Distance: 1.4 Miles
Elevation Gain: 488 Feet
Location: Bar Harbor, ME
There are two trails on MDI that are most notorious for being dangerous: Beehive and Precipice. Much of the Beehive Loop Trail consists of iron rungs and granite rock faces exposed to wind and weather. I would avoid this hike in wet conditions. In winter, rain and runoff can freeze making the rungs and rocks slick, so only go if you’re confident in the conditions or have the right equipment.
Having said that, Beehive is a strikingly short hike ascending 488’ in a mere three tenths of a mile. The entire loop can be done in well under an hour and a half, leaving time to tack on Gorham or Champlain should Beehive’s brevity not satiate the desire to wander.
Beehive epitomizes one of Acadia’s most attractive features: how immediately rewarding the hikes are. Because the mountains on Mount Desert Island rise from the ocean, incredible landscapes and seascapes present themselves early in many hikes and unfurl to reveal their immensity with the ascent.
I’ve heard that the western practice of summitting mountains can be traced back to an idea of conquering, that western explorers had a desire to break, to own the mountains. It’s hard to feel that way here due to the relative shortness of the hikes. Ascending 500’ in .3 miles doesn’t evoke any feeling of conquering. It’s all play. In well under an hour, with some challenging moments, you scale and scramble to a short summit, which does not feel like some god-like vanquishing of Mother Nature.
It has occurred to me that being in love can feel like an overwhelming desire to be with, to listen to, to know a person, but as that desire is satiated, it is not diminished; it only deepens as we face that person’s immensity and unknowability. That’s how I feel here.
After Beehive, I hadn’t made it back to my car before I planned my return.