Acadia National Park – The Beehive, The Bowl, Great Head, Sand Beach, Bar Island

We were up early for another hike, this time getting to the popular Beehive Trailhead at 7:30.  There was plenty of parking that early at Sand Beach, just across the street. Serendipitously, Julia and Mark were also visiting the park and met us there.  Their bed and breakfast host had warned them away from the Beehive, saying it was too steep and dangerous.  Mark isn’t a fan of heights so he chose to take the gentler Bowl Trail around while the rest of us headed up the Beehive Trail.  Much like the Precipice, the Beehive takes hikers up steep cliffs with rebar and ladders.  We could see hikers on the side of the cliff from the first junction and it looked like fun to me.

We started climbing and got out of the trees to see views pretty quickly.

There was a final slabby part just before the summit,  but the trail was so short, it really was mostly climbing straight up.

We could see Mark on the other trail from the summit.  He’d gotten bored waiting for us at the Bowl and started towards us.  We hiked down and met up with him shortly after, then all continued to the Bowl, a beautiful alpine pond.

From the Bowl, we headed back down the Bowl Trail to where we’d started, only 1.6 miles for the whole loop.  It was just a short jaunt across the street to our next hike at Great Head.

We walked across Sand Beach to get to the Great Head Trail and headed south for a short counter-clockwise loop along the shoreline.  Caz pulled out her binoculars so we could all check out birds, boats, and lighthouses.  I might have to get a small travel pair to bring on some of my hikes because it’s really fun to be nosy and see details of things that are far away.

From a high point on the peninsula, we could see across to the Beehive where it now looked like people were standing in line to climb up.  I’m so glad we went there early.

Once we got back to the parking lot after the short 1.6-mile hike around Great Head, we all got changed into our bathing suits and met back on Sand Beach.  The beach is so popular because it’s the only one like it on the island (as opposed to rock/cliff shoreline), but it’s really not made of sand.  It’s made of tiny, broken shells.  We knew the water there was only 55° but we wanted to go for a quick dip anyway.  The waves were crashing but seemed small enough to get past.

Nope.  The waves were so strong they knocked me over immediately and I barely noticed the cold as I was pummeled against the ground.  Once I made it back out, I only stood around for another minute before backtracking out of the water.  I thought I knew waves well enough from going to the Jersey shore my whole life but these were a little different.  But, hey, at least I didn’t feel the cold!

Julia and Mark still needed to check out more of the park since it was their only full day there, and Caz and Scott and I wanted to do a little relaxing, so we split up for the afternoon.  We hadn’t planned to take showers again so soon but there were tiny bits of shells all over us so we went back and paid for more showers before going to our campsite.  We still hadn’t had a fire all week and we had to use up our firewood so we sat around relaxing at a campfire for a couple of hours.

Soon enough, it was time to get moving again.  We packed back into the car and headed for town.

We met Julia and Mark on Bridge Street in Bar Harbor to head out onto the Bar Island Trail.  The trail runs across a sandbar to Bar Island and is only passable for 90 minutes on either side of low tide.  There were plenty of signs warning people on both the Bar Harbor and Bar Island sides, but I have to wonder how many people still get stuck there.

We walked up the trail on the island to a high point with a great view of Bar Harbor’s harbor.

Then we turned and walked back out to the sandbar to do some tidepooling, seeing lots of birds, barnacles, already eaten crabs, and even a starfish.

It was our longest hike of the day at 2 miles.  From there, we went back into town to grab some dinner and then watch a friend play music at the local brewery for the rest of the night.

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  1. LOVE your pics and trip report. I laughed at the warning sign. They need something this descriptive at the trailheads in the Whites. The wait time would be much longer than 1.5 hrs and there are no “taxis. It could include “At the FIRST sign of bad weather abandon your climb without shame for the worse is yet to come!”


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