Thunder Hole in Acadia

Thunder Hole is the place in Acadia National Park to experience the thunder of the sea against the rocky shores of Maine! On calm days you may wonder what the fuss is all about. But wait until the waves kick up a few notches. Thunder Hole is a small inlet, naturally carved out of the rocks, where the waves roll into. At the end of this inlet, down low, is a small cavern where, when the rush of the wave arrives, air and water is forced out like a clap of distant thunder. Water may spout as high as 40 feet with a thunderous roar! Hence the name: Thunder Hole.

Thunder Hole GPS for Parking: Latitude 44.321011; Longitude -68.189330

Accessibility: Upper level viewing area, restrooms and parking is wheelchair accessible.

Wonderful Views!

This spot also offers gorgeous panoramic views of Otter Cliff, on the right or south side, Schoodic Peninsula in the far distance, and Sand Beach and Great Head to the left or to the north. Thunder Hole is a great place to stand and watch or sit and relax, taking in the spectacular sights, sounds and smells. One of the pleasant things that greets you upon arrival, depending upon the time of year, is the aroma of wild roses. Right next to the stairs that lead down to the ocean, are large groupings of wild roses or rose hips. Rose hips are a potent source of vitamin C, at least until they become dry or are processed. Note: The Island Explorer Shuttle Bus stops here about every half hour during normal seasonal daytime hours. The last bus leaves at 6:58 P.M. Check their schedule to verify.

Thunder Hole at sunrise on December 25.
Thunder Hole in Acadia during early March

Next To Ocean Path

There is a 3 mile or 3.8 km (round-trip) long ocean side walking trail called Ocean Path that begins at the Sand Beach upper parking lot directly to the north of here and follows the eastern coastline of Mount Desert Island in a southerly direction past Thunder Hole and then continues until it reaches Otter Cliff to the south. You should consider doing this walk as it is highly recommended for its unrivaled coastal beauty on the eastern seaboard of the continental United States. The Park Loop Road follows in the same direction but is one-way on this side of the island. If needed, there is an exit and entrance road on the right just before reaching Otter Cliff.

Use Caution

When there is a storm nearby, even when it is many miles out-to-sea, exercise extreme caution. The rough seas combined with rogue waves can be very dangerous when near the shoreline, even when 100 feet away. Always remain vigilant and stay informed by listening to the radio and checking with the National Park Service. Always make sure that children are supervised and close-at-hand. Rogue waves can and do happen as it did tragically in 2009 when Hurricane Bill was over 300 miles out-to sea. The photo to the right shows one of these monster waves.

Hulls Cove Visitor Center GPS: Latitude 44.409286; Longitude -68.247501

Large crashing wave at Thunder Hole

Thunder, Roar or Whimper

Greg A. Hartford, photographer, author, publisherOne of the most recognized names associated with Acadia National Park is “Thunder Hole.” Upon hearing the name for the first time, it generates a series of questions, perhaps even a chuckle or two. Eventually, the name morphs into a de facto description of the power of the sea that exists on the coast. As a professional photographer and artist, it is one of the best places to capture a variety of visually powerful images on most any day. Having visited here over the span of many decades, I have witnessed what can happen from a dead calm during twilight, all the way to there being extremely rough and unpredictable seas caused by a hurricane. Many people have visited here either when the tide was not right, or the ocean was relatively calm, and left wondering what the big deal was about. Believe me, it does happen. Even big lions are quiet after being fed.

Acadia and Bar Harbor Resource Guide