Cadillac Mountain is commonly believed to be the first location in the United States to be struck by the sun's rays each morning. Driving or hiking to the summit of Cadillac Mountain to see "the nation's first sunrise" is a popular activity among visitors of Acadia National Park. However, Cadillac only sees the first sunrise in the fall and winter, when the sun rises south of due east. During most of the spring and summer, the sun rises first on Mars Hill, 150 miles (240 km) to the northeast. For a few weeks around the equinoxes, the sun rises first at West Quoddy Head in Lubec, Maine, the easternmost town in the United States.

On a clear day, it is possible to see Mount Katahdin, Maine's highest mountain, to the north and the Canadian province of Nova Scotia to the east, both over one hundred miles away.

The Cadillac Mountain North Ridge Trail follows old Native American footpaths and a former buckboard road up spectacular 1,532-foot Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the Atlantic coast. Like many of the ridge trails in Acadia, this one is along exposed granite ledges much of the way, offering grand views of land and sea. Here the views include Bar Harbor, Frenchman Bay, and a series of distinctive rocky islands, beginning with Bar Island and extending into the bay with the Porcupines.

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