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The Beehive Loop
Acadia National Park, Maine

The Beehive Trail is not for those afraid of heights, nor for those weak of heart or limb, but you can’t beat this 1.8 mile loop for breath-taking, cliff-hanging views, and when I say cliff-hanging I mean that literally! With the help of steel rungs, and strategically placed steel grating, the hiker can scale this beehive-shaped mountain for an adrenaline fueled adventure. The Beehive, a 520 foot pink granite dome overlooking Sand Beach, is a popular hike in Acadia National Park. The hike starts out gently enough, climbing gradually up a boulder strewn trail—eventually, at the 0.2 mile marker, you reach a fork in the trail, from here take a right to climb the sheer cliff face. You will know you are on the right trail when you see the sign that reads: “Caution: Trail steep with Exposed Cliffs and Steel Rungs,” which emphasizes the danger associated with this climb. From this point, turn right and follow the cairns and blue blazes as you make your way toward the Beehive—almost immediately you will start your climb—get ready! Your first test will be a steel bridge, much like a cattle grate, that you must walk over as you peer down the side of the cliff. The views just get better the higher you go, but if you aren’t too afraid of heights to look from here, you can see Sand Beach far below. Your next obstacle to overcome will be to climb up the iron rungs, using them as both hand and footholds—these can be intimidating, but they are a blast to climb! If you just take your time, and carefully climb, you will be at the top in no time—you are now 0.5 miles into the hike and you can safely take in the summit panorama without feeling like you are going to fall off the edge. Indeed, the views from the summit are excellent—along with Sand Beach, you can see Frenchman Bay and the Porcupine Islands, also visible are Champlain Mountain and Cadillac Mountain—take it all in as you bask in the Maine sun. If you are really adventurous you can return the way you came, or you can just continue on the loop towards The Bowl—a gorgeous lake worth a visit. The Bowl is reached at the 1 mile marker and at this beautiful location wildlife and superb scenery abound—frogs can be seen lounging on lily pads, and beaver dams dot the landscape. Rest at the lake for awhile, and then pick up the Bowl Trail to head back to the Sand Beach Parking Lot for a total hike of 1.8 miles.

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