Out of all the places to watch the sunrise, what is the big deal about Cadillac Mountain?
It’s the first place to see the sunrise in the whole United States!
Cadillac Mountain (in Acadia National Park in Maine) is able to boast this title due to not only being located in the easternmost state, but by also being the tallest mountain on the whole east coast (standing at 1530 feet). And the best part? No hiking required for this summit!
The summit is reached via a 3.5-mile winding mountain road leading to a fairly large parking area. From there, a brief walk will lead to the overlook. Once at the top, visitors have excellent unobstructed views of the coast and of course, the sunrise.
Things To Know Before You Go:
- Be sure to check current sunrise times and weather conditions. If it’s super cloudy, maybe try for a different day when visibility is better.
- To keep in mind: “sunrise” is defined as the point when the leading edge of the sun is first visible even though this is some minutes before the sun actually rises above the horizon. (From Physics Stack Exchange)
- It can get crazy ridiculous crowded at the summit, so get there early. In fact it can get so crowded, the park rangers will occasionally close the entrance road and stop allowing people up in order to restrict the amount of visitors up there for the safety of the flora and fauna.
- Plan to check out the sunrise early in your trip, just in case conditions are bad or rangers won’t let you up. That way, you’ll still have other days left to try again. It would suck saving it for your last day, only to find the rangers have closed the road.
- It takes awhile to drive to the summit, especially if there is traffic. And finding parking can be a nightmare. Allow more time than you think you’ll need.
- To keep in mind: The road is closed from December through April 14 and whenever weather conditions (such as dense fog or ice) require.
- Dress warm! It is super cold up there, especially while it’s still dark.
- Be cautious of the plant life. Cadillac Mountain has seen substantial vegetation and soil loss due to high volumes of visitors. Try to stay on rocky areas.
- Bring snacks and a warm beverage to keep you company. You’ll be up there for awhile. Blankets are nice too.
So When Is Sunrise?
Well, it changes every day. For current info for the day of your visit, click here!
And now, a bunch of sunrise progression photos, taken with my Nikon Cool Pix point and shoot camera! As is always the case, the photos don’t come anywhere near close to representing how amazing this was to see in person, but at least it’ll give you idea until you can go out there and see it yourself…
And it’s up! Quite a different landscape in the light. Hello fall foliage! Good morning!
I totally won’t judge you if want to go back to bed after this. Being up before the sun is just TOO EARLY. Or maybe go grab a giant cup of coffee from Jordan Pond House (once it opens). Maybe a quick car nap then coffee? You deserve it…you were just one of the first people in the whole country to see the sun come up. AND you survived the crowds and chilly temperatures. Bragging and celebrating is completely justified.
For additional info on Cadillac Mountain or Acadia National Park, visit the official park website!