Cadillac Mountain

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Cadillac Mountain
Cadillac Mountain.jpg
Sunset behind Cadillac Mountain
Highest point
Elevation1,527 ft (465 m)  NAVD 88[1]
Prominence1,527 ft (465 m) [1]
Coordinates44°21′05″N 68°13′35″W / 44.35127°N 68.22649°W / 44.35127; -68.22649Coordinates: 44°21′05″N 68°13′35″W / 44.35127°N 68.22649°W / 44.35127; -68.22649[2]
LocationHancock County, Maine, U.S.
Topo mapUSGS Seal Harbor
Easiest routePaved road or marked hiking trails

Cadillac Mountain is located on Mount Desert Island, within Acadia National Park. With an elevation of 1,530 feet (466 meters), 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 between the Cape Breton Highlands, Nova Scotia and Mexican peaks 180 miles (290 km) south of the Texas border.[3] It is known as the first place in the U.S. to see the sunrise, although that is only true for a portion of the year.


Before being renamed in 1918, the mountain had been called Green Mountain. The new name honors the French explorer and adventurer Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac. In 1688, De la Mothe requested and received from the Governor of New France a parcel of land in an area known as Donaquec which included part of the Donaquec River (now the Union River) and the island of Mount Desert in the present-day U.S. state of Maine. Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, a shameless self-promoter who had already appropriated the "de la Mothe" portion of his name from a local nobleman in his native Picardy, thereafter referred to himself as Antoine de la Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, Donaquec, and Mount Desert.

From 1883 until 1893 the Green Mountain Cog Railway ran to the summit to take visitors to the Green Mountain Hotel on the summit.[4] 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.


President Obama and the First Family at the summit of Cadillac Mountain on July 16, 2010.

There are various hiking trails to the summit of Cadillac Mountain, some more challenging than others. There is also a paved road to the top.

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.[5] 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.

On exceptionally clear days, it is possible to see Mount Katahdin, Maine's highest mountain, to the north and the Canadian province of Nova Scotia to the east, both over one hundred miles away.[citation needed]


The sky from light to dark during sunset atop Cadillac Mountain
Sunrise panorama from atop Cadillac


  1. ^ a b "Cadillac Mountain, Maine". Retrieved 2007-12-26.
  2. ^ "Cadillac Mountain". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
  3. ^ "Cadillac Mountain". U.S. National Park Service. 2004-10-28. Archived from the original on 2006-02-07. Retrieved 2007-12-26.
  4. ^ All Aboard for Yesterday! A Nostalgic History of Railroading in Maine. Camden: Down East. 1979. p. 23. ISBN 0-89272-053-0. OCLC 5844214.
  5. ^ Trotter, Bill (October 22, 2011). "Where in Maine does the sun rise first?". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 2018-08-14.

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