If “the miracle of daybreak doesn’t move you anymore…..” – The Indigo Girls, Perfect World
Why This Mountain?
Tami has long wanted to hike on the East Coast. She has selected mountains that would represent different ranges and states in order to see as much as she can in a short time. She picked Mt. Cadillac because it is in Acadia National Park and is the first place in the US to see the sunrise. Tami hopes to hike at night and reach the summit to see the sunrise.
Mountain & Route Facts
Cadillac Mountain is located on Mount Desert Island, within Acadia National Park. With an elevation of 1,528 feet (470 m), its summit is the highest point in Hancock County and the highest within 25 miles (40 km) of the shoreline of the North American continent.
There are various hiking trails to the summit of Cadillac Mountain, some more challenging than others. Tami and Rose took the South Ridge Trail (7.1 miles round-trip, 1,667′ of gain). The ideal way to do this hike is start around 4am and get to the summit by sunrise to be standing in the spot that gets the first light in the US. The trail is pretty easy to navigate in the light, but in the dark, the cairns and blue blazes can be a little challenging to see. There are two small bouldering spots around 3 miles in. About 1 mile in there is another trail called Eagle’s Crag which has a good summit view in summit. It’s a small detour of about .2 miles. At the top of the summit, there will typically be a lot of people as there is a paved road to the top. We were never able to find the two geological markers, but there are supposed to be two somewhere in the rocks.
The other common route is the North Ridge Trail (4.4 miles round-trip, 1,250′ of gain).
Historical and Cultural Information
Before being renamed in 1918, Cadillac Mountain had been called Green Mountain. The new name honors the French explorer and adventurer Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac. From 1883 until 1893 the Green Mountain Cog Railway ran to the summit to take visitors to the Green Mountain Hotel on the summit. The hotel was burned down in 1895. Also in 1895, the cog train was sold and moved to the Mount Washington Cog Railway in New Hampshire.
Driving or hiking to the summit of Cadillac Mountain to see “the nation’s first sunrise” is a popular activity among visitors of Acadia National Park. However, Cadillac only sees the first sunrise in the fall and winter, when the sun rises south of due east. During most of the spring and summer, the sun rises first on Mars Hill, 150 miles (240 km) to the northeast. For a few weeks around the equinoxes, the sun rises first at West Quoddy Head in Lubec, Maine.
Acadia National Park is a national park located in the U.S. state of Maine. It reserves much of Mount Desert Island, and associated smaller islands, off the Atlantic coast. The landscape architect Charles Eliot is credited with the idea for the park. George B. Dorr, called the “Father of Acadia National Park,” along with Eliot’s father Charles W. Eliot (the president of Harvard), supported the idea both through donations of land and through advocacy at the state and federal levels. It first attained federal status when President Woodrow Wilson established it as Sieur de Monts National Monument on July 8, 1916, administered by the National Park Service. On February 26, 1919, it became a national park, with the name Lafayette National Park in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette, an influential French supporter of the American Revolution. The park’s name was changed to Acadia National Park on January 19, 1929, in honor of the former French colony of Acadia which once included Maine. From 1915 to 1933, the wealthy philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr. financed, designed, and directed the construction of a network of carriage trails throughout the park.
Maine is the northernmost state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is also the the easternmost state in the contiguous United States. It is bordered by New Hampshire to the west, the Atlantic Ocean to the south and east, and the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Quebec to the east and north, respectively.
For thousands of years, indigenous peoples were the only inhabitants of the territory that is now Maine. At the time of European arrival in what is now Maine, several Algonquian-speaking peoples inhabited the area. The first European settlement in the area was by the French in 1604 on Saint Croix Island, by Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons. The first English settlement was the short-lived Popham Colony, established by the Plymouth Company in 1607. A number of English settlements were established along the coast of Maine in the 1620s, although the rugged climate, deprivations, and conflict with the local peoples caused many to fail over the years.
As Maine entered the 18th century, only a half dozen European settlements had survived. Loyalist and Patriot forces contended for Maine’s territory during the American Revolution and the War of 1812. Maine was part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts until 1820, when it voted to secede from Massachusetts to become an independent state. On March 15, 1820, it was admitted to the Union as the 23rd state under the Missouri Compromise.