Beehive Trail Acadia National Park

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Visiting Acadia National Park? Looking for an adventurous hike? Want some beautiful views of Sand Beach and the surrounding ocean? Look no further than hiking the Beehive Trail.

water views from beehive mountain.

About The Mountain

Standing with an elevation change of 520 feet, The Beehive is a respectable mountain that overlooks Sand Beach. When standing in the Sand Beach parking lot, this is the predominant feature you will notice when looking back to the mountains.

Hiking The Beehive is certainly one of Acadia’s most difficult hikes. It features rock scrambling, iron rungs, and steep granite staircases.

Be cautious if you are going to attempt hiking the trail with family. This is especially true if you plan to hike The Beehive trail with young or inexperienced hikers. This was the one mountain that I did not hike with my 6 month old daughter.

In addition, hiking up to the summit is a one way trail and can be narrow at times. If you are afraid of heights, sheer cliffs, granite steps, I would advise you to not do The Beehive Trail.

When I did my first trip on the trail, a woman had to be rescued due to a panic attack. Her oldest son had to help get the smaller children off of the mountain. I had to wait on the side of the mountain for almost an hour. Don’t be that person holding up everyone’s day!

If in doubt, take the Bowl Trail to The Beehive summit. The family friendly bowl trail will allow you to still spend some quality time with the family and enjoy the beautiful views surrounding The Beehive.

mountain and water views beehive.

Where to Park

If possible, I recommend parking at the Sand Beach parking lot. Note, over the summer, this lot does fill up rather quickly. The Sand Beach lot is conveniently located across the street from the Beehive trail entrance.

If the Sand Beach parking lot is full, I recommend parallel parking on Park Loop Road. When I did the hike, I had to do an extra 0.5-0.75 miles because I was parked so far down on Park Loop Road.

If you get lucky, try going a little south on Park Loop Road to the Ocean Path parking lot. You might be able to snag a spot! I had just missed a spot when I went.

Wherever you park on Park Loop Road or the Ocean Path parking lot, just take the Ocean Path along Park Loop Road to safely navigate to the trailhead.

The other option that may be convenient during the peak season would be the shuttle bus. My family and I parked at the Welcome Center and used the Sand Beach (Number 3) and Loop Road (Number 4) shuttle routes on our first day at Acadia.

The Island Explorer is a free shuttle service offered throughout Acadia National Park. I hope you have better luck than us, though! The first day that we used the shuttle one of the busses got in an accident delaying the Sand Beach route by over an hour!

pond views on hike.

The Hike

The Beehive Trail is only 0.8 miles and features an elevation gain of 520 feet of vertical climb. The Beehive trailhead starts just north of the Sand Beach parking lot.

Go up the trail to the intersection of The Beehive Trail and the Gorham Mountain Trail. When I hiked, there was a member of the National Park Service there who was super helpful with questions!

To those that are into thrilling hikes, bear right at the intersection and proceed down The Beehive Trail. This was the way I went on the way up.

To those that have small children, I recommend continuing down the Gorham Mountain Trail/Bowl Trail. This will give you a more gradual ascent to the summit. This intersection is the Bowl trailhead.

The Beehive Trail gets steep and narrow, quickly. The image below was about halfway up where the iron rungs began. This was the view I had for a considerable time while the distressed woman was being rescued off of the mountain.

water views from summit.
Beautiful views of Sand Beach from The Beehive Trail featuring some of the narrow ledges

Be careful on the metal ladders, they do get slippery in wet conditions. There are also a number of granite stairs that need to be climbed in single file. Don’t rush the person in front of you!

The last part of hiking The Beehive does feature some thrilling rock scrambling. Make sure to give the person ahead of you some extra space! The couple in front of me from Kentucky kept stepping on each other’s hands.

trees and water in the background.
One of the stunning views looking to the south at the summit toward Thunder Hole.

The Views

Be sure to enjoy the beautiful views at the summit. You get a great view of the ocean if you look north, east, or south.

I enjoyed getting some sun atop the summit while enjoying my lunch. The girl was kind enough behind me to snap this picture of me! I of course returned the favor as she was also hiking alone that day.

devon on top of beehive mountain.
The summit, looking north toward Bar Harbor featuring me!

Assuming you are heading back down the mountain, continue to the Bowl Trail. The end of the Beehive Trail will take you to ‘The Bowl’ which is where you will pick up the Bowl Trail.

If you are in a rush to get down the mountain (I needed to get back to my daughter), there is a shortcut trail that avoids going to ‘The Bowl’. Be advised, parts of the shortcut are very steep and require extra caution! I watched a little kid and his dad stumble down part of it.

Follow the Bowl Trail back to the intersection and continue down toward Park Loop Road. Like that, you are done!

Why Visit

The Beehive Trail in Acadia National Park is a must do for hiking enthusiasts. I will advise though, get to the trail early to avoid the crowds and find parking!

The trail features stunning views that Mount Desert Island has to offer. Plus, if you have never hiked with the aid of iron rungs, this is the hike to get exposed. Plus, being conveniently located next to Sand Beach, feel free to enjoy a beach day after your hike.

The views atop The Beehive will not disappoint. Just be courteous, if hiking with small children or if you are afraid of heights, ledges, and danger do the Bowl Trail to take in the beauty of The Beehive! You don’t want to have a line of people standing on the side of the cliff for an hour!

Frequently Asked Questions

How difficult is Beehive Trail Acadia?

The Beehive Trail is rated as ‘strenuous’ or ‘hard’ if using AllTrails. The steep ascent, granite stairs, and iron rungs make this a difficult hike, even for experienced hikers!

How long does it take to hike Beehive Trail Acadia?

If you go early before the crowds, The Beehive is an easy half an hour hike. However, if you get caught in the crowds (like I did), it can take over an hour!

Is Beehive Trail easy?

The Beehive Trail is not easy. It does require some skill and coordination. If you are looking for a moderate hike to The Beehive Summit, I would recommend doing the Bowl Trail.

Related

  • Take a walk on the Bar Island Land Bridge! This beautiful spot is only about a mile from Acadia!
  • Visit Branch Lake in Ellsworth, Maine! This lake is only about an hour from Acadia National Park!
  • If you’re looking to enjoy some more of Maine’s nature, be sure to check out Monroe Falls!

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11 Comments

    1. All types of hikers can do The Beehive! Don’t be convinced otherwise πŸ™‚ A half hour hike though is to be expected with seasoned hikers who have the stamina to do the quick ascent! The 1.5 mile loop trail averages just under an hour across a broad group of hikers. Thank you regarding the images!

  1. We had a very short time to explore Acadia National Park when we visited, so it was fun to climb the Beehive Trail via your post and pics. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Beehive Trail is a great one to do for those in a rush! It is short distance, quick, and you get spectacular views! That is the exact reason I did it when I did. I only had a short amount of time to hike before I had to go tend to my daughter again in Bar Harbor! I can only pawn off my daughter to my parents for so long πŸ™‚

  2. The views on BeeHive Trail at Acadia are fantastic! I’d probably end up doing the Bowl Trail with my kids since it is a easier.

    1. Take the Bowl Trail up and get the same summit pictures. Who is going to know the difference of how you got up there? The views are worth it πŸ™‚ Be careful if you take the shortcut though from the Bowl Trail with the little ones! It does get very steep in either direction!

  3. Gosh, it looks like a deceptively tough trail, good to read your notes on how hard of a hike it actually is. When you need to scramble up rocks and iron rungs, it’s definitely not for the faint-hearted or those without stamina and skill. The views look epic though!

    1. Absolutely! Be sure to bring boots (or other footwear) that has good grips! You will definitely need it for the scrambling and iron rungs! Totally worth it for the views though if you can get through it πŸ™‚

  4. What a view you get on the Beehive Trail! It’s too bad it’s rated as one of Acadia’s most difficult hikes. The fact that it features rock scrambling, iron rungs, and steep granite staircases might deter the novice hiker. But definitely can see that’s it worth it in the end. Thanks for sharing the tips on when to go, the difficulty level and parking.

    1. Thank you! Totally worth it! The views on the majority of the hike up are amazing! All of the stunning views made the wait for the rescue ahead of me a little more bearable πŸ™‚

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