Hiking Beehive at Acadia National Park

Our thrilling journey up Beehive; Acadia’s famous rung & ladder trail

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Beehive Trail is one of two things to the people who dare attempt it. It is either the most exhilarating or the most terrifying thing they’ve ever done. For me, I fall into the first category. For my husband, well, he falls into the latter (no pun intended).

Beehive is one of Acadia National Park’s four famous rung and ladder style trails, and the second most popular. It is only about 1.5 total miles in the loop style trail, with about 500 feet in elevation gain. Essentially, this means you are climbing 500 feet in just .75 miles. And really, I do mean climbing!

woman stands on narrow rock ledge and looks at foggy views on Beehive trail

Hiking Beehive Trail

The trailhead for Beehive is located across from the Sand Beach parking area. We began this hike around three-thirty in the afternoon, as it had been raining earlier that day. Parking at this hour was EXTREMELY limited. There was no parking in the Sand Beach area, and spots to park alongside the road were few and far between. Once we finally secured a spot that fit our bus, we had to walk about a half mile to get to the trailhead.

woman hiking in woods through large rocks

The beginning of this hike is extremely deceiving. It starts off at a very gentle incline, although the trail is through a boulder field. Roughly about a .25 mile in, the fun begins!

warning sign for Beehive Trail

I honestly was terrified to do this trail. And trust me when I say, the warning sign didn’t help! If you ask anyone close to me, I hate heights. I hate elevators, I hate ladders, I don’t do rollercoasters, and I get nervous being above the fifth floor in a building. But for some reason, this hike empowered me. I was committed, and I was going to do this!

woman hiking up stairs carved into the rock face
woman hiking up metal rungs placed into rock face on Beehive trail
woman crossing metal rung bridge on side of cliff with fog in the background

If you plan on hiking Beehive Trail, be prepared for these metal rungs. If you’re not crawling on a ledge on the rock face, you’re climbing up it on these! Although they felt very securely placed into the rock, I will say that if you’re even the slightest bit nervous, they will be slippery against your sweaty palms! Or if it is raining, I would STRONGLY advise against this trail, as they would get slick very fast! Bryant and I were both extremely thankful for our hiking boots on this trail. I would highly recommend footwear with significant traction for this hike!

woman climbing up side of mountain on narrow rocky trail
woman looking at views as she walks along narrow rock ledge on Beehive trail
woman stands on narrow rock ledge and looks at foggy views on Beehive trail

Toward the top, after a fairly intense series of narrow paths and rung climbing, there is wider ledge with some incredible views. This is a great place to take a little break, and soak everything in!

foggy views from Beehive trail at Acadia National Park
Foggy views from lookout point on Beehive trail at Acadia National Park

Once you approach the summit of Beehive, the trail does begin to even out again and become easier.

woman climbs rocks to the summit of Beehive trail

Congrats! You did it! You completed the infamous Beehive Trail! The views at the summit make the whole thing worth it. Even if you didn’t appreciate the journey to the top, I’m sure you will appreciate the views!

woman stands with arms out atop clouds at summit of beehive trail
foggy view of the trees and ocean from the summit of Beehive trail at Acadia National Park
ocean and forest views from the top of Beehive trail
views of forest, ocean, and small islands from the top of Beehive trail

Thankfully, the journey down isn’t anything like the trip up! This is a loop trail, and the path down is an easy hike, without a rung or a rock ledge in sight.

Final Thoughts

Even though I was terrified to attempt Beehive Trail, and didn’t know what to expect from a rung and ladder style trail, I am SO THANKFUL I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I ended up absolutely loving this trail, and I am so excited to hike more rung and ladder trails in the future! Beehive Trail is the perfect beginner hike for those venturing into this style of trail!

Beehive Trail took us about 2.5 hours to complete. I want to say that everyone will complete this trail at their own pace. Make sure to take your time, and watch your footing! Go at the speed that feels right for you and your party, based on your skills and experience!

This is NOT a pet friendly trail! Your furry companions will have to sit this one out. There is no way a dog would be able to complete this trail with the vertical climbs, rung bridges, and narrow rock ledges.

It was very foggy when we began climbing Beehive Trail. I was nervous that our views would be hindered by the fog. We were lucky that the fog actually began to dissipate once we were at the summit. I have to say that even the views with the fog were beautiful and mysterious and I am very glad we got to experience both!

Would you hike Beehive Trail? Or is something with great views and no vertical climbs more your speed?

Make sure you check out my full guide of Acadia National Park!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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