful area of the park and arguably the most beautiful trail. If you wanted to rank purely on views then Ocean Path would in my estimation win the battle. As a hiking trail however, are other trails that offer a better hiking experience further from the paved road.

Sarah dropped me off just passed Thunder Hole by Monument Cove and I hiked the Ocean Path heading for Otter Point. The weather was so much improved today that you could see all the coastline and out into the ocean where there was some lingering fog, perhaps half mile off shore. The trail would switch from being by the road and somewhat open to some sections hiking through forested trees. I hopped off trail at a couple points early on to walk amongst the shoreline rocks and snap pictures in both directions along the shore line.
Just before Otter Cliffs I noticed a clear side trail and I could see quickly it was to a rock climbing area. I started down that way and passed signbox for climber registrations. There were a handful of climbers rapelling down off the cliffs. Some were stemming in a chimney area. Moving past Otter Cliff I hiked through a beautiful mix of forest hiking and cliff edge hiking. I snapped a picture at Boulder Beach which was a fascinating area. I conclude my hike meeting up with Sarah at Otter Point where we enjoyed the small waves washing in over the shoreline rocks. So thankful today's weather provided exceptional views and photos and what some may call a true Acadian experience.

Along various spots of the Ocean Path I took 360 photos to take in as much of the views as possible. I include them here:

An example of the forested hiking

Boulder Beach

Climbers rapelling at the Otter Cliff climbing area
More at the rock climbing area

Otter Cliff

Otter Point

I have a track and waypoints from the hike all contained in a KML file that you are welcome to download and use (at your own risk).  

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