One of the biggest highlights of our New England Road Trip had to be our Cadillac Mountain in Bar Harbor with my stepmom and sister-in-law, Melissa, who is doing the 52-hike challenge this year. As soon as we booked our hotels for the trip she started sending us information about this hike and planned the whole thing. I love it when someone else takes the planning reigns and I can just tag along and enjoy.
Cadillac Mountain, part of Acadia National Park, is the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard. There are several hikes you can choose on Cadillac Mountain ranging from very easy to strenuous. We knew we wanted a good workout and good views so the Cadillac North Ridge Trail was the perfect choice.
There is a small parking lot at the trailhead of this hike, but to be on the safe side we had my dad drop us off. Adventure started early with a scolding from park police (be sure to pull over to a designated drop point if getting a ride), the spotting of a few deer in a clearing (so cute) and a phone-breaking incident (so sad). But we were not to be deterred.
Melissa was in charge of navigation and did an excellent job. The trail was also very clearly marked with blue blazes in case we had any doubts.
This is a hike up a mountain, so it’s definitely a steep climb – good for lifting that tush! And, to my heart’s delight, we discovered that the views were excellent pretty much the entire way up.
The majority of the hike is spent walking over these huge granite formations, which was pretty cool. Melissa is a geologist so she had a plethora of rock knowledge to impart upon us.
Every time we came to a clearing, we gasped at the scenery. It felt like being at the edge of the world almost.
We didn’t time ourselves, but I believe it took us around two hours to hike the 2.2 miles up to the top including stops for marveling at the view (and catching our breath). This seemed like a completely respectable time until a dude we had encountered running down the mountain at the beginning of the climb came racing past us going back up. He was training for the Pike’s Peak Marathon. I think he ran up and down three times. Crazy!
By the time we neared the top, the views became more sweeping and the trail more crowded. Several fellow hikers encouraged us to keep going, as we were only about ten minutes to the top.
Finally, we made it! We were sweaty and panting, but it was absolutely one of the most rewarding hikes I’ve ever done.
I was so glad I got to do it with family, we had so much fun talking on the way up and encouraging each other when we got tired. I loved every minute of it.
If you’re not up for the hike, the main overlook at Cadillac Mountain can be reached by car. It’s also the first place to see the sunrise in the United States, a major bucket list item for some. Melissa, my dad and stepmom did so the next morning while the rest of us party poopers stayed in bed. It certainly looks like the early wakeup was worth it. Wow.
This hike was by far one of my favorite travel memories so far, one I’ll never forget. No matter how you do it, a visit to Cadillac Mountain at Acadia National Park is definitely a must-see if you’re in Bar Harbor.
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