Last updated: October 20, 2020
A short, moderate loop on the west side of Mount Desert Island, Beech Mountain Trail provides hikers with views of Long Pond and Mansell Mountain on the way up and access to one of the few remaining fire towers in the area. This hike is also a good sunset option, but carry appropriate gear and headlamps when hiking at dusk and dark.
- Distance: 1.2 miles round trip
- Terrain: Forested path, rocky trails, granite stairs and slopes, wooden steps
- 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.
Retrace to the intersection just below the summit, stay straight and follow the sign showing .4 miles to the Beech Mountain Parking Area.
- This trail contains multiple steep granite slopes before descending into the woods. This section of trail is not recommended in wet weather.
Follow the trail down a quick, steep rocky section. At next intersection, follow the trail back to the parking lot.
The hike is 1.2 miles roundtrip. 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 1.5 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.
There are no accessible restrooms at the trailhead.
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.