5 Tips If You Want to Enjoy A Glorious Sunrise from Cadillac Mountain in Maine

Parking spaces are filling up.  People are walking purposefully, all in the same direction.  Some are carrying blankets and thermos bottles.  Is it a concert?  Theatre in the park?

No, it is sunrise on Cadillac Mountain, the first place to see sunrise in the United States.

At 1,532 feet, Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park in Maine is the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard.  Many hiking trails converge on this mountaintop, as do bus tours.  But before dawn is a spectacular time to visit to witness the first sunrise.

Actually, Cadillac is struck by the sun’s rays before any place else only in the fall and winter.  During most of the spring and summer, that special recognition goes to Mars Hill to the northeast.  That, however, in no way diminishes the excitement of the populace who rise early on Mount Desert Island during summertime to see this spectacle of nature.

We had checked the time for sunrise on weather.com.  Fred was shocked that I actually got up at 4:30am, but I did and we jumped into the car.  The road seemed to circle endlessly as we ascended Cadillac, worried that we would miss “it.”  We moved with the crowds to the eastern side of the parking area and waited. 

As the firey orange mass rose, it brightened the purple clouds above and the dark masses of the Porcupine Islands in Frenchman Bay below.  In seconds it was morning.

If you decide to put sunrise at Cadillac on your vacation agenda, here are some tips:

  1. Check the time for sunrise and give yourself plenty of time to get up the mountain.  It takes about twenty minutes from the village of Bar Harbor.
  2. Dress warmly.  Even in August, pre-dawn is chilly and it can be windy on top of Cadillac.
  3. Bring a blanket or even chairs so that you can wait comfortably.
  4. Consider a thermos of coffee to ward off the chill.
  5. Check photography sites for tips on taking sunrise pictures.  An important tip: the color of a sunrise is far more short-lived than a sunset; the sky washes out in 30 to 45 seconds after the sun is up.

For more ideas on things to do when you visit Acadia National Park or Bar Harbor, Maine, visit OUR ACADIA.

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One Comment to “5 Tips If You Want to Enjoy A Glorious Sunrise from Cadillac Mountain in Maine”

  1. HI Lynn, Great tips! It is hard to get up there so early for the early summer sunrise. But it can be worth it. Sunrise is later in fall but the sun is in a different location.Your readers can see a few of my tips in an old blog post at
    http://sueannehodges.wordpress.com/2009/06/10/first-days-of-summer/

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