As hikes go, The Beehive is everything you’d want and wouldn’t want rolled into a quick hike. Looking for diverse terrain, stunning views and challenging but non-technical climbing? Beehive. Long lines cued up waiting for people to overcome personal fears of heights? Also Beehive. You either embrace them both and treat it like a Disney ride or you go elsewhere. But it’s a hike worth doing either way.
Expecting large crowds is part of every Acadia National Park experience. As with Cadillac Mountain, Thunder Hole, Bass Harbor Head Light and Jordan Pond you know what to expect. And sure enough, there they are. But the place is worth the trade-off in breathing space, and there’s always a little corner of the park you can call your own, if only for a few minutes. On Beehive we paused on the pink granite summit for a snack and water in relative solitude. Like a picnic in Central Park on a warm Saturday solitude.
As for logistics, one thing I never thought I’d say on a hike: bring hand sanitizer to use after summiting Beehive. Those iron rails get used all day and we are in a pandemic. Parking is tight at the trailhead, so get there early. And since you’re sharing the same parking lot with Sand Beach you might as well get out on the beach while you’re there. Beehive, even with the waiting in line, is a short hike. If you want to extend your hiking experience after summiting take the Gorham Mountain Trail, or do as we did and hike the Good Head Trail. Both are less crowded than Beehive, but you’ll still have company. Sand Beach is worth the stop, whether you swim or not is up to you but that ultra-soft sand is worth experiencing.
Beehive stays with you well after you finish. The iron rungs, the scrambles up granite, the stunning views of foliage, Sand Beach and salt water all through a kaleidoscope of swirling fog. And yes, the shared experience of hiking with hundreds of people, like the millions before you, all winding your way on this Pilgrimage with the ancient mountain.