ACADIA NATIONAL PARK — It was close to gridlock on Cadillac Mountain here again Sunday, this time just before sunrise around 6 a.m.
According to Ranger Tim Rand, so many people decided to head to the top of the highest peak on the Atlantic Seaboard to see the sunrise that traffic came to a complete standstill.
“I was headed up around 6:30 and counted nearly 200 cars heading down the mountain,” he said. “It still was pretty full when I got to the top.”
There are 120 spaces in the main lot near the summit and another 38 nearby in the Blue Hill Overlook lot.
“They were people double parking everywhere,” Rand added.
Three times in August, rangers closed the road to the summit for up to an hour to allow vehicles to clear out. Those blockages occurred in the early afternoon.
Often, people unable to find parking spaces just stop in the travel lane and wait for one to open up. That can cause traffic on the summit road to back up for half a mile.
Cadillac is a popular spot for visitors who want to be among the first people in the United States to see a new day dawn. It is not unusual to have several hundred people at top for sunrise on a clear day.
While other places in Eastern Maine may be touched by the sun’s rays first, depending on the time of year, if no one is at those remote locations, the people on Cadillac can claim to be first.
The Blue Hill Overlook lot was originally named Sunset Overlook, but that was changed several decades ago to discourage the large crowds that gathered there each evening to see the sun go down. Still, it is not unusual for more than 100 people to be spread out on ledges there in the evening to watch the sun set.