Thing to Do

Hike Beech Mountain South Ridge Loop

Fire tower with people on the platform

This moderate hike traverses a loop through the forest before ascending Beech Mountain, providing visitors with access to a fire tower and views of Long Pond, Mansell Mountain, and the west side of Mount Desert Island. This hike is also a good sunset option, but carry appropriate gear and headlamps when hiking at dusk and dark.

  • Distance: 2.1 miles round trip
  • Terrain: Forested path, rocky trails, granite stairs and slopes, wooden steps

Hike Description

  • The loop begins from the Beech Mountain parking lot, on the northwest side of the lot.

  • At the first junction, stay right to follow the longer path to the summit.

  • The trail begins as a gradual forested path, however, as elevation increases, the trail becomes rockier.

  • The trail opens up at .5 miles to granite slabs which provide sweeping views of Long Pond and Mansell Mountain. This is a popular spot to watch the sunset.

  • After .1 miles, keep left at the intersection towards Beech Mountain summit. The trail will feature granite and wooden steps to the summit.

  • At the next intersection, just below the fire tower, keep right to access the summit and fire tower. The first platform of the fire tower is open and provides views of Somes Sound, Echo Lake, Acadia Mountain, and other mountains on the east side of the Mount Desert Island.

  • Follow blue blazes to the right of the granite to begin the Beech Mountain South Ridge Trail.

  • The trail descends down a few sections of granite slope before becoming a forested path with stone stairs down the mountain. This section of trail is not recommended in wet weather.

  • After .8 miles, keep left at the Valley Trail intersection to return to the Beech Mountain Parking Area.

  • Follow the trail .8 miles back to the parking lot. This section of trail is flat and mainly smooth, forested path, with a few stone steps.

The hike is 2.1 miles round trip. Duration, or how long a hike takes, depends on your pace, how frequently you stop, and the terrain. For an average pace, this hike takes 1 to 2 hours.

Dogs must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet. Dogs are not allowed on the fire tower.

Although this activity is free, a park entrance pass is required for all areas of the park from May 1 through October 31.

The Trailhead: Where to Begin

  • Beech Mountain Trailhead

Getting to the Trailhead

  • By car: After reaching Mount Desert Island on ME Route 3, stay to the right to follow ME Route 102. At the stop light, keep straight towards Southwest Harbor. Turn right onto Pretty Marsh Road. In 0.3 miles, turn left on Beech Hill Road and follow until the end, where you will reach the trailhead. The trailhead is on the northwestern side of the parking lot, near the restrooms.

  • By bus: There is no public transportation to this trailhead.

Year Round
Time of Day
Day, Dawn, Dusk
Accessibility Information
The Beech Mountain South Ridge Loop is not accessible. The trail has uneven footing and short, steep sections throughout.

There are no accessible restrooms at the trailhead.

Acadia National Park

trail profile
Beech Mountain South Ridge Loop

Trail Safety Tips

  • Check trail elevation profile or topographic map before hiking.
  • Bring a map, water, snacks, compass, and extra layers for unpredictable changes in weather.
  • Reduce the chance of picking up ticks by staying in the center of the trail, and not stepping on soils and away from brush.
  • Always do a tick check after visiting the park.
  • Closed-toe, good traction shoes recommended because most trail surfaces are very unlevel.
  • Cell service is unreliable or unavailable in many areas of the park. Do not rely on your phone for directions.

Last updated: October 20, 2020