This impressive pink granite escarpment rises more than 500 feet above Sand Beach on the eastern edge of Mount Desert Island. The half-mile Beehive Trail to the top is one of the most popular hikes in Acadia National Park; it leaves from the Park Loop Road directly opposite the parking area for Sand Beach. The airy summit of The Beehive offers wonderful views of Sand Beach, Great Head, Ocean Drive, Otter Cliffs and the myriad islands of Frenchman Bay.
The Beehive hike is a challenging climb, with iron rungs and ladders used as aids in several spots, so hikers should be prepared for some exciting exposure. As a bonus, a short distance by foot down the backside of The Beehive is found The Bowl, a pretty mountain pond and a fine spot for swimming and picnicking. This route from The Bowl makes a good alternative route to the summit for anyone with a fear of heights.
The scenic beauty of The Beehive can easily be enjoyed from below by simply walking out onto Sand Beach or by strolling down the Ocean Path parallel to the Park Loop Road. One actually need only step out of the car anywhere along Ocean Drive and look north for a good view of the steep walls of the beehive-shaped dome.
To reach The Beehive: From the Hulls Cove Visitor Center, drive south on the Park Loop Road for 9 miles. From the center of Bar Harbor at the intersection of Cottage and Main streets, travel south on Route 3 for about 4 miles. Just before The Tarn, turn right at the sign marking the entrance to Acadia National Park. Follow signs through the Sieur de Monts Spring area to the Park Loop Road. Take this one-way road south for another 3 miles, passing through the Sand Beach Entrance Station en route. The Island Explorer shuttle bus serves Sand Beach and many other popular stops along the Park Loop Road.