Hiking in Acadia: The Beehive and Penobscot Mountain Trail

June 24, 2018

Eleven years ago, my family took a trip to Maine. Most of the trip remains blurry in my mind, but one thing that still stands out vividly is the desire I had to hike a trail called “The Beehive.” Prone to adventure-seeking from the time I was little, I had spotted glimpses of the Beehive Trail online and desired to hike it immediately. Known for its narrow ledges and built-in metal ladders, I felt that hiking the Beehive Trail was a must! However, at the time, my parents viewed the Beehive as unsafe, and thus, I was not permitted to go. Fast forward eleven years, and you can imagine one of the very first hikes I wished to do upon arriving in Acadia.

The hike begins at the Bowl Trailhead and is only a 1.3 mile hike with beautiful views of the Atlantic. We parked in the Sand Beach Parking lot area along Park Loop Road. We set out around 9 a.m. and anticipated that the hike would be fairly crowded (as it is relatively infamous in Acadia). The hike is not recommended for anyone who is afraid of heights, and this is probably due to the relatively steep ascent near the beginning of the hike (which quickly becomes less intimidating with time). Here are some images below that might help explain why the hike has maintained such a reputation.









The hike did not take us very long (max an hour, but we did stop to take photos along the way), and we enjoyed it thoroughly.  It has some amazing views, so if possible, definitely take your camera along!

Because the Beehive had been my childhood dream hike, if you will, I certainly had not anticipated enjoying another hike even more. However, on my very last day in Acadia (and also only my second full day), my boyfriend and I decided to hike the Penobscot Mountain Trail. This hike is located much further west than the Beehive and at its peak, offers views of Jordan Pond, Eagle Lake, and the Atlantic. I decided to hike it on a whim after googling “strenuous hikes in Acadia” and could not have been more pleasantly surprised. This hike is longer than the Beehive and is a 2.9 mile hike. It is oftentimes paired with the Sargent Mountain trail for a greater than 5 mile hike, but due to our late start, we decided just to hike Penobscot Mountain. Again, we tend to be the type that are always looking for a challenge, and we were absolutely thrilled with this trail.  We started the hike near the south side of Jordan Pond and hiked our way up to the peak. Here are some pictures of what it looks like when you initially begin your hike:

We absolutely adored the rocky ascent and felt like we exerted ourselves more physically in this hike than we did on the Beehive. We also chose to hike really close to sunset, so there was essentially no one else but us for the entire hike (we only passed two humans–a father and his daughter coming down the top of the mountain when we were coming up).  After a while of tackling this kind of rocky, steep incline, the trail gradually gave way to look more like this:

The views from the top of Penobscot Mountain were utterly breathtaking!

My final thoughts are that if you are looking for hikes that are a tad more challenging with some amazing views, the Beehive Trail and Penobscot Mountain are both great options. If you are only in Acadia for the day and have to choose between the two, I would definitely recommend choosing Penobscot Mountain over the Beehive Trail, in terms of both the reward from the hike itself as well as the views.

Neither hike will disappoint! 🙂

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