Last Updated on January 19, 2024 by Kelly
The Beehive Loop trail is one of the most popular hikes in Acadia National Park. The trail is famous for its steep ascent (requiring iron rung ladders), narrow cliffs, and spectacular views. If you only have one day to spend at Acadia National Park, we recommend that you complete this hike.
The Beehive Trail is also near Sand Beach and the Ocean Path, so you can easily access all three points of interest within the same day.
We love hiking in national parks, and the Beehive Trail remains one of our favorite hikes of all time. The iron rungs and the views of the Atlantic Coast were highlights for us. In this post, we’ll share our guide to hiking the Beehive Trail in Acadia National Park.
How to Get to the Beehive Trail
Once you enter Acadia National Park, head to the Sand Beach parking lot. There are restrooms located at this parking lot. The parking lot is very large and can fill up quick, but there also tends to be a lot of people leaving at any given time. We recommend arriving early to grab a parking spot, but you can always wait for a spot if it’s a crowded day. Another option is to take the Island Explorer free shuttle.
To access the Beehive Trail, park at the Sand Beach parking lot. Cross the street via the crosswalk and then access the Bowl Trail. After a short walk along the Bowl Trail (.2 miles), you’ll see the trailhead for the Beehive Trail.
About the Beehive Loop Trail
The Beehive Loop Trail is 1.4 miles round trip. The hike will take you up a rounded granite peak that resembles the appearance of a beehive. The trail requires a steep ascent of 450 feet that requires the use of iron rungs and hand bars.
At the top of the Beehive Trail, you’ll be able to see Sand Beach below as well as coastal views of the Gulf of Maine.
Many people ask about safety regarding the Beehive Trail. It’s always a good idea to check out the park’s website for current conditions and to speak with a park ranger for specific recommendations. We can’t provide you specific safety advice, but we can say that the hike has portions of narrow trail with steep drop-offs. The hike also requires scrambling up the cliff face with the aid of iron rungs. The hike is generally not recommended for people with a fear of heights, small children, and during inclement weather. You know your ability level best. When in doubt, ask a park ranger.
Once you start the Beehive Trail, you’ll find that it is a steep ascent to the top. Several portions of the trail are quite narrow.
|Check out our full guide of things to do in Acadia National Park!
Some portions of the Beehive Trail have narrow bridges as well.
There are also portions of the trail where you may have to climb up smaller rocks without the use of iron rungs.
As you near the top, there’s more granite to climb.
The summit of the Beehive Loop Trail is at 520 feet above sea level. Enjoy the views of coastal Maine!
Once you’re at the top of the Beehive, enjoy a bit of a rest. There are plenty of rocks to sit on at the top.
After you’ve enjoyed your views from the summit, continue on the trail to see The Bowl. (Please note that you don’t go down the same way you came for safety reasons. Instead, the trail follows a loop.)
The Bowl is the name of the pond that sits between the Beehive and Champlain Mountain. It was a quiet and peaceful spot, and we thought it was an underrated part of the hike!
Once you’ve seen The Bowl, continue following the Bowl Trail back down to the parking lot.
It takes approximately 1 to 3 hours to hike the Beehive Trail. When we hiked the trail, it took us about 2 hours in total. That included time to take photos at the top and to sit down for a snack.
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Tips for Hiking the Beehive Trail
- First and foremost, follow Leave No Trace principles when you visit Acadia National Park. It’s important to leave the trail as you found it. Don’t litter, be sure to stay on marked trails only, and don’t feed the wildlife.
- Be sure to check out the Acadia National Park website for important updates, alerts, and trail conditions for the Beehive Trail.
- The park is well-visited. To avoid crowds, try to plan your trip for mid-week or off-peak season. It’s not a bad idea to get to the trailhead early to avoid crowds.
- Break in your hiking boots. If you have a new pair of hiking boots, be sure to wear them a bit before you head to the park. New boots can give you blisters, so you’ll want to make sure you have a comfortable pair for the Beehive Trail.
- Pack a first aid kit. If you do get a blister, you’ll want to make sure you have a bandage.
- Pack the 10 Essentials when you’re out hiking. We wrote a full article about the 10 Essentials if you’d like to learn more.
- Be sure to pack adequate hydration, food, and sun protection. Much of the hike is not well-shaded, so there is direct sun exposure.
- If you have a fear of heights, consider the Beehive Trail carefully. You’ll need to climb up the rock face using iron rungs and there are several portions of the trail that have steep drop-offs.
- Pack a power bank so you can re-charge your phone on the go. That way, you’ll be able to take plenty of pictures without having to worry.
- Download maps in advance on your phone so you can access them without cell service.
- Be flexible. Many of the parking lots fill up quickly on a busy day. Have a Plan B ready-to-go. There’s plenty to see in the park, so give yourself lots of options!
- Purchase and download the Acadia National Park Self-Guided Audio Tour. You’ll get to learn all about the park as you drive around at your own pace.
Our Adventure on the Beehive Loop Trail at Acadia National Park
When we visited Acadia, we were looking for a short hike that packed a lot of punch. The Beehive Trail was exactly what we were looking for!
We love to hike, and the Beehive Trail is one of our most favorite hiking memories. We’ve hiked the Inca Trail in Peru, Delicate Arch in Utah, and many of the local hikes in Washington State, and the Beehive Trail remains one of our favorites. The hike had a lot of unique factors: iron rungs, views of Sand Beach, views of the coast, and the bowl pond. Even though it was a short hike, there was plenty to see every step of the way!
Frequently Asked Questions About the Beehive Trail
How long does it take to hike Beehive Trail?
The Beehive Trail generally takes between 1 to 3 hours to complete. It’s a short 1.4 mile loop with a steep ascent to the summit. It took us approximately 2 hours to hike the Beehive Trail, and that included time for photos and rest.
Has anyone ever died on the Beehive Trail?
There have been fatalities on the Beehive Trail. The hike has portions of narrow trail with steep drop-offs. It’s important to have secure footing and exercise caution along the trail. The hike also has a steep ascent that requires some scrambling to the summit. There are iron rungs and hand bars to help hikers ascend the steepest parts of the trail. The trail can be dangerous during inclement weather when the granite rocks are slippery. It’s always a good idea to check current trail conditions and/or speak with a park ranger prior to departing on the hike.
Is the Precipice Trail harder than the Beehive Trail?
The Precipice Trail in Acadia National Park is a more challenging hike than the Beehive Trail. It’s a longer hike at 3.2 miles, and there’s greater elevation gain along the trail.
Can kids hike the Beehive Trail?
Parents should exercise caution when considering the Beehive Trail with young children. We cannot provide parenting or safety advice, but we do recommend that you ask a park ranger for their opinion. The hike contains portions of narrow trail with steep drop-offs, and some climbing up iron rungs is required to reach the summit. We personally wouldn’t bring young children on this hike.
What is the Beehive in Acadia National Park?
The Beehive is a rounded granite mountain in Acadia National Park. The hike to the top of the Beehive, known as the Beehive Loop Trail, is one of the most popular hikes in Acadia National Park.
Are pets allowed on the Beehive Trail?
Pets are not allowed on the Beehive Trail in Acadia National Park.
Summary of the Beehive Trail
The Beehive Trail was one of the highlights of our trip to Acadia National Park. We enjoyed the challenge of climbing up the summit, and the views from the top were spectacular! We recommend visiting Sand Beach to relax after you hike the Beehive Trail.
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