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Beech and Canada Cliffs

Acadia National Park

An "iron rung" loop reserved for adventurous hikers without a fear of heights.

Hiking Severe

3.3 km
197 m
197 m
0-1 hrs
Low Point
24 m
High Point
189 m
Beech and Canada Cliffs Map

This epic "iron rung" route pairs the Beech Cliff and Canada Cliff Trails into a ~2-mile loop from Echo Lake Beach. There is no shortage of views on this hike, but they are not for the faint of heart. Despite the short distance, "this clever trail has a series of ladders that take hikers up through some of the most interesting and vertical cliff formations in the park," according to this local guide.


Completed counter-clockwise, the trail heads north out of the parking lot for Echo Beach Lake. While it may appear easy at first, ladders lie ahead as you begin the climb above Echo Lake. After nearly 500' of climbing, the trail levels out and is quite easy as you continue onto the Canada Cliffs Loop.

The trailhead for this hike is Echo Lake Beach, which has both restrooms and drinking water available. The loop begins at the northernmost corner of the parking lot and ends on the southern end of the lot near the bus stop. Average times to complete the loop range from 2 to 4 hours, and the trails may spontaneously close in the spring and early summer to protect peregrine falcon nesting sites.

Those with a fear of heights may want to forego this hike for something lesser exposed, such as the Great Head Trail to the east. Those unsure about "rung and ladder" hikes may want to try the Beehive Trail first to gauge their level of comfort and fitness on these unique trails.




Hiking challenging trails where simple scrambling, with the occasional use of the hands, is a distinct possibility. The trails are often filled with all manner of obstacles both small and large, and the hills are very steep. Obstacles and challenges are often unexpected and can be unpredictable.

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

between May and October


  • Wildlife
  • Picturesque
  • Summit Hike
  • Wild flowers
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area