When I left off last week, my family and I had just crossed the sandbar back to Mount Desert Island from Bar Island. This was a fairly leisurely walk, and served as a nice warm-up for our next hike: The Beehive.
The Beehive trail climbs 520 feet (160 m) in 0.8 miles (1.3 km) to the top of this rock monolith that rises above Sand Beach. In my mind, this is one of the must-do hikes at Acadia (a second hike – up the Precipice trail – is apparently similarly spectacular, but is often closed to protect the nesting peregrine falcons).
That being said, this is not a hike for those with a fear of heights. My sister was less than thrilled with the steep exposures and ladder climbing that we had to navigate on our way to the top. I, on the other hand, loved it!
From the top, we could see east and south across the many islands that dot the Maine Coast, as well as north and west over the forests of Mount Desert Island.
After descending from The Beehive, we spent a few minutes cooling off at Sand Beach and then continued around the Park Loop Road on the free shuttle bus.
The next main attraction is Thunder Hole. I’m not sure how to describe it, exactly, but the shape of the rocks combined with the crashing waves often results in a rumbling sound as the water comes rushing in. Hopefully the photos below make a little more sense than my explanation just did.
Otter Point is a rocky peninsula that juts out from the southeastern tip of Mount Desert Island. At 110 feet (34 m) high, it’s a remarkably tall coastal headland, and the waves crash into the rocks with so much speed. The Maine coast is such a rugged and wild place!
It was late in the day by the time we arrived back at our campground, and we still wanted to head up Cadillac Mountain. I usually scoff at the concept of driving to the top of a mountain (after all, anyone can drive up a mountain), but we didn’t have time to hike up and down before dark. So I swallowed my snootiness and we drove the auto road to the top of Cadillac Mountain.
I’d still like to return some day and hike it, but I’m glad we were able to stand on the summit, because the views were wonderful.
At 1527 feet (465 m) Cadillac Mountain is the tallest mountain on North Atlantic seaboard. It’s also first place in the US to see the sunrise during the fall and winter months, but we visited in summer and weren’t able to witness this.
Our vehicle-aided ascent of Cadillac Mountain marked the end of our time at Acadia and, in fact, the end of our vacation.
We’d seen the bright red sand beaches of Prince Edward Island, the lush highlands of Nova Scotia, the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, and now Mount Desert Island. This was a vacation full of places we never thought we’d see, and one that I will remember with fondness in the years to come.
The Important Stuff:
- Getting there: located on Mount Desert Island off the coast of Maine
- Fees and passes: $25/car for a 7-day pass; Interagency Annual Pass accepted
- Camping: Blackwoods Campground ($30/night) and Seawall Campground ($22/night), reservations necessary in the summer. There are also some private campgrounds on Mount Desert Island
- Hiking: there are so many hikes in Acadia; the one I mentioned here is the Beehive – 1.6 miles (2.6 km) round-trip, 520 feet (160 m) elevation gain, difficult, steep, and exposed
- Other: I can’t emphasize enough how horrible the traffic was, especially on the Park Loop Road. There aren’t enough parking spaces anywhere. I recommend saving yourself a lot of hassle by biking the carriage roads or riding the free shuttles.