Thunder Hole, Acadia National Park


Mount Desert Island’s rocky coast doesn’t get any better than at Thunder Hole.  This stretch of coastline on the east side of the island, just north of Otter Point, provides the opportunity for kids and adults to play on huge boulders that are constantly assaulted by the pounding Atlantic.  But the most noteworthy attraction at Thunder Hole is one you can hear, as well as see.

Even on a clear day, you’ll swear it’s thundering here.  It’s because of this narrow inlet.  Waves crash and boom as they wash in, then churn around, inside this narrow chasm.  The thunder can be heard all along this part of the coast.

This was as close as I could get to Thunder Hole.  The walkway that ran along the edge was closed.  I don’t know if it was a temporary measure, or permanent, but I suspect it has something to do with the danger in being so close to the violent water.  People have been swept into the ocean at Thunder Hole, including one incident in 2009, where a 7-year-old girl died (here’s the story).

Watch videos like this one on YouTube, and you can see why it’s a bad idea to get too close to Thunder Hole on a stormy day.

In addition to Thunder Hole itself, you also have a good view south, towards Otter Point…

… and to the north.

During my 3-day visit to Acadia National Park, I made two stops at Thunder Hole.  The second was before sunrise.  I had hoped that the coastline near Thunder Hole would provide a good place to watch the day begin, and I was right.

If you manage to get here in time for the sunrise, don’t be surprised if you find a dozen people with tripods have already arrived.  I navigated past the other photographers and staked out a nice view of the eastern sky.  Just as the sun peeked over the horizon…

… a cruise ship drifted by.

Once it was out of the way, the sun was up…

… and I could enjoy the pink hues hitting the coastal boulders.  This view looks north…

… and this one faces south.

I headed down the coastline just a few hundred feet for a better view of Otter Point.  This is where the park’s loop road makes a dramatic curve around the edge of the peninsula.

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