The Beehive is the majestic peak that overlooks Sand Beach from the northwest. The hike up the Beehive Trail (aka. the Beehive Cliffs Trail) is a thrilling Acadia classic, but it is not recommended for anybody with a fear of heights. This ingenious route heads right up the steep south face of the peak and includes granite steps, iron rungs to climb up, and several handrails for exposed rock scrambling sections. Those who control their fear of heights are rewarded with incredible views of Sand Beach, Great Head, and the surrounding area.
WARNING: This hike is not suitable for small children or anybody who has a fear of heights or who isn't steady on their feet.
The hike starts at the Bowl Trailhead just across from the popular Sand Beach along the Park Loop Road. Park in the Sand Beach parking lot or in the right lane of the road as permitted. The whole Sand Beach area is very popular, so be prepared to hunt for parking, utilize the free Island Explorer Shuttle Busses, or get an early start.
|Rating:||Fairly strenuous and exposed day hike with numerous iron aides and scrambling obstacles|
|Access:||Bowl Trailhead along the Park Loop Road across from the Sand Beach parking lot|
|Time Required:||2-4 hours|
|Length:||2 miles total (up the Beehive Trail and return via the Bowl Trail)|
|Elevation Change:||450-ft elevation gain mostly along the steep Beehive Trail|
|Seasons:||Spring through fall|
Begin hiking the Bowl Trail as it makes its way through the lush forest under the Beehive. Soon enough you will reach the junction with the Beehive Trail where you will be able to see the imposing peak above. Follow the clever trail as it makes its way to the base of the peak and then works its way up faults and breaks in the granite. Manufactured steps, iron rung ladders, handrails, and other hardware (including a unique grill plank) help hikers make their way up the peak. While all of the obstacles are reasonable, there is a fair amount of scrambling and the exposure in some sections can be intimidating. If you are a fast hiker, come prepared with patience as many scared people will be taking this route slowly. But soon enough, the mountain relents and you will be standing on top of the Beehive with an incredible view of Sand Beach and the surrounding areas. The summit is a wonderful place to relax and have lunch.
Continue down the back side of the Beehive to tag the actual highpoint and get great views of Enoch Mountain and Champlain Mountain to the north. The rest of the hike is much easier as you descend the west side and head towards "The Bowl," a beautiful lake nestled in between the surrounding peaks. The Bowl is a popular place to swim but be warned that leeches like this lake as well. When you have had your fill of the lake, continue back on the Bowl Trail to complete this "lollipop" loop hike.
This is an incredible little hike with thrilling rock scrambling and stunning views. If the exposure and idea of possible crowds doesn't bother you, put this on your list of must-do Acadia hikes!