Cadillac Mountain

Cadillac Mountain from Breakneck Ponds

Cadillac Mountain is the highest peak in the Mount Desert Range of 26 mountains and on the east coast of the United States. Its summit is at 1,530 feet ( 466 meters) above sea level. Compared to other mountains in New England, Cadillac Mountain is not very high. However, the base of Cadillac Mountain is virtually at sea level, that is, Cadillac rises 1,530 feet above much of the surrounding terrain where people live. When considered in this light, Cadillac Mountain is comparable to some foothills in the Rocky Mountains.

The photograph above shows Cadillac Mountain from the Breakneck Ponds in Bar Harbor about three miles (4.8 kilometers) north, northwest, of the summit. This photograph is a lower resolution version of a high resolution photograph too large for the Internet. However, look carefully near the top of Cadillac Mountain and you should see a line of some stone guards along the paved road to the summit. Cadillac Mountain is the only mountain in the Mount Desert Range that has a paved road to the summit. This road provides an easy means of identifying Cadillac Mountain when you can see the west side of the mountain, even from a great distance, because the sunlight will reflect off the vehicles using the road. The next photograph shows the eastern face of Cadillac Mountain from Otter Cove on the southeastern coast of Acadia National Park about three miles from the summit. Cadillac Mountain appears farther away in the photograph below because the photograph above is a detail from a larger photograph.

Cadillac and Dorr Mountains from Otter Creek

The next photograph shows Cadillac Mountain (right) and Dorr Mountain (left) from the north. Note the notch between Dorr Mountain and Cadillac Mountain in the photograph above and below.

Dorr and Cadillac Mountains from the North

The notch between Dorr Mountain and Cadillac Mountain is shown more clearly in the following photograph taken from the north. A trail called The Gorge Path north of the notch and the Murray Young Path south of the notch goes through this notch.

The Notch Between Dorr and Cadillac Mountains

Cadillac Mountain was originally called Green Mountain. In the late 19th century, the Green Mountain Hotel was constructed on the summit. This hotel was accessible by a carriage road to the summit and, for less than a decade, a cog railway. The railway failed and the engine was shipped to Mount Washington in New Hampshire. The hotel was also razed. Today, the summit has a souvenir shop and rest facilities. The carriage road is now paved. The next photograph shows the remnant of winter snow by the summit road on a spring day.

Spring Snow on Cadillac Mountain

The large summit of Cadillac Mountain accommodates a large number of vehicles and people. Low clouds are often below the summit as shown in the next photograph. Often the summit is shrouded in fog. The mountain to the right in this photograph is Pemetic Mountain.

View from Cadillac

On clear days, the view from Cadillac Mountain is spectacular. Much of Mount Desert Island is visible. Some mountains in New Hampshire and many of the mountains of Maine are visible on the horizon as seen in the next photograph. From October 7 to March 6, the summit of Cadillac Mountain is the first place in the United States where the sunrise may be seen. Unfortunately, the road to the summit is closed during much of this time due to ice and snow.

View from Cadillac Mountain

The summit of Cadillac Mountain is large, sparsely forested and has a significant amount of granite ledge as show in the next photograph. Visitors can easily walk around the summit area and have great views in every direction.

Blue Hill Overlook

West of Cadillac Mountain's summit is a large parking area and gift shop. The highest natural point  is to the east of radio towers behind the gift shop. The radio towers can be seen in the center of the following photograph that was taken from the Blue Hill Overlook  area of the summit a part of which is shown in the photograph immediately above. One would guess that the true summit. that is, the highest elevation is to the left in the photograph below. It is actually slightly to the right of center. Heights can be deceptive on the summits of mountains.

Summit of Cadillac from the Blue Hill Overlook

The highest point on Cadillac Mountain (other than the top of the radio tower) is at the Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) coordinates 19T0561644 4911184. This point is marked by United States Geological Survey (USGS) marker imbedded in granite as shown in the next phpotograph. To find this marker, walk to the end of the gravel road beside the souvenir/rest room building. The marker is on the highest granite ledge to the right of the end of the road. There is another survey marker nearby. Be careful not to confuse the two markers. The summit marker has the altitude in feet (1530) engraved on it. The Global Positioning System device shown in the photograph shows the altitude at 1536±13.6 feet. The altitude of the mountain could have changed since the marker was installed many years ago because there has been recent, minor seismic activity on Mount Desert Island. The marker is very worn but the engraving is still legible.

Summit Marker

The following photograph shows Cadillac Mountain in winter. The summit of Cadillac Mountain is in the center and completely snow covered. Dorr Mountain is to the right foreground. Pemetic Mountain is in the background to the left. This photograph was taken from State Route 3 in the Otter Creek section of Bar Harbor.

Cadillac Mountain in Winter

One may hike up Cadillac Mountain from various trailheads on the island or drive up the Cadillac Summit Road, which begins on the Park Loop Road about a mile south of the State Route 233 entrance to the park in Bar Harbor.

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