Rising to 1,530 feet, Cadillac Mountain achieves the highest elevation in Acadia National Park and on Mount Desert Island, and also is the highest point along the Atlantic Ocean north of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. From the first week of October to the first week of March, when the sun rises south of due east, Cadillac’s summit is the first place in the continental U.S. to greet the rising sun.
Until the early 1900s, it was known as Green Mountain. Today the name honors Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, Sieur de Cadillac, a French explorer who in the late 1680s laid claim to Mount Desert Island. (In 1701, while living in what is now the Midwest, Cadillac founded a fort that grew into the city of Detroit. Thus the Cadillac automobile is named for the man, not the mountain for the car.)
Speaking of cars, a two-lane paved road (closed during the winter months), the only one up any mountain in Acadia, leads visitors about three miles up to one of the finest views available in any national park. On a clear day you can see… well, maybe not forever, but up to one hundred miles away.
Fun Fact: The true summit of Cadillac Mountain is not where everyone comes to stand, but over by the radio tower behind the gift shop.