Woke up to rain this morning for our final day on Mount Desert Island. The rain did stop though! Once we had realized there wasn’t any mist lingering, we had to squeak in one last hike. Keeping it sweet and simple, remembering the stunning views coming down the west side of Beech Mountain during last year’s visit, we opted to hike the Beech Mountain Loop (rated moderate).
We started at the Beech Hill Road parking area and headed south towards the summit for 0.4 miles. Climbing up the granite of the northeast ridge brings you to the first overlook of this hike. From here you can see Echo Lake, Acadia Mountain, and Somes Sound to the northeast and Valley Peak and the Cranberry Isles to the southeast. Continuing south up the mountain, you reach the 839-ft summit.
Near the summit is the Beech Mountain fire tower. This fire tower was in use from 1941 to the 1950s. Originally constructed of wood and deteriorating, it was replaced by a steel tower in 1962. Occasionally, a Park Ranger would man the tower, but as of 1976 it has not be used at all. Though you cannot climb to the top of the tower, climbing the steps to the first tier is permitted. From here you get another view of the Somes and Cranberry Isles to the east.
Coming around the loop, you start to descend on the west side of the mountain. Out of the whole Beech Mountain Loop, it is this descent that, in my opinion, has the best views. Directly west across the Long Pond is Mansell Mountain at 949 ft. But it’s the view of Long Pond to the northwest that is most stunning. Eventually the trail descends into a forested trail and back to the Beech Hill Road parking area.
This is a great moderate hike, and personally, I think this moderate hike boasts better views than the strenuous hikes we have done up neighboring Mansell. Worth the quick 1.1 miles it takes to complete this loop, and there are numerous trails you can add to the loop to make this a longer day hike if that’s what you’re looking for.
Though we were going to head over to Bar Harbor to do the Bar Island Trail at low tide, we decided to relax for the rest of the day then get ourselves ready to leave early tomorrow morning. The Bar Island Trail will have to wait until next year. And so, that completes our hikes in Acadia National Park for 2017. I won’t bore you with the details of our 6.5-hour ride home tomorrow, so this completes this blog series. Be sure to keep an eye on the blog for session previews and other projects, rants, and musings!