The Beech Cliff Trail is a spectacular getaway for the adventurous on the relatively quiet west side of Mount Desert Island in Acadia National Park. Several ladders and the winding cliffside trail lead to excellent overlooks of Echo Lake as well as the bays and open ocean to the south of the island. The trail easily links to the Beech Mountain network with access to the Beech Mountain Firetower, but most people complete a short loop by turning left at the top to follow the Canada Cliffs Trail.
Begin at the Echo Lake Beach parking area. The start of the trail is at the north end of the parking loop near a private residence. The trail begins climbing quickly, leading up stone steps to an overlook of Echo Lake. From here the trail continues climbing at a moderate place as it switchbacks up stone steps and along cliff walls.
Soon hikers will reach the first ladder. It's about 8 feet tall, and it is just a taste of what's to come. If it makes you uncomfortable, it is best to turn back now and use the Canada Cliffs Trail to access the top instead. If the first ladder leaves you unfazed, continue climbing to find several more ladders bolted to the cliffside.
At the top of a two-tiered ladder, the views open up. Enjoy the well earned views of Echo Lake to the east and those of the many bays of Mount Desert Island to the south before turning left to begin the gradual descent down the Canada Cliffs Trail. Along the way the Beech Mountain Fire Tower will be visible as well as several more views of the ocean in the south. The Canada Cliffs Trail eventually reaches the south end of the Echo Lake Beach parking area.
Alternatively, follow the trail to the right to drop into the Beech Mountain parking area, providing access to the Beech Mountain Fire Tower. You can link back into the Canada Cliffs Trail at the end of one of those loops.