I spent the past six days at Acadia National Park, an absolute gem in the US National Park system. If you love the outdoors, you have to go.
It was an annual camping trip with my son Ryan (13) and our third consecutive year at Acadia. We were determined to explore the Park further than we had in the past, so at the behest of a friend, we sought out Anemone Cave to see and photograph it.
I had heard about it through a friend at my office. Anemone Cave is most accessible at low tide. Essentially, you can walk right in. But at high tide, its completely flooded. If you get there as the tide is coming in, you can be easily trapped if you linger too long. Too many times, the Coast Guard had to be called in to rescue lingering sea cave spelunkers. For this reason, Anemone Cave is no longer listed in any of Acadia National Park’s literature.
My friend gave me a good idea of where it is: “near a scenic overlook, not far from Sand Beach.” We found it. It is near the Schooner Head overlook, just off of the Park Loop Road, before you get to the Ranger Station on the road.
In spite of the fact that its no longer listed, it was clear that the cave is no secret. We arrived in mid morning, as the tide was coming in, but still a couple of hours from low tide. The rocks at Schooner Head were teeming with people, but only a few were in the cave. Ryan and I popped in quickly, looked around and decided to come back at another time. This was merely a scouting mission. We checked the tide chart (there’s an App for that) and decided to return at dusk, as the tide was going out.
When we arrived, we were the only people there. That was the good news. The bad news, with the sun on the other side of the island, the rocks were still pretty slick from high tide. Climbing into the cave with a bulky tripod and camera gear, with darkness coming and nobody else around (in case we fell) probably wasn’t the best idea. Instead, I shot a few brackets of the mouth of the cave at sunset from a rock ledge (coming soon).
We checked the tide chart and decided to come back in the morning, again, as the tide was going out. The third time was a charm. The only people who were in the cave when we got there were leaving, so for 10 or 15 minutes we had the cave to ourselves. I shot a few brackets and we left, climbing carefully along the damp rocks.
As luck would have it, it started raining about 20 minutes after we left. I’m not sure I would gave climbed into the cave, across wet rocks with rain pouring down on me.
Its at the end or the Schooner Head road, at the Schooner Head parking lot. A narrow paved path winds through woods to the cliffs overlooking the ocean. When the trail reaches the cliffs, your pretty much standing on the roof of the cave. Most people approach the cave from the right side, and I have seen some close calls of people falling. You want to approach the cave entrance from the left, follow the rough trail along the top of the cliffs until it comes to a long downward gully heading back in the direction of the cave. The gully ends by the mouth of the cave, and this is the safest way to reach the cave. The floor of the cave is very slippery. On youtube, under AcadiaNationalPark75, I have a video of the cave, I also have a video of an old bear cave in Acadia National Park as well.