Top 3 Sunrise Hikes in the U.S.

Cadillac Mountain, Maine, Sunrise

Best sunrise hikes in the country

We all hike for different reasons, and, depending on a lot of factors, we hike for different reasons at different times in our lives, at different times of the year and in different locations.

Generally speaking, I’m a mountaineer and highpointer but who likes to be labeled, really? A lot of times, I hike/climb for one reason or travel to a specific area of the country for one reason only to find a lot of new reasons that I should’ve come for.

Without further buildup, here’s my list of the best sunrise hikes in the U.S. (note: that I’ve been to personally):

Mount Constitution, Washington, Sunrise

3. Mount Constitution (WA)

Mount Constitution clocks in at an elevation of just over 2,400 feet, but that doesn’t keep it from offering up tremendous views. The summit of Mount Constitution, which rests on Orcas Island, is the highest point on Washington’s San Juan Islands.

The summit can be reached by hiking about 3.5 miles one-way from the trailhead near the Mountain Lake Campground in Moran State Park. If you’re short on time, cut the round trip in half and have someone drive and meet you at the summit (there’s a paved road to the top).

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Telescope Peak, California, Sunrise

2. Telescope Peak (CA)

Telescope Peak got its name because of the unbelievable views from its summit – it was said that those on the top could “see no farther with a telescope.” On clear days, hikers on the summit may be able to see over 100 miles in any direction, including possible views of the highest peak in the continental U.S., Mount Whitney. That alone says enough about this peak to make it list-worthy.

My attempt to summit Telescope was via a longer variation known as the Shorty’s Well Route, but there is also a standard route to the top that leaves from the Mahogany Flat campground.

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Cadillac Mountain, Maine, Acadia, Sunrise

1. Cadillac Mountain (ME)

Cadillac Mountain is a small mountain at just 1,528 feet of elevation, but that means nothing when it comes to the views that are to be had on this relatively modest peak. Cadillac is home to the “first sunrise in the U.S.,” which is just about as great as it sounds – maybe better.

Hikers can head up about 2.25 miles of the moderate North Ridge trail to reach the summit of Cadillac, which also happens to be the highest point within 25 miles of the entire Eastern seaboard of the U.S. Those that are able to get the necessary early start will not be disappointed.

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Here comes the sun

There are few things better than getting that predawn start on the trail and hitting the summit just minutes before the sun peeks out. These three hikes are definitely worth the effort.

*I reserve the right to update this list as I continue my travels across the U.S. Hike on!

Photos from these three sunrise hikes

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