^^ From the summit you can make out Bar Harbor to the left with the lights still on and the Porcupine Islands in the front ^^
^^ We took a jillion sunrise photos. ^^
^^ This is what 4:25 am without any coffee looks like. ^^
As much as we try to avoid the crowds, witnessing “the first sunrise of the continental United States” was too hard to resist. We set our alarms for the ungodly hour of 3:30 am and, after multiple hits of the snooze button, popped out of bed bleary-eyed and fully dressed (a must for getting up earlier than 5), stumbled into our car, and made the winding drive up to Cadillac Mountain.
I was a bit skeptical that the sun could actually rise at 4:25 am. I mean, that does not seem normal. But as we climbed higher and higher the sky became lighter and lighter and we realized that if we didn’t put a move on we might miss the great reveal.
Surprisingly it was not as crowded at the top as we anticipated — there were a good amount of people but not like Haleakala or Grand Canyon levels. We easily found parking and then took a very quick hike from the parking lot to the rocks facing the horizon where we found a place to sit and watch the sun do its thing.
And wow, what a show. Nothing short of spectacular.
Honestly, I’m more of a sunset person but of all the amazing sunrises I’ve seen this one was definitely near the top of the list. The sky changed from purples and blues to vibrant shades of pink, orange and red and the sun reached out it’s blazing hot fingers as if it could touch each and every one of us. We were transfixed and in awe and stayed much longer than the other sunset watchers because we didn’t want to miss a second.
Then back down the mountain we went, through quaint little seaside towns just barely waking up, to our campground where we tucked into our cozy sleeping bags and went right back to sleep. As if everything we just witnessed were part of some fantastic, psychedelic dream.
Cadillac Mountain / $20 park entrance fee // Cadillac Mountain is the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard and the first place to view the sunrise in the continental United States. If you plan on watching a sunrise or sunset in any part of the park it’s recommended that you consult the sunrise/sunset times posted at the park or campground entrances. Had we not checked I’m not sure I would have known that the sunrise for Cadillac Mountain was at 4:25 am (in retrospect it was probably better that I didn’t know until I had already committed myself in my mind to going). The mountain is easy to get to by car though it can be slow-going winding around the mountain, especially if there’s a bunch of other people in front of you. Alternately there is a 2.2 mi trail that leads up to Cadillac Mountain, but yeah, good luck with that. 4:25 was early enough for us. It was rather cold in the morning so make sure to bring warm layers and perhaps a thermos of hot coffee. TIP: for a more private viewing experience without so many tourists there are several pull-off points on the road just before the actual parking lot. The views were just as good from here but without all the people stepping in front of you with their camera phones. Sunsets are supposedly really beautiful from the summit as well and you don’t have to get up so early.