This 839-foot peak, located between Echo Lake and Long Pond, provides hikers with probably the best view, for the least effort, anywhere in Acadia National Park or on Mount Desert Island. Starting at the parking lot on the east side, it’s only a short walk through the woods and then a few hundred yards of climbing over granite ledges to glorious views of sky, mountains, woods, and water — ponds, bays, Somes Sound, the Atlantic Ocean — all around. In the fall, as well, the summit is an excellent place to watch migrating hawks and falcons as they sweep overhead, soaring on winds from the north.
The excellent view in all directions also has long been useful in spotting smoke. Beech Mountain’s first fire tower, erected in 1941, was a wooden one that deteriorated through the 1950s. It was replaced in 1962 by a three-story steel tower that’s now used only sparingly, but occasionally is staffed by volunteers who show it off to park visitors. In 1993, the tower site was registered on the list of National Historic Lookouts.