Accessible by car, it is the highest point on the eastern seaboard of the U.S., and offers magnificent views of a glaciated coastal and island landscape. The short, paved Cadillac Summit Loop Trail, interpretive waysides, restrooms, and gift shop are located at the summit.
People have enjoyed the spectacular views from Cadillac Mountain (formerly Green Mountain) for thousands of years, as this area is the homeland of the Wabanaki people. European settlement on Mount Desert Island begin in the 1600s, and soon after the summit was used for mapping the coastline. By the late-1800s, Cadillac Mountain was a popular destination for tourists.
The early 20th century marked a shift towards preservation efforts of the summit. It was purchased by the Hancock County Trustees for Public Reservations in 1908, and became part of the original land acreage of Sieur de Monts National Monument, what later became Acadia National Park.
In the summer, vehicle reservations are required for Cadillac Summit Road. Vehicle reservations are not required for any other areas of the park, or for visitors who enter the area by foot, bike, or taxi. Reservations are not required for winter visits. Make your reservation online at Recreation.gov and download the QR code for offline access.
Cadillac Summit Road is located off the Park Loop Road, and can be accessed at the beginning or end of the loop. It is a windy, paved 3.5 miles up to the summit. Be aware of road cyclists and visitors on and alongside the road. No RVs or trailers are allowed up Cadillac Summit Road.
The summit parking area becomes congested with autos and tour buses most of the summer, and visitors crowd a short summit walkway and the overlooks. Be cautious of people crossing from every direction when approaching and in the parking lots.
There is no public transportation up to the summit. If you plan to hike up, you must return back down the trail to an Island Explorer shuttle stop or parking area. It is not advisable to walk down the Cadillac Summit Rd, especially with heavy use by vehicles, bicyclists, and motor coaches.
Portions of the Cadillac Summit Loop are paved, wide enough for a single wheelchair, and provide scenic views of Frenchman Bay and the Porcupine Islands. Other sections are very steep or contain steps up and down. All other trails to and around Cadillac Mountain are not accessible.
Facilities and Services
Cadillac Mountain Gift Shop has an accessible entrance and restrooms. A limited number of designated accessible parking spaces are marked. These are reserved for vehicles displaying an accessibility placard or license plate.
What Else to Know
- How tall is Cadillac Mountain? The summit is 1530 ft (466m).
- When was the road constructed? The present road to the summit was constructed from 1924 to 1931.
- What is the weather like at the summit? Weather patterns can change rapidly along the coast, and Cadillac Mountain is no exception. Temperatures and conditions can be dramatically different from the Park Loop Road to the summit. Be prepared for wind, rain, fog, and cold—even in the summer months.
- Where is the "true" summit? The true summit is near the radio tower behind the gift shop.
- Where are the bathrooms? The restrooms are located by the gift shop.
- When should I arrive for sunrise? For sunset? Arrive roughly an hour before sunrise or sunset. Note: These times of day are extremely popular at the summit and often parking is full.
- What are all the ropes for? Specific areas are roped off for vegetative restoration. Please respect signs and stay on designated trails.
- When is it the first place you can see the sunrise? From October 7 to March 6, Cadillac Mountain is the first place in the country you can see the sun rise.
- What trails lead up to the summit? Cadillac North Ridge Trail (4.4 miles roundtrip) and Cadillac South Ridge Trail (7.1 miles roundtrip) connect to the parking lot at the summit. The Gorge Path (as part of the Gorge and A Murray Young Paths Route) junctions with the Cadillac Summit Loop Trail. Other trails can be connected together on the east side of Mount Desert Island to reach the summit.