Cadillac Mountain, at 1500 feet, is the highest peak on the Eastern seaboard of the U.S. Perched high above Acadia National Park, with panoramic views of Down East Maine, Cadillac’s summit is a prime location for watching the sun rise (or set, for that matter). In fact, for much of the year (October-March), the summit is the first place on the East Coast to see sunlight each morning.
A 3.5-mile auto road makes Cadillac easily accessible in the dark. (There used to be a cog railway, but it was sold in 1895 and found a home on another of New England’s famous mountains: Mount Washington.) Once at the peak, early risers can take a seat on a slab of exposed granite and enjoy the show as the sun gradually creeps above the horizon, bathing Frenchman’s Bay in deep yellows, oranges, and reds.
For those looking to add a hike to the morning’s activities, the parking lot on the summit can be your starting point. Head down the Cadillac South Ridge Trail for more views of Mount Desert Island. The full hike is 7 miles round-trip, with the turn-around coming at the base of the mountain, on Maine Route 3, near the Blackwoods Campground.
Distance: 7 miles round-trip (4 hours)
Info: Discover Acadia National Park, 2nd ed. (AMC Books)