Acadia National Park – Cadillac Mountain

Hi friends, welcome back! I’m taking you through my time in Bar Harbor, Maine and Acadia National Park these next few posts. Acadia National Park has been on my travel bucket list for quite some time, and it was the perfect getaway from NYC! Jon and I went a little after off-season began so some of the restaurants/shops in Bar Harbor were closed, but we had more of Acadia to ourselves, so I consider that a win! We headed north from Portland, and it took us a little over three hours to get there.

I didn’t do too much research before we went, but I had a list of some of the top sites/hikes. The park was a lot bigger than I expected and driving through was like being in the most beautiful maze! It is a little confusing because at some points you are on a one-way road for miles, so if you miss your turn off, it can be a half hour drive to get back there again. We weren’t in any rush so we loved driving through all the beauty. There are also tons of spots to pull off and take pictures.

Hiking up Mount Cadillac was at the top of my list, so after we got a map at the information center, we drove in search of Mount Cadillac. We found the turn off and started going up and up and up a total of 1,530 feet! For some reason I thought the turn off would take us to the trail head, but after some steep twists and turns we found ourselves at the very top of Mount Equinox!

I felt a little guilty and lazy witnessing these incredible views without any physical effort, but I sure did enjoy the views! This day was cloudy and overcast, but we could see fairly well still. Our hike the following day actually led us up here again, so we got to see it in all it’s glory on a sunny, cloud free day as well.

Travelling and exploring together makes my heart happy 🙂

The tops of the mountains on Mount Desert Island have been smoothed out by glaciers over 18,000 years ago. Maybe I should’ve paid more attention in my earth science class ha!

Those five little islands are actually called the Porcupine Islands, and they got their name because the evergreen trees look like porcupine spikes. From left to right they are named Bar Island, Sheep Porcupine Island, Burnt Porcupine Island, Long Porcupine Island, and Bald Porcupine Island. Burnt Porcupine is the only one not owned by Acadia National Park.

There is a sand bar that runs from Bar Harbor to Bar Island that is only accessible during low tide. We didn’t get a chance to check it out, but I would imagine it has incredible views of the town and the mountains. Also, in the summer you can rent kayaks to go in between all the islands and try to spot the 273 different bird species and unique terrain.

Cadillac Mountain is also famous for being the first place in the United States to view the sunrise from October 7thto March 6th. Luckily for us we were in Bar Harbor during this time and got to witness the most beautiful sunrise! I was glad we were able to drive up this time, we were not about to hike up a mountain in the dark!!

Luckily for us, the sunrise was a little after 7am, so we didn’t have to wake up too early on our vacation. It took about twenty minutes to get from our hotel to the top of Cadillac Mountain, and there were tons of other people waiting for the sunrise. We found a quiet spot and patiently waited for Mr. Sun.

Unfortunately, it was 29 degrees and I did not pack accordingly, so the sun could not come up fast enough!

The cold was definitely worth enduring for this gorgeous sunrise!

It was a bit cloudy, so the sun was up for a few minutes, and then disappeared behind the clouds again. There was a mad rush of everyone trying to get back to their warm cars!

If you go to Acadia National Park, you MUST visit Cadillac Mountain! The sunrise is magical and worth the early wake up call. Whether you hike or drive, the views from the top of Cadillac Mountain can’t be beat, and it’s the perfect way to see Mount Desert Island.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more tales from our time in Bar Harbor!

12 thoughts on “Acadia National Park – Cadillac Mountain

  1. Sunrise on Cadillac is the ultimate. We actually almost moved to Mount Desert Island about 10 years ago and so looked forward to being closer to Acadia. Beautiful photos.

    1. Thank you! Living on Mount Desert Island would be really cool! I can imagine how amazing it would be to be so close to Acadia!

  2. Great photos! We hope to get to Acadia soon. Was also wondering why it’s the first place to see the sunrise only for a certain part of the year. What’s different from March 7 to October 6?

    1. Thank you! I had to look this up – but it is because in the winter the sun rises further south. Typically Canada is the first place to see the sunrise, but in the winter months it is Acadia.

  3. Nice pictures of the sunrise, it’s a great idea to go when it’s later in the day. I had the chance to visit Mount Desert a few years ago, I also liked the scenery and the origin of Acadia Park is quite touching with George B. Dorr who swallowed up his family fortune there.

    1. Thank you! It does have a great view later in the day! I did not know that about George B. Door, thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. So glad you got to go there. It is one of my favorite national parks as the coastline is so unique. Also, you don’t have to worry about bears and other nasty animals like Yellowstone. In the summer they have ranger led hikes and classes that are soooo interesting.

    1. I loved the rocky coastline! I took so many pictures I can’t wait to post. That would be awesome to get a ranger led hike or class so I can know what I am seeing too. It was very nice not seeing any scary animals!

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