Beech Cliff/Mountain Loop De Loop In Acadia - 10/23/16
My second planned hike of the day took me over to Beech Mountain. The Beech Cliff Trail is one of the parks famous ladder trails, albeit one of the more tame ones, but it is often closed for nesting peregrine falcons in summer and is currently closed on weekdays for some reconstruction. It is however open on weekends which made Sunday a chance to finally hike it. Short and sweet, this one starts off at the Echo Lake parking area, heading into the woods and climbing moderately up to a restricted view point, which most of the construction seem to be centered around. After the that the trail gets very steep and makes its way up a cleft in Beech Cliff with the help of some ironwork, ladders, cables and handrails. The ladders weren't quite as high as I thought they would be from pictures, but the top two did have a pretty good 25 foot or so drop from the top. No real exposure either as you climbed up the forested crag, and after the last of the four ladders you popped out at the top of Beech Cliff.
Last of the foliage on Cadillac, Dorr and Champlain Mountains
Checked out Ocean Drive but Thunder Hole was closed and the foliae wasn't great. The surf was pretty amazing however.
Echo Lake is a lot less crowded in October than July
Steep With Exposed Cliffs And Fixed Iron Rungs
Under construction down low
Cool cliff band to pass under/along
Some cables and ladders #3 & #4 helping you up
Would have been just a dit less interesting without the raindrops!!
The middle landing was actually concrete. Only time I've ever seen that in Acadia and not natural stone
Atop the cliffs at the end of the trail
Looking more like Christmas colors than fall
The best views of this hike up from the top of Beech Cliff on a short loop trail. Not far reaching but pretty dramatic birdseye view as the cliffs drop straight down 500 feet to Echo Lake and across the street sit Acadia and St. Sauvieur Mountains with Sargent in the distance. A couple of bald eagles soaring in the sky getting their own views and the cranberry islands to the south in the ocean. Some nice golden trees filled the valley below and the blueberry bushes that cover these ledges in summer we're all bright red now. The rest of the cliffs are covered and evergreens which made for an interesting color combination. I walked the loop for no real reason other than I enjoy this little section of trail, and found out that they have rerouted half of it to shorten the loop and take out the wooded section. It now keeps on the cliffs themselves. So without even knowing I was going to I picked up another little segment of redline, as the old section is brushed in and marked for revegetation with the blazes painted over and/or removed.
Eagles getting a birds eye view
Walking the Beech Cliff Loop
New trail on the right. Old one on the left
Painted over the old blazes
Next up was the Canada Cliffs Trail, but I also needed an inconveniently placed segment of the Valley Trail and the only way to get it that day was to make a figure 8 loop out of the Canada Cliffs Trail and Beech Mountain, so that's what I did. The Canada Cliff Trail was kind of a bust with no real views that I saw. Lots of Evergreen and red blueberry bushes covering the ledges along the way but nothing else of note. I'm guessing the only reason for the trail to even exist is as an easier route down from the top of Beachcliff then going back down the ladders. At the intersection with the new Canada Cliffs Trail I continued along the old Canada Cliffs Trail to the Valley Trail, which I took down underneath the crumbling cliffs of Beech Mountains summit and then looped up the Beech Mountain South Ridge Trail to the summit itself. That was a pretty ho-hum loop by Acadia standards without much to see, so I took the western branch of the Beech Mountain Loop back to the parking lot since it has the better views out over Long Pond.
Canada Cliffs Trail. Where's the cliffs??
Beech South Ridge was mostly a nice wooded walk
Isle Au Haut still needs a visit
The weathermen, yet again, lied to me about blue skies and sun
Looking back at the cliff tops
Western arm of the Beech Mtn Loop provides nice views over Long Pond
Back at the start of the valley trail now I took it down, at one point in time the upper part of it may have been the jeep road that the fire warden's used to get up to the tower. Whatever it was it appears to be an old road of some sort and I was motoring right along and managed to miss the turn for the Canada cliffs trail somehow. It took me about a quarter of a mile to realize I had gone to far downhill and was not seeing any blazing before it clicked that I had probably missed my turn.
So back up the well maintained whatever type of path it was I went until I found the sign I'd missed to the Canada Cliff trail and then down the "NEW" Canada Cliff trail i went. Maybe the other path was the old trail, or maybe it was just an old jeep trail that was used as a return route for the hike before the new trail was opened. I'm not sure. Either way I was pretty annoyed with myself for taking it since I had specifically noticed it and wondered what it was on the way up and thought how easy it would be to accidentally take down and end up a long way from your car.
The new Canada Cliff Trail was pretty uneventful. Just a loop down and around the cliffs back to the parking lot. Back at the car it was gray windy and spitting rain drops. Based on the weather forecast I had plans for a third hike to watch the sunset but decided to call it a day and get an early start home since it was apparent there was not going to be any sunset to watch.
Watch for this sign and note the curvy arrow
The "NEW" Canada Cliff trail isn't much more than a means to an end
The end it's a means to