Hiking the Beehive Trail in Acadia National Park (Full Guide!)

Last Updated on October 4, 2022 by admin

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.

Things to do in Acadia National Park, Beehive Trail
View from the Beehive Trial


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About Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is comprised of 3 primary regions:

  • Mount Desert Island (MDI): This is the main area of Acadia National Park. Although it is an island, you can drive directly into the park. Most of the park’s most popular attractions are on Mount Desert Island. The Beehive Trail is located on Mount Desert Island.
  • Schoodic Peninsula: This is the only portion of Acadia National Park that is on the mainland. It’s typically less busy than Mount Desert Island, as it’s across the water from the main portion of the park. (That means you need to take a longer drive to reach it.)
  • Isle au Haut: This island is accessed only by a year-round passenger ferry. You can catch the ferry at Stonington, which will then take you to Isle au Haut. The ferry ride is approximately 45 minutes long.

In addition to the 3 regions listed above, the town of Bar Harbor is located adjacent to Acadia National Park. Most visitors seek lodging or dining options in Bar Harbor after a busy day at Acadia.

Check out our full guide of 22 things to do in Acadia National Park here!


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. 

Rain in the forecast? See our list of things to do in Acadia National Park when it rains here.

About the Beehive 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. 

Things to do in Acadia National Park, Beehive Trail
Iron rungs for a steep ascent along the Beehive Trail


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.

Hiking the Beehive Trail with a view of Sand Beach
View of Sand Beach from the summit of Beehive


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.

safety at Beehive Trail
Hike safely and responsibly


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.

Things to Do in Acadia National Park, Beehive Trail
A narrow path along the cliff face at the Beehive Trail


Some portions of the Beehive Trail have narrow bridges as well.

Hiking the Beehive Trail
Here I’m hugging the rock wall as I carefully cross the bridge. You can also see that the trail can be crowded!


There are also portions of the trail where you may have to climb up smaller rocks without the use of iron rungs.

Hiking the Beehive Trail
Climbing up the trail


As you near the top, there’s more granite to climb.

Hiking Beehive Trail in Acadia National Park
Almost to the summit!


The summit of the Beehive Trail is at 520 feet above sea level. Enjoy the views of coastal Maine!

Hiking Beehive Trail in Acadia National Park
View from the summit!


Once you’re at the top, enjoy a bit of a rest. There are plenty of rocks to sit on at the top.

Hiking the Beehive Trail at Acadia National Park

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 at the Beehive Trail in Acadia National Park
The Bowl is not far from the Beehive summit


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!

The Bowl at the Beehive Trail at Acadia National Park
Quiet spot to sit at The Bowl


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.


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. You can read more about Leave No Trace principles here.
  • 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. You can purchase a first aid kit here.
  • Pack the 10 Essentials when you’re out hiking. (You can find a full list of what those 10 essential items are here.)
  • 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. I’ve linked one here.
  • 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 Trail

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 Bowl pond. Even though it was a short hike, there was plenty to see every step of the way!

Things to do in Acadia National Park, Sand Beach
The water at Sand Beach was frigid!

What to Pack With You

Here are a few things that we recommend that you pack with you for your trip:

  • Selfie stick and tripod: You’ll be able to take photos of yourself and/or your whole family with the most stunning backdrops. 
  • Plenty of water: Make sure you bring enough water to stay hydrated.
  • First aid kit: Always hike with a first aid kit and the 10 essentials. (We have a list of the 10 essentials here.)
  • Sun protection: Much of the trail is exposed, so make sure that you have adequate sun protection. We usually pack a hat and sunscreen.
  • Power bank: While you’re out on the trails, make sure that your phone doesn’t run out of battery. We always travel with one or even two power banks fully-charged just-in-case!
  • New England guide book: New England is a stunning place to visit, and this guide book gives you an overview of the entire region. 
  • Camera: If you don’t have one already, pack a nice camera to really take advantage of the spectacular scenery.
  • Waterproof hiking boots: You’ll want to explore the forest trails, and with a pair of waterproof hiking boots you won’t have to worry about mud. I’ve been using the Columbia brand for years and have loved my pair. My boots have taken me all over the USA, and I even hiked the Inca Trail with them in Peru! I’ve linked a pair for women here, and a pair for men here.
  • Acadia Guide Book: Lonely Planet has an excellent guide book that covers Maine and Acadia National Park. It’s a great resource as you prepare for your trip!


(Click on the above images for current pricing and shipping information.)

Where to Stay Near Acadia National Park (Best Hotels!)


We recommend that you stay at least one night near Acadia National Park, so that you can make the most of your trip. The closest town to Acadia is Bar Harbor, and there’s a lot of really charming hotel properties in the town. Here’s a few hotels to consider:

  • Saltair Inn: This waterfront bed and breakfast is one of the most picturesque inns I have seen. The home was first built in 1887 and has beautiful views of Frenchman Bay.
  • Bar Harbor Grand Hotel: This hotel is a replica of the historic Rodick House, which was one of the early grand hotels in the area.
  • Bar Harbor Inn & Spa: Portions of this hotel date back to the 1800s. This historic hotel is right on the coast. 
  • The Inn on Mountain Desert: This is one of the newer hotels in Bar Harbor (built in 2018). The inn is located in downtown and is in a very walkable area.

For a full list of lodging options near Acadia National Park, click here.

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.

pinterest pin, Beehive Trail in Acadia National Park
Pin for later!


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