Cadillac North Ridge Trail

Acadia National Park, Maine

Distance2.1mi
Elevation Gain1,256ft
Trailhead Elevation392ft
Top1,502ft
Elevation Min/Max392/1502ft
Elevation Start/End392/392ft

Cadillac North Ridge Trail

Cadillac North Ridge Trail is a hiking trail in Hancock County, Maine. It is within Acadia National Park. It is 2.1 miles long and begins at 392 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 4.2 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,256 feet. Near the trailhead there is parking. Great Pond Hill (elevation 633 feet) can be seen along the trail.

Cadillac North Ridge Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Hiking Acadia National Park (Falcon Guides)
Dolores Kong & Dan Ring
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"The open north ridge of Cadillac Mountain provides expansive views of Frenchman Bay, Bar Harbor, and the Porcupine Islands. In season, naturalists and volunteers help spot migrating raptors at perhaps the prettiest hawk-watching site in North America. Cadillac North Ridge Trail follows old Native American footpaths and nears the route of a former buckboard road up spectacular 1,530-foot Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the Atlantic coast. Like many of the ridge trails in Acadia, this one traverses exposed granite ledges much of the way, offering grand scenery. Here the views include Bar Harbor, Frenchman Bay, Schoodic Peninsula, and a series of distinctive rocky islands, beginning with Bar Island and extending into the bay with the Porcupines." Read more
Best Hikes with Kids: Vermont, New Hampshire & Maine (The Mountaineers Books)
Cynthia Copeland, Thomas J. Lewis, & Emily Kerr
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"No monotonous woods-walking for the kids on this hike! Dramatic views over Bar Harbor will demand everyone’s attention as you follow the North Ridge Trail on its gradual climb up Cadillac’s nearly barren northern side. At the summit, the splendid 360-degree view of the island is a real-life version of the view you had at the visitor center when you examined the expansive relief map. Because an auto road also travels to the top, the summit is geared to tourists (in season), with a gift shop and restrooms. Take on Mount Desert’s highest peak after lunch, with the sun over your shoulder, to maximize the view across Bar Harbor to the Atlantic. Or visit as the sun rises: Cadillac Mountain is said to be the first place on the eastern seaboard to greet the morning sun between October 6 and March 7." Read more
Snowshoe Routes: New England (The Mountaineers Books)
Diane Bair & Pamela Wright
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"To outdoor enthusiasts who appreciate mountain-to-sea scenery and solitude, a winter visit to Mount Desert Island, home to Acadia National Park, is hard to beat. The snow doesn’t always last long on this windy seacoast, but hit it right and you’ll find paradise. The scenic carriage roads that wind through park woodlands and mountains will be carpeted in layers of snow; 45 miles are open for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Another 41 miles of unplowed park roads lead to backcountry lakes and ponds, and mountaintop vistas. Winter hikers have even more choices; there are 120 miles of trails, ranging from flat oceanside walks to more adventurous mountain and cliff climbs. In summer, you’re likely to follow a line of bikers cruising carriage paths or hikers walking the more popular trails. Come winter, you’ll have them all to yourself. “I’m feeling like royalty," our traveling companion remarked one afternoon, as we gazed out at mountains and sea. And with a sweep of his arm, “We have all this to ourselves!" The North Ridge Trail up Cadillac Mountain and the descent down a dramatic, narrow gorge is one of our all-time favorite hikes." Read more
Hiking through History New England (Falcon Guides)
Johnny Molloy
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"Start this view-heavy hike at historic Sieur de Monts Spring. Visit the Abbe Museum of American Antiquities, then hike century-old paths to Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park’s high point. En route, pass The Tarn, then climb the Ladder Trail. Surmount the open slopes of Dorr Mountain, named for the man who helped the park come to be. Make a final push for Cadillac Mountain, where vistas of the adjacent hills, Atlantic Ocean, and the isles of Maine make this a classic New England hike." Read more
Hiking Acadia National Park (Falcon Guides)
Dolores Kong & Dan Ring
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"Located at the top of Acadia’s highest mountain, this short and easy trail offers maybe the best views in the park and plaques that identify more than forty islands, peaks, and other key points off its slopes. On a sunny day this loop is the best place for any hiker to get some bearings before exploring the rest of Acadia. The trail is often busy during peak summer months, since cars and buses can drive up the summit road." Read more
Best Easy Day Hikes: Acadia National Park (Falcon Guides)
Dolores Kong & Dan Ring
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"Located at the top of Acadia’s highest mountain, this short and easy trail offers maybe the best views in the park and plaques that identify more than forty islands, peaks, and other key points that lie off its slopes. On a sunny day this loop is the best place for any hiker to get some bearings before exploring the rest of Acadia. The trail is often busy during peak summer months, since cars and buses can drive up the mountain’s access road." Read more
AMC's Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast (Appalachian Mountain Club Books)
Carey Michael Kish
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"Make a spectacular north–south traverse of Acadia National Park’s highest summit with nearly continuous ocean and mountain views in all directions." Read more

Cadillac North Ridge Trail Reviews

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6/16/2018
I've hiked here many times and love both the North Ridge and South Ridge Cadillac Mountain trails. The North Ridge is a shorter trek than the South Ridge, but its steep sections are a bit more frequent and there is some rocky, uneven terrain. There are so many more beautiful vistas of the harbors, coves and islands throughout the whole North Ridge route, so I tend to favor the North Ridge when I am looking for big scenery. Both trails are really wonderful, though, and must-dos when in Acadia.
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8/12/2005
We hiked this trail for the sunrise (first spot in the US to see the sun) and it was beautiful! The TH parking is on the Park Loop road, take the turn towards Sand Beach. We only encountered 2 other hikers but then again we started the hike at 4am. Before reaching the summit and the masses of people that choose to drive up are plenty of good spots to stop, pull out a blanket and some breakfast as the sky turns from black, to orange, to red to a concentrated fireball rising over the water. Bring a headlamp...it's so worth it, scenic views start about a mile in and last the rest of the way up. Coming down is just as beautiful and full of new vistas that were hidden in the dark before.
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Cadillac North Ridge Trail Photos

Trail Information

Acadia National Park
Nearby City
Acadia National Park
Parks
Dog-friendly
Accessibility
Acadia National Park (nps.gov/acad; 207-288-3338)
Local Contacts
USGS Southwest Harbor; Maine Atlas and Gazetteer, Map 16 (DeLorme); AMC Acadia National Park Discovery Map; AMC Maine Mountain Guide, Map 5: Eastern Mount Desert Island
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Dec 2018