The Beehive is a gorgeous hike that features many beautiful overlooks of Sand Beach and the surrounding area and expansive views of the Ocean. The Beehive Trail is one of the most exhilarating trails in Acadia. Its breathtaking both because of the views the effort required. It’s a vigorous hike which gains 520′ in .3 of a mile… Translation, you are literally hiking up a cliff face! This trail is not recommended for anybody with a fear of heights, small children or pets. Whenever I’m hiking this trail I like to think of the effort it must have been to build this trail on the steep south face of the mountain. The trail includes granite steps, wooden and iron bridges, iron rungs to climb up, and several handrails for exposed rock scrambling sections.
WARNING: This hike is not suitable for small children, pets, people with a fear of heights or inexperienced hikers.
The hike starts at the Bowl Trailhead just across the road from the popular Sand Beach Parking Lot. If the parking lots are full the park sometimes allows parking on right lane of the road, it will be indicated if parking is not permitted on the road. The Sand Beach area is very busy, so go early, use the Island Explorer or be prepared to wait for parking.
The Beehive trail begins innocently enough as you hike through the young forest under the Beehive. This area of the park was devastated in the infamous 1947 fire (more on that here: https://www.nps.gov/acad/learn/historyculture/fireof1947.htm). In short order you will reach the junction with the Beehive Trail where you will be able to see the imposing peak above. Follow the trail markers as it makes its way to the base of the cliff and start your scramble up the granite mountainside with the assistance of the man made granite steps, iron rung ladders, handrails, and wooden and iron bridges. This is a serious hike, not an amble through the forrest. Stay alert and be considerate of others who may be a bit nervous of the exposed cliffs and ladders. If you are a fast hiker, be sure to talk with people ahead if you’d like to pass as there is not a lot of space and many nervous people will want to be stationary if you opt to pass them. Be sure to stop and take in the views as you hike up because all to quickly the scrambling is over and you are walking to the top of the mountain finishing your hike just like any other summit.
The return trip is down the backside of the Beehive and the summit gives you great views of Enoch Mountain and Champlain Mountain to the north. The decent is much easier as you hike down towards “The Bowl,” a beautiful lake nestled in between the surrounding peaks. You’ll often find people going for a quick swim but be warned that there seem to be a lot of leeches in this lake.
To hike back just follow the bowl trail back to the trailhead.