The Beehive Loop Trail

Acadia National Park

Downeast + Acadia, Maine

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The Beehive Loop Trail

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  • Hiking through the woods at the start of the Bowl Trail.- The Beehive Loop Trail
  • Turning onto the Beehive Trail.- The Beehive Loop Trail
  • Starting up the steep trail.- The Beehive Loop Trail
  • Great views of the ocean appear sporadically throughout the hike.- The Beehive Loop Trail
  • Several iron rung ladders assist hikers along the steeper segments of trail.- The Beehive Loop Trail
  • A boardwalk bridge on one of the more exposed sections.- The Beehive Loop Trail
  • The trail continues to steepen.- The Beehive Loop Trail
  • A final climb with great views of Sand Beach in the background.- The Beehive Loop Trail
  • The Beehive summit is only 520 feet above sea level, but every foot is earned.- The Beehive Loop Trail
  • The Bowl as seen from the descent from the Beehive.- The Beehive Loop Trail
  • Nearing the shores of the Bowl.- The Beehive Loop Trail
  • The Bowl.- The Beehive Loop Trail
  • Walking along the southwest shore.- The Beehive Loop Trail
  • Wildflowers near the Bowl. - The Beehive Loop Trail
  • Looking out on the Bowl.- The Beehive Loop Trail
  • Returning back toward the trailhead.- The Beehive Loop Trail
  • Try not to look down! Once you go up, there's no going back!- The Beehive Loop Trail
  • An informational sign warning of the dangers of hiking the Beehive Trail.- The Beehive Loop Trail
  • The early scramble up to a narrow ledge just before the iron grate floor can be the most challenging and unnerving section of the climb.- The Beehive Loop Trail
  • Sign confirming the top of Beehive Summit (520 feet). - The Beehive Loop Trail
  • You start steep switchbacks up the mountain almost immediately after the fork.- The Beehive Loop Trail
  • Hold your breath while crossing the iron grate floor early in the climb!- The Beehive Loop Trail
  • You start steep switchbacks up the mountain almost immediately after the fork.- The Beehive Loop Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Great views. Thrilling climb. No rock climbing experience necessary.
Cons: 
Can be crowded. Very exposed.
Region:
Downeast + Acadia, ME
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
450.00 ft (137.16 m)
Parking Pass: 
National Park Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Suitable for: 
Hiking
Total Distance: 
1.60 mi (2.57 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
72.00 ft (21.95 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

The Beehive is a spectacular combination of hiking and rock climbing, requiring visitors to cling to iron rungs drilled directly into bedrock as they ascend the rocky dome that looms over the southeast corner of Mount Desert Island in Acadia National Park. It’s a strenuous route with a good deal of exposure, making it unsuitable for children or visitors afraid of heights. Fortunately, these hikers can follow the Bowl Trail up and around the northwest side of the Beehive to enjoy the views as well. For anyone comfortable on the edge, the Beehive is an absolute must.

Begin hiking along the Bowl Trail, a well-trodden path through the woods that quickly reaches an intersection with the Beehive Trail. Less adventurous hikers will continue along the Bowl Trail straight ahead, first reaching the small namesake lake (the Bowl) before looping up to the summit of the Beehive. Those looking for an extra challenge can turn right onto the Beehive Trail to begin their climb.

Very quickly, the trail begins climbing the southern face of the Beehive. It switchbacks directly up the cliff, and hikers will need to use iron rungs, railings, and grates to navigate to the peak successfully. The granite face is worn smooth by wind and water, so it is imperative that this trail only be attempted in dry conditions. While no actual rock climbing skills are necessary to enjoy this hike, visitors must be comfortable with exposure.

Once you reach the top, great views of Sand Beach and many of the surrounding bays can be found. The Bowl comes into view as you begin your gradual descent, and a short spur leads to its pleasant shores. Continue along the southwest shore to connect back to the trailhead or follow signs for Gorham Mountain for a longer loop.

Although it's only 1.6 miles round trip, the strenuous nature of this hike (and the occasional traffic jam) means visitors will want to budget one to two hours for this hike. Only uphill travel is allowed on the Beehive Trail, so once you start, you must commit to finishing the route.

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Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(1 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(18 within a 30 mile radius)

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