Beech Mountain is located on the west side of Mount Desert Island in Acadia National Park, sparing it from the usual crowds that swarm the peaks around the Park Loop Road. Still, Beech Mountain is a popular hike due to the many access points and routes to the summit, as well as the spectacular views that can be found there. At its peak, a nationally registered historic fire tower perches. The fire tower is no longer in operation, and it is rarely open to the public. Still, it’s a worthy destination.
The easiest access to the fire tower is along a loop trail from the Beech Hill Parking Area. The trail is 1.2 miles round trip, incorporating a steep climb with several stunning views with a more gradual descent along an open cliff. From the parking area, head northwest into the woods along the Beech Mountain Trail. Then turn left to begin the climb, first over boulders and natural steps, then to bare bedrock. An overlook offers a welcome respite before the trail dives into the trees once again, reaching the fire tower soon after.
The steel fire tower currently standing was erected in 1962 and manned sporadically until 1976; however, the original fire tower was made of wood, erected in 1941 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, and used until the mid 1950s. Now it’s usually closed above the second flight of steps, but it still offers panoramic views.
When leaving the firetower, be sure to follow the trail down to the west rather than the much longer trail down the ridge to the south. The ridge trail ends several miles south, near Long Pond. The 0.7-mile trail to the west parallels a rocky cliff band with great views of Long Pond on the way back to the Beech Hill Parking Area. This route is more gradual than the climb, but it also features more loose rocks.