“The fire tower is on the National Registry of Historic Fire Towers and is usually not open to the public. The original Beech Mountain fire lookout was in use from 1941 to the mid-1950’s. It was a wooden building constructed by men from the Civilian Conservation Corps camps on Mount Desert Island. When it started to deteriorate, a new steel tower was flown in and erected at the top by 1962. It was manned during the day sporadically, but usually only during high fire danger times. The last time a park ranger manned the tower was in 1976.” – Nation Park Service U.S Department of the Interior.

This was our first hike in Acadia. I had tried to read about Acadia and what Acadia was but I don’t think I truly understood what Acadia was until after the two weeks were over. Acadia National Park is located on Desert Island.  It is a collection of mountains, lakes and coastal areas scattered throughout the island.  The National Park Service along with volunteer groups like Friends of Acadia groom and created hikes and trails throughout the area. Nearly 120 miles of trails exist in Acadia not to mention the Carriage Roads, which are great for biking or riding horses. So long story short we had to start somewhere and this was it.

I had downloaded a couple of apps on the iPhone specific to Acadia, over the two weeks I found the REI co op National Parks Guide the most helpful. It was able to locate us using gps with very little to no connectivity. It rates the hikes by level of difficulty and points out gems, places worth seeing.  REI rated the Fire Tower Beech hike as an easy hike with some of the best views.

Beech Mountain Fire Tower
This hike started out easy. They brought her Jr. Ranger book to work on at the top.

 

Beech Mountain Fire Tower
They found walking stick during our last hike and carried them everywhere.

 

Beech Mountain Fire Tower
The hike has some inclines and well kept rock climbs.

 

Stairs
Many of the hikes in Acadia had stairs built into the mountains. This made all of the hikes we did easier for the whole family!

 

Beech Mountain Fire Tower

 

 

Beech Mountain Fire Tower
The climb was easy compared to the Mount Prospect hike in Lake George the week previous.
Beech Mountain Fire Tower

This hike is a 1.2 mile loop.  It climbs to 800 ft. It was a great start to Acadia.

Fire Tower
The fire tower was closed at the top but you could climb about halfway up. The tower was not very sturdy and shook when we climbed it.
Fire Tower
A slow shaky climb. It felt 50+ years old.

But the views were spectacular!

View From Top Beech Mountain

 

View From Top Beech Mountain

 

View From Top Beech Mountain

 

View From Top Beech Mountain

 

View From Top Beech Mountain
The kids stopped and worked on their books.

So tis the season of color and Acadia had an amazing collection of colors.  Being from Chicago, we don’t even have the vegetation to have the possibilities of the colors that Maine provides. Maine has a great variety of trees both deciduous and conifers. Contrast that with the colors of lakes, the ocean, and mountains it produces epic sights.

Acadia Colors

 

Acadia Colors

 

Acadia Colors

 

Acadia Colors

So we made our way down.  The sun was setting and we were getting a bit hungry. I thought it was nice a snake met us on the way down, it scared the girls.

Snake on the path.
He was just a little guy. Thankfully over the 12 days of hiking we only saw 3 or 4 snakes and all about that size.

 

Headed Down Beech Mountain

 

Headed Down Beech Mountain

 

Success
So we made it back to the car. Everyone was happy!

So a successful hike lead to confidence and the desire to hike more. Good thing they were going to need that confidence, the hikes got harder and more fun.