The Beehive Trail is one of Acadia National Park’s “iron rung” trails meaning it is mostly a non-technical rock climb up the Beehive cliffs with the assistance of iron rungs in the rock places there by the NPS. The nearby Precipice Trail is similar but involves more rock scrambling, higher cliffs, and is all around scarier but sadly it was closed due to peregrine falcon nesting when we last visited in July. The falcons don’t seem to like the Beehive cliffs though which is good for me since the Beehive is one of my favorite hikes! My only complaint is that it isn’t longer at two miles round trip (only .5miles or so is climbing).
We had just been at Sand Beach and walked across the street to the Beehive trailhead to begin our hike. It was a beautiful summer day on the Maine coast and the greens of the trees and blues of the water were vibrant as ever in the afternoon sun. Last time I hiked this trail was in the peak of Maine’s fall leaf season and the whole place was lit up with reds, oranges, and purples that glowed on the mountains. One day I hope to visit Acadia in the dead of winter to experience it in all seasons. But anyways the trailhead marker is a small stump with words carved into it and the trail starts off very rocky and uphill.
Soon we reached a fork in the road in the shape of a circle with hard granite sticking out of the dirt. A sign pointed left and a sign pointed right toward the Beehive and that’s the way we headed. Soon there is a sign warning of the dangers of climbing Beehive and it includes the fact that multiple people have fallen to their deaths on these cliffs.
With this grave news the Beehive pokes up through the trees looming as a high up peak with little ant-like people on its face. The reason it is called the Beehive is evident with this view.
The trail doesn’t take any time getting to the climbing and pretty soon we were waiting behind an old lady stuck 3 feet up with her family telling her she probably should sit out of this hike. After they talked her down we carried on upwards with some big rocky steps and a couple iron rungs. After the first few sets of iron rungs a view opens up of sand beach and the bay where we had just been. The water a deep blue that shone in the afternoon sun.
From here we climbed up several sets of iron rungs before crossing a small wooden bridge sticking out of the side of the cliff. The views here are great.
After the bridge we turned a corner and after a few more iron rungs we were up at the rocky top of the mountain with amazing views of Mt. Desert Island all around.
After we took in all the great views we went over the top of the mountain to reach the return trail. The return trail takes you down quickly with a bunch of steps cutting through the aspen forest. It felt like no time before we returned to the fork and then soon we were back at the trailhead and ready for the next hike.
I love the Beehive Trail! It is so fun and unique with great views! If you ever have the chance to visit Acadia I would highly recommend the Beehive trail.
Thanks! – Josh
I took this picture on Table Rock in western Maine last year. The orange trees seem to go on forever and they glowed in the sunlight as I hiked along with them! I have a very fond memory of sitting on this rock all alone enjoying the view and eating peanut butter crackers. It doesn’t get much better than that!
It’s a great feeling soaking in the views on a mountain top or over looking a scenic vista. I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorites over the next few Friday’s.
This one is the view from the top of Champlain Mountain in Acadia National Park in Maine. The autumn colored leaves against the dark blue water of the Atlantic Ocean is mesmerizing.
If you would like to read about the hike to the top of Champlain Mountain on the Precipice Trail please follow this link: https://bighorntravelblog.com/2016/11/20/sunday-hikes-precipice-trail/.
As always, thanks for reading. rk
Coastline of Acadia National Park
Acadia is a gorgeous national park set on the coast of Maine. I think the best times to go are in the fall where you can see the leaves change color. That is also a popular time in the park so plan your travel arrangements ahead of time. There are several nice hotels in Bar Harbor, but if you want to stay in the park you will be camping. Blackwoods Campground is a nice convenient location and is where I stayed during my last visit. On previous visits, I had used hotel points to stay in Bar Harbor.
View from the top of the Precipice Trail
Start your day early with quick exhilarating hikes at Precipice Trail and Beehive Trail. They are both on the east side and more heavily traveled part of the island. The views from the tops of these trails are amazing. Go from there to see the waves crash at Thunder Hole (if you catch the tides right you will hear why it is called Thunder Hole) and then a short distance to the magnificent views from Otter Point.
Grab brunch and those delicious popovers and jam at Jordan Pond and then shoot over to the less traveled west side of the island. Go straight to the Perpendicular Trail to test your endurance and be rewarded with a bird’s eye view over the west side of the island. You can also see the Cranberry Islands off the coast. From there it is a quick drive to the Bass Harbor Lighthouse. By this time, you should be ready for a late lunch of lobster rolls at Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound. This is a road side shack between Bass Harbor and Seawall.
Bass Harbor Lighthouse
Drive back across the island now to Bar Harbor and at low tide cross over to Bar Island. During low tide a path to this island emerges from the ocean. A quick hike to the peak of Bar Island overlooks the town of Bar Harbor where you can try and spot where you want to get dinner that night. You have only about a 3-hour window to get across and back, but that is plenty of time. Finish the afternoon with some shopping in Bar Harbor and dinner at Paddy’s Irish Pub or one of the other great restaurants in town. Finish the day with a couple Mexican Hot Chocolate’s to go from Choco-Latte and a drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain to see the stars come out.
View of Bar Harbor from Bar Island at Low Tide
You should sleep well and probably late after that busy day. Before leaving Acadia the next morning, grab a late breakfast at Two Cats. I recommend the lobster omelet there. I hope you enjoy your trip.
Acadia National Park near Thunder Hole
The Precipice Trail in Acadia National Park in Maine is really more of a non-technical climb than a hike. I was emboldened to hike this trail with Josh since I had managed to survive Angel’s Landing in Utah earlier this year. If you haven’t read my and Josh’s version of events on that hike, then I encourage you to go back and read them. Precipice is a one-way trail only .9 miles long. You return via one of several other trail options.
We had camped in the Blackwoods Campground near the trailhead for the Precipice Trail. The trailhead is off of the Park Loop Road. We were up at daylight and quickly drove over and parked on the side of the road and began the ascent. After entering the woods, we hit a first “test” of a few iron rungs and a climb up onto a big rock. It wasn’t a big deal, but you could imagine how it could be scary it when you are much higher up. We then quickly entered a rock scramble where we had to go over, under, and between giant boulders. This was fun, but not a traditional trail. We followed the blazes painted on the rocks.
As we negotiated some minor iron rungs and cliff faces, I remarked to Josh that this trail wasn’t nearly as scary as I feared. Unfortunately, I had just spoken too soon as we hit a rock face with a vertical ascent. Josh quickly climbed to the top and encouraged me to follow. I slowly went up the rungs and counted them as I went as a distraction. 26 iron rungs straight up. I took a deep breath and pulled myself up onto the ledge. That took a massive effort. Now I had a two foot wide ledge with a rock face on one side and a plummet on the other. As I navigated this, I came to an obstruction. There was a large rounded rock with the trail wrapped around it. The ledge was about six inches wide. There were grooved places in the round rock to place your hands as you go around it. I sat there for awhile flummoxed. This is a one-way trail so you can’t go back and I couldn’t go forward without risking certain death. Finally, I just plunged ahead and wiggled around the rock and continued on.
After that tight spot, the rest of the ladders didn’t seem so bad and we quickly ascended the summit of Champlain Mountain. The view was awe inspiring. You can see the Atlantic and various islands off of the coast. After a snack and several minutes soaking in the view. We took the Champlain North Ridge Trail back down.
The bang for your buck on this trail is huge. It’s a quick hike with gorgeous views. If you are at Acadia National Park, I recommend this hike.