Otter Cliffs are a series of natural sea cliffs located just off the loop road in Acadia National Park. They are excellent for climbers of all skill levels, with routes ranging in difficulty from 5.5 to 5.12. There is an access trail leading from the loop road to the top of the cliffs, where you can build your own anchor point or use one of several permanently installed ones. Seeing as how the cliffs are within Acadia National Park, there are some regulations in effect such as you can't have more than 12 people in a group, and you can't bring a dog.
The Cliffs, which are about 60 feet high, descend to a little ledge just above the water. You begin your climb by rappelling down to this ledge. You then climb back up the cliffs, belayed from above. Even though the climb is fairly short, the views are spectacular. These are great cliffs for the beginning climber, as they are not too difficult, but astoundingly beautiful and very exciting. The hard part is rapelling down! Because all of the routes at Otter Cliffs are close to each other, there is no need to hike a long distance between climbs. Be sure to check out Wonder Wall (5.6), A Dare By the Sea (5.10) and The Great Chimney (5.5).
Overall, the cliffs offer something for everyone. They are in a beautiful spot, have many routes in a small area, and present a good introduction for the beginner climber and a genuine challenge for the veteran.
***Note: a few weeks ago, (July 2008) there was a massive rock fall at the cliffs. The folks at Acadia National Park have closed certain sections of Otter Cliffs pending a safety inspection. Call the park office (207-288-3338) before you go or Acadia Mountain Guides (888-232-9559) to get the most up to date information.
From Bar Harbor, take Rt. 3 south for 3-4 miles to a left turn onto Otter Cliff Rd. When Otter Cliff rd. ends at the Park Loop Rd., turn right and park at the first parking lot on the right. Cross the Loop Rd. and go down a flight of Stone stairs to the climbers trail that runs parallel to the ocean. you'll see the cliffs on the right. When you are finished climbing, continue on the loop Rd. for 1/4 of a mile then turn right, drive through a picnic area, then turn left on to Otter Cliff Rd. to retun to Route 3.
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