Perkins Cove, ME – Marginal Way

Hardy hikers often imply that Ogunquit’s Marginal Way is a walk for old ladies. True, the path that winds along the rocky shore is neatly paved and the treacherous cliffs are, in places, safely fenced. There are 30 memorial benches on which to rest and a fake lighthouse at the halfway point. And the path does lead, conveniently, from the downtown shopping area to the once-quaint fishing village in Perkins Cove, now an outdoor mall of jewelry, clothing and candle boutiques. And yes, a lot of white-haired ladies in boldly-printed sweatshirts do make the hike, so many, in fact, that in summer the scenic walk is wall-to-wall tourists with their arms full of purchases.

But they go away in the fall and the ocean doesn’t. In fall the air along the Atlantic is super crisp, the parking is plentiful and free, and dogs are allowed on the trail from now until spring. If you keep your eyes focused out to sea and not on the manicured lawns of the hotels, there is no more dramatic sights in New England.

The trail is just a mile and a quarter long, but there’s at least an added quarter mile from the beach parking lot, if you start there. Walk the whole loop back down Shore Road – the trolley only runs in summer – and you’ve hiked nearly three miles.


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