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Exploring Maine one hiking trail at a time

Beehive Trail, Acadia National Park


Quick Facts

Difficulty extreme
Trail Type linear
Distance 0.8 miles
Estimated Time 1 hour
Surface Type rocky cliffs
Elevation Change 456 feet
Features cliffs, views
Trail Markers blue paint
Scenary Rating must see
Maintenance Rating well maintained
Cell Reception not checked
Dog Friendly no
Fees park entrance
GPS File available on request


Looking down from the Beehive at Sand Beach in Acadia Park


The trail starts by climbing granite steps and flat granite to get to the base of the mountain. Near the base you will come to a trail junction where you will see the warning sign (see From the Sign below). Continuing straight is the Bowl Trail that takes you around the base of the mountain and steadily climbs to a pond behind the peak. Turn right at the junction and you will quickly begin to climb.

The trail to the peak is made up of a series of ledges that criss cross back and forth along the cliff face. Some of the ledges are narrow and only a few feet wide but in most places there is adequate rocks or trees to hold onto. In some more difficult places there are iron rungs to hold onto or to climb. Use extreme caution and be aware. Falling from any of these cliffs can shorten your hiking career and maybe even your life.

Once you get on the cliff face it is very difficult to pass people or come back down so make sure you are comfortable with this climb before you start. There are usually so many people on this trail that you are almost pushed up the mountain by the crowd behind you.

When you get part way up the mountain you will start to see epic views of Sand Beach and Great Head below. Near the peak the ledges open up to a granite dome that provides the best views of the landscape below. Cross the granite dome and go through a small patch of trees to find the stake that marks the peak. The peak is 520 feet (160 meters) in elevation. At the peak another large granite face opens up to the north providing views of Champlain Mountain and the bay.

Cross the granite face and enter the woods on the left to continue on the trail. The trail follows a wide ridge that has several large granite openings with views to the south. You will soon come to a trail junction. Turn left and take the quick way down to the Bowl Trail or continue straight and hike to the Bowl. The Bowl has some pretty cool views of Mount Champlain on the other side.

Continue around the bowl to the left and you will soon come to another junction. Entering the woods on the left is the other end of the Bowl Trail, and the way back to Sand Beach. Continuing around the Bowl is the Champlain Mountain Trail.


For directions to the park go to the Acadia National Park page.

This trail is probably one of the most popular in the park due to its extreme nature and proximity to Sand Beach. It may be difficult to find a parking spot near the trail head so it is recommended to use the bus system to access.

Access to the trail is almost directly across from the access road to the parking lot at Sand Beach. After entering the park on route 3 from Bar Harbor get on the park loop road (one-way). You will start to climb and have coastal views of the bay on your left. Continue past the small parking area on the right for the Precipice Trail. You will soon come to gatehouses where you need to purchase a park pass if you haven't already. For more details on park fees go here.

Half a mile from the gatehouse is the access road to Sand Beach. The Beehive Trail starts across the road from this access road. Not far past the gatehouse you will probably start to see cars parked along the road. Once the parking lot at Sand Beach is filled, cars park along the road. Remember that this is a one-way road, so you can't go back if you don't find a parking spot. On one of our visits we drove around the whole park three times to find a parking spot for the trail. Needless to say it was a bit of a frustrating ordeal so we learned to use the bus system the next day. The bus system is very easy to use, and free.


From the Sign


This trail follows a nearly vertical route with exposed cliffs that requires climbing on iron rungs.

Falls on this mountain have resulted in serious injury and death.

Small children and people with a fear of heights should not use this trail.

Hikers should comply with the following:

  • Dogs are prohibited
  • Stay on marked trail
  • Avoid hiking in dark or wet conditions
  • Avoid climbing down - use alternative return route
  • Wear sturdy hiking shoes
  • Do not throw or dislodge rocks
  • Other Trails in the Park

  • Coming soon

    • Trail Last Hiked: August 9, 2018
    • Page last updated: February 16, 2019