Our Final Day in Acadia: Tremendous Nature Scapes, Part III
Two different sites, both with striking vistas but different ecosystems.
The last day in Acadia National Park was shaped, somewhat by our Cadillac Mountain Sunrise being fogged out the day before. Fortunately, I had thought ahead and also reserved entry for the following day to Cadillac Mountain Summit Road. Access to Cadillac Mountain is by pre-registration only, I assume, due to limited parking at the summit. Although we could not see a sunrise, we could take in the vistas from the summit once our reservation time arrived. We scheduled to enter the ranger-manned visitor gate between 11 and 11:30 a.m.
Reservations for both the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain and timed access to Cadillac Mountain Summit Road can be made on the website Recreation.gov. There is a small fee for both types of permits. You simply search for your desired activity, select the day you want to participate, and pay a small fee. You get a receipt of your reservation(s) with a QR code that is scanned by the ranger at the gated entrance to Cadillac Mountain (in our case).
Quick Tip: A limited number of reservations open 90 days prior to the day you want to visit. I started searching before that and was ready to purchase the day reservations opened on the date we wanted to participate in the activity. You can certainly wait, but you are taking your chances, as there are only a limited number of spots and once they’re gone, they’re gone! My advice is to take the time to make the reservations as soon as the window for your desired date opens.
Since we could not enter until 11 a.m. on the last day of our stay near Acadia National Park, we chose to check out a trail that one of the rangers recommended to us on our first day when we stopped at the visitor center to get a map. It was the Wonderland Trail and in an entirely different area of the park.
Wonderland Trail is a 30-minute drive from the Cadillac Mountain road entry point. We allowed time to drive there, hike the trail, look around, stop at Bass Harbor Head Lamp Station, and drive back to the entry of Cadillac Mountain in time to make our reservation. This plan worked well.