(Strenuous hiking, 0.5 miles one-way)
The steep pink cliffs of The Beehive loom impressively over Sand Beach on the east side of Mount Desert Island in Acadia National Park, rising to nearly 500 feet above sea level. Hikers tackling the steep grades and iron rungs and ladders of the popular path are rewarded with fabulous summit vistas of Great Head, Frenchman Bay and Schoodic Peninsula, as well as Ocean Drive and Otter Cliff.
The trailhead for The Beehive is located on the Park Loop Road just opposite the entrance to Sand Beach, where parking is available. The Island Explorer shuttle bus serves Sand Beach and many other popular stops along the Park Loop Road.
The Beehive Trail leaves the road and climbs quickly and easily to a junction. Bear right here onto the Beehive Trail and begin climbing steadily to reach the base of the cliff wall. Above, the trail switchbacks up the slope of pink granite rocks and ledges, where a series of iron rungs and ladders aids hikers in the ascent. It’s an airy hike that is both challenging and fun. Most hikers take about 30 minutes to get to the top.
From the summit of The Beehive, it’s a short walk west down to The Bowl, a scenic pond tucked into the mountainside. It’s worth the effort and makes a fine loop hike of about 1.5 miles total.