A moderate out-and-back hike to the highest point both at Acadia National Park and on the eastern seaboard. The trail is mostly exposed, providing hikers with sweeping vistas of Bar Harbor, Frenchman Bay, and the Schoodic Peninsula. This hike is a popular option for sunrise and sunset, but carry appropriate gear and headlamps when hiking at dawn, dusk and dark.
- Distance: 4.4 miles round trip
- Terrain: Granite slope and stairs, rocky trail
- The hike can begin in two places, both from the Park Loop Road.
- First option (recommended): Take Kebo Brook Trail from the Island Explorer bus stop for .1 miles. Turn right up the stone stairs, cross the road, and continue onto the Cadillac North Ridge Trail.
- Second option: Just past the start of the one-way section towards Sand Beach, there is a small pull-off on the left side of the road. Parking is extremely limited. Cross the road onto the Cadillac North Ridge Trail and gently ascend up a granite slope into the woods.
- After 1 mile, the trail enters the woods, it becomes more rocky, with a few sets of granite stairs. Watch your footing through this section, as it can be tricky.
- After 0.3 miles, the hike becomes steeper and more exposed. This gives hikers more of a challenge, but also more of a reward with sweeping views.
- The trail parallels the road for a short section. Follow blue blazes and Bates cairns to stay on the trail.
- Continue along granite slopes until the trail flattens out near the summit.
- At the fork shortly before the summit, keep right. Continue for 0.1 miles to complete the Cadillac North Ridge Trail.
- The trail ends on the north side of the summit parking lot. From here, hikers can walk .5 miles around Cadillac Summit Loop for sweeping vistas of the east side of the mountain or hike a bit up the Cadillac South Ridge Trail to reach the summit marker. Services at the summit include a restroom and gift shop.
- Return to the north side of the parking lot and follow the Cadillac North Ridge Trail back down to the trailhead. Please note there is no public transportation to and from the summit of Cadillac Mountain.