Along the wild and rugged Atlantic coastline, amid granite peaks and abundant trees, you’ll find the crown jewel of the Northeast. Acadia National Park is an extraordinary outdoor playground. And one of the must-do things in the park is hiking the Beehive Trail. If you are looking for a memorable adventure, this is it.
Everything You Need to Know about Hiking the Beehive Trail in Acadia National Park
If Acadia National Park isn’t on your New England itinerary already, maybe this exceptional hike will seal the deal.
Here are all the details you need to know to plan your hike and don’t forget to keep reading for our detailed account and pictures below.
TIP: This hike is not recommended for small children or those with a fear of heights. BUT if you still want to take in the views, skip the Beehive Trail and hit the Bowl Trail up to the overlook as an out and back.
To complete the loop, take the Beehive Trail up and the Bowl Trail down.
Even though the Beehive is one of the best Acadia Trails, it can be dangerous due to the extreme drop-offs. Be careful and take your time.
Beehive Trail Hike Distance: 1.6-mile loop round trip.
Beehive Trail Acadia Elevation Gain: 450 feet.
Beehive Trail Acadia Difficulty: Strenuous because of the climbing and steep drop-offs that are involved.
How long does Beehive Trail Take? 1 – 3 hours. More if you take a lot of pictures like us or there are a lot of people hiking that day.
Best Time of Year: Spring through the Fall. We highly recommend hiking when the fall season arrives.
Acadia Weather: The park is open all year long with the coldest months being January, February, November, and December. The average total snowfall is 12 to 24 inches. June is the wettest month with January being the driest. Summers are hot and dry with occasional hailstorms and tornadoes. July and August are the warmest months with temperature highs between 83 and 92 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sun Exposure: All sun, barely any shade.
Pets: No pets allowed.
Parking: Sand Beach Parking Lot
RELATED: BEEHIVE TRAIL ACADIA DEATHS
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- It is a popular hike, begin early if you want to avoid the crowds.
- Is Beehive Trail open? Go to the NPS Current Conditions page to check before your visit.
- Beware of loose rocks and uneven footings.
- Do not hike when it is raining or just rained. The granite steps are smoothed out and can be slippery.
- Remember all fossils, plants, rocks, and artifacts should remain in the park and unharmed.
WHAT TO PACK AND WHAT TO WEAR: You’ll want to bring as little as possible since you’ll be scrambling up a ladder. Wear sturdy shoes (no flip-flops), carry a lightweight daypack (click to see a recommended bag) so you’ll have nothing in your hands for the climb, and put on sunscreen before you head out. For the hike, you’ll want to pack the following:
- Water (the NPS recommends two quarts per person for a two-hour hike)
- Hat and/or Sunglasses
READ NEXT: ANOTHER MUST-DO THRILLING NATIONAL PARK HIKE
What It’s Like to Hike Acadia Beehive Trail
Let’s get on it, it’s time to hike Beehive Trail – Acadia National Park! The trailhead is across the road from the Sand Beach parking area. You’ll see a crosswalk at the entrance of the lot. And don’t forget to look up, the dome of Beehive Mountain is hard to miss.
TIP: Use the restroom here because you won’t find any privacy on the trail!
Begin with a short rocky trek along a creek bed on the Bowl Trail, roughly .2 miles, before you’ll see a split on the path. Follow the arrow right toward the Beehive Trail.
Continue to the climbing section of the Beehive Trail. You’ll use iron handles (rungs), embedded into the stone, to scramble up and around granite staircases and cliff ledges as you clamber to the peak.
There are all kinds of fun obstacles. Halfway up, a set of iron bars connects an open space between two boulders.
Because of the scrambling (and picture-worthy views), the .6-miles takes longer than you’d think, but it is so worth it.
I’ll write it again because it is important – I do not recommend the Beehive Trail Acadia for anyone with a fear of heights, kids under the age of five, or an overzealous child that will not be cautious.
As you climb out of the treeline, the view of the Maine shoreline and southeast corner of Mount Desert Island becomes clearer. The Beehive Lagoon, Sand Beach, and Newport Cove look snuggled against the dense forest.
At last, you reach the 520-foot Beehive summit and will be rewarded with outstanding panoramic views.
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Take as much time as you need to soak up the views and give those shaky legs a break. It’s a good time for a snack.
The descent towards the Bowl Trail Acadia is much easier than the climb, but there’s no rush to get going. You already did the hard part, right?
When it is time, you’ll make your way down the trail and the Bowl (lake) will come into view. Once you reach it, make sure to take the spur trail to walk along the water’s edge.
And that completes the loop! Albeit a short hike, it’s a thrilling one with fantastic views, especially in the fall. If you are visiting Acadia National Park any time soon and aren’t scared to hang over steep rock ledges, we highly recommend it.
Beehive Trail Acadia Directions
How do I get to the Beehive Trail Acadia? The Beehive Trailhead is located on the east side of Mount Desert across from the Beehive Lagoon. The trailhead is about 17 minutes from the Hulls Cove Visitor Center. From there, take Paradise Hill Road through Bar Harbor to Eden Street to Schooner Head Road to the one-way Park Loop Road. Turn off Park Loop at the Sand Beach Parking area, you will find the trailhead roughly 100 feet north of the entrance to the parking lot.
Have you been to Acadia National Park? Have any other hiking spots or other favorite things to do inside the park?
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