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Ocean Path snowshoe hike - Acadia

Region: New England Activity Type: Hiking/Walk Place: Bar Harbor, ME

I'm looking to do a winter hike in Acadia National Park along the Ocean Path. 

I will divide this hike into two separate sections. 

1.  The first section will be from Sand Beach to the parking lot between Monument Cove and the Otter Cliff Rd.

This section is about 1.1 miles, one way.. If two cars are available, with room for everybody, this can be a one-way hike.  Leave a car at Sand Beach, and start the hike from the parking lot between Monument Cove and the Otter Cliff Rd and walk to Sand Beach.  If two cars can't be used, this hike would be about 2.2 miles round trip. 

This section of the Ocean Path runs parallel to the Loop Rd, and is mostly flat and easy.  In some spots, the path is actually a sidewalk, but this will be covered by snow.  This stretch includes Thunder Hole.

2.  The second section starts at the parking lot between Monument Cove and the Otter Cliff Rd.

The goal of this section is hike to Otter Cliff, 0.4 miles from the parking lot.  Here the Ocean Path leaves the side of the Loop Rd and stays close to the shore, and returns to the Loop Rd at Otter Cliff.

After Otter Cliff, there are some options.  If everyone agrees, we can stay on the Ocean Path all the way to Otter Point.  There is a downhill stretch at Otter Cliff to the shore, but I don't recall it being incredibly steep.  After Otter Cliff, the trail stays close to the shore all the way to the Loop Rd at Otter Point, about 0.6 miles.  I don't recall the trail being rough.

At the end of the Ocean Path at Otter Point, there are still options.

1.  Walk the Loop Rd past Otter Cliff back to the parking lot, which is 0.8 miles.

2.  Walk the Loop Rd to the causeway and bridge at Otter Cove, which is 0.9 miles.  Turn around at the bridge, walk the Loop Rd back to Fabbri, and cut over to the Otter Cliff Rd.  Walk the road back to the parking lot, which is 0.7 miles.

So, here are mileage totals for the hikes: 

1.  If we have to do section one both ways, that is 2.2 miles.  For section two, going to Otter Cliff and back is 0.8 miles.  Total for this is 3 miles.

2. If we add the Ocean Path to Otter Point, and walk the Loop Rd back past Otter Cliff to the parking lot, the total for all hikes will be 4 miles.

3. And finally, if we add the causeway at Otter Cove to the hike, the total for all hikes will be 4.8 miles.

Elevation gain is very minimal, as the Ocean Path stays along the Loop Rd or the shore.

The Ocean Drive section of the Loop Rd is plowed from the entrance station to the Otter Cliff Rd.  To access the Loop Rd, you take Rt. 3 through Bar Harbor to the Schooner Head Rd, and follow Schooner Head Rd almost to the end to the crossover to the Loop Rd.

To my knowledge there is no fee charged in the winter.

After these hikes, there is also an option to drive to Jordan Pond.  You can only access Jordon Pond from Seal Harbor on the Jordon Pond Rd.  * Note this is not the Stanley Brook Rd entrance, as that is not plowed.  *

I'm looking to do this hike during the winter so that I can experience Acadia in snow. I'm used to having snow on the ground into mid to late April up here in Aroostook County, but I know snow melts a lot faster down south.

During the winter it is fairly easy for me to get time off from work.  These are the days that I CANNOT do the hike.  Feb. 18-22, as these are already spoken for, and I have to go to work. :(

For me to do this, I'll have to drive down to Bar Harbor the day before and get a motel room, as the distance is too far to drive and then do the hike. I'd like to start the hike by 8AM - 9AM. Unsure if I'd stay a second night.

As for gear, I doubt microspikes would be needed, but with ever changing weather in Maine, might be a good idea to have some anyway.  Snowshoes are also a must.  I have an extra pair of snowshoes if anyone needs to use them.

Because of unknown conditions, I'd consider this easy to moderate.

If there is a cold wind off the ocean, clothing to block the wind would be wise.

The unplowed sections of the Loop Rd are a snowmobile trail.  The left hand lane of the plowed section is a snowmobile trail.

I'm currently trying to find out what parking lots are plowed out.


If anyone is interested in doing this, please leave your comments, or email me directly.  The main goals are the Ocean Path along the Loop Rd from Sand Beach to Monument Cove and the Ocean Path to Otter Cliff.  Everything else is 100% optional.

BillyB1976 Jan 20, 2019 at 4:14 PM

I've added 2 maps showing the routes in my Ocean Path - Acadia photo album.

BillyB1976 Jan 20, 2019 at 8:42 PM

I've added pics from a trip I did along most of this route in Aug. 2017. They are in my OCEAN PATH - AUG 2017 photo album.

MO Jan 23, 2019 at 9:03 PM

I really want to do Acadia in the winter. I want more snow. Maybe later in Feb ?

BillyB1976 Jan 24, 2019 at 6:57 AM

Mo, problem is, down that way, there is no way of knowing when there will be snow. It was looking good, but I'm guessing this warm spell will melt a lot of snow down that way. I do want snow on the ground as well, because I want to see the area covered in snow. I've been to Baxter a few times in winter, but never Acadia. ... Plenty of snow up here.. Come on up. This warm spell will not melt all of it. I'll have to monitor conditions. The Bar Harbor Chamber should be able to give me info, s

BillyB1976 Jan 25, 2019 at 9:23 AM

I looked at online webcams, and called the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce. No snow, or very little snow... :( This will have to wait. :(

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