Monday, April 23, 2012
ACADIA NATIONAL PARK - CANADA/BEECH CLIFFS & BEECH MOUNTAIN: 4/18/12
For the final full day of our Acadia visit, we decided to explore the western part of the park for the first time. We drove to the remote, high-elevation (500 ft.) trailhead at the end of Beech Hill Road, enjoying some good views along the way. Three trails leave from this parking area, providing options for shorter or longer loop hikes. An interesting boulder takes up one parking spot.
Our plan was to do the short, easy loop to Beech Cliff and the adjacent Canada Cliffs and then take it from there.
In an easy 0.2 mi., we reached the junction with the Canada Cliffs Trail and took a short side trip to viewpoints atop the Canada Cliffs. This vista looks SE to St. Sauveur Mountain and the Cranberry Islands beyond.
Another ledge provides a view to Beech Mountain and its firetower, close by to the SW.
A gorgeous view north over Echo Lake.
Then we headed over to Beech Cliff, just to the north of Canada Cliffs.
Looking NE to Acadia Mountain with Sargent Mountain beyond.
Peregrine Falcons often nest on Beech Cliff. The trail is open, but the area below the trail is closed to all entry so as not to disturb the falcons. We saw one of these magnificent raptors fly over while we were at the Canada Cliffs.
Relaxing atop Beech Cliff on a perfect spring day. This is one of the easiest hikes anywhere to a good clifftop viewpoint.
We decided that a second hike was in order, this one to Beech Mountain on the other side of the parking area. The Beech Mountain Loop makes a 1.2 mi. circuit over this 835-ft. firetower peak.
The longer, easier western part of the loop leads a half-mile to expansive ledges with a sweeping view over Long Pond and distant hills to the NW and north. This was one of the nicest spots we visited all week, quiet and lovely.
Darkly-wooded, ledge-spotted Mansell Mountain rises beyond the south end of Long Pond. This 949-ft. summit has several trails, including the rugged Perpendicular Trail.
It was only another 0.2 mi. to the summit of Beech Mountain, where ledges offer views south to the distant ocean.
This is the only fire tower in Acadia. The cab is locked, but you can go up to the first platform to expand the views.
A ledge just east of the tower looks NE to Acadia, Sargent and Cadillac Mountains and part of Somes Sound.
The eastern part of the Beech Mountain Loop starts out with a flat traverse through a neat area of ledges and pitch pines, then drops fairly steeply to the parking area, mostly over ledges. Another fun day in Acadia - one trailhead, two great little loops.