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The stunning state of Maine is proud of its fall foliage. And you should definitely give it a go this autumn. What can be a better way to admire the beauty of nature than roaming down the road surrounded by the brown-and-yellow palette? In this state, you’ve got some of the most scenic drives in the U.S. that come with mountain and ocean views.
The best time to see fall foliage in Maine is between the last week of September and the beginning of October, when the leaves start to change their colors. It progresses from North to South, so the coastal and southern parts get their foliage a little bit later, mid-to-end of October. We’ve collected the very best places for foliage in Maine for you to enjoy this marvel of nature fully.
Acadia National Park
The foliage viewing gets breathtaking at the famed Acadia National Park. Because observing the change of leaves next to the ocean is a gorgeous, extremely scenic experience. And touring Acadia is quite straightforward, the roads are in great condition, and you’re always guaranteed an expansive coastal vista. The must-do is an iconic Acadia All-American Road, a 40 miles stretch that will take you little more than 3 hours to finish. You will get to see Mount Desert Island in all of its wild glory and will pass through the quaint port town of Bar Harbor, where you can make a stop for some seafood or coffee. It pays off to stay longer in this part of Maine as Acadia National Park has just so many awesome things to do. Also, for a more charming Maine foliage viewing, you can take a horse carriage following one of the historic roads within the park. This way, you’re getting a unique perspective.
Schoodic National Scenic Byway
There won’t be crowds along the Schoodic National Scenic Byway. This astonishing oceanside route is quite an underrated piece of Maine’s coast with a magnificent natural proposition. Here the sight of foliage neighbors the rugged coastline of the Atlantic Ocean, the old fishing villages dot the natural harbors, and you’ve got a high chance of seeing wildlife such as seals, otters, and eagles. Start in Hancock and enjoy the relaxing road that takes you to the only mainland part of Acadia National Park at scenic Schoodic Point, which is on the Atlantic coast in all of its majestic glory. Make a picnic stop at Tidal Falls Preserve, try a lobster at Winter Harbor village, and admire the 19th-century Prospect Harbor Lighthouse.
Blackwoods Scenic Byway
Easy and rewarding, Blackwoods Scenic Byway gets you to the very heart of coastal Maine’s East. It’s only a little bit over 12 miles with a two-lane highway connecting the pretty towns of Cherryfield and Franklin. You will have a chance to see the prime foliage vistas as you drive. Be sure to check out the Donnell Pond and Tunk Lake for even more picturesque panoramas of vivid foliage scenery reflecting in the crystal-clear waters. Also, enjoy the miles of hiking trails through the forest, boat renting opportunities, and wildlife watching (the bald eagle calls this area home so you’ve got great chances to witness one in flight).
Fish River National Scenic Byway
Soak in the rural allure of Aroostook County going from Portage and Fort Kent. One of the most relaxing places for fall foliage in Maine, the road leads you through the forests, meadows, and villages filled with lots of fresh air and centuries-old traditions. The hilly geography gifts with the expansive vistas of the surroundings that allow for a more spectacular leaf-peeping. Keep an eye out for a king of Maine’s outdoors, the mythical moose. Aroostook County is among the top places for moose watching in the state.
Rangeley Lakes Scenic Byway
New England’s natural grandeur comes alive at Rangley Lakes Scenic Byway, which is one of the best places to view fall foliage in the Northeast. Here you will admire the mountain foliage combined with the spectacular panoramas of the enormous Rangeley Lake. A land of grand outdoors, it provides an incredible backdrop to your adventures and offers countless opportunities to enjoy the activities like cycling, hiking, boating, kayaking, birdwatching, and moose spotting. Go through all the 52 ultra-picturesque miles of this byway stopping for a pretty wooden architecture of Rangeley, checking out the tiny but delightful Outdoor Heritage Museum, and picnicking next to the shores of the Rangeley Lake. To have quintessential Maine foliage panoramas head straight to the Height of Land viewpoint, where you’ve got one of the most breathtaking views in the whole of New England. Mountain peaks in the distance, the carpet of autumn leaves in the bottom, and the azure window of a lake in between. It’s incredible here, and you should definitely check it out while in Maine.
Katahdin Woods and Waters National Scenic Byway
If you have to choose just one Maine place for foliage viewing, Katahdin Woods and Waters National Scenic Byway is unmissable. This 89-mile stretch takes you to the highest peaks, the most gorgeous views, and the endless forests. Maine’s highest mountain Katahdin gloriously towers over this magical landscape making your heart beat faster. Fall sees this region at its most colorful when the woods explode in orange, yellow, and brown. As it’s densely forested land, you’ve got the best foliage experience here, maybe even among the most scenic in the whole of the U.S. Also, it’s a vast and wild area, so outdoor activities abound and you’ve got a rich choice of things to do. Whether it’s just admiring the leaves from the window of your car, embarking on forest walks, going on a moose safari, camping in the wild, or rafting in the roaring streams, Katahdin Woods & Waters are there to provide the best outdoor time.
Moosehead Lake Scenic Byway
Seeing the lake foliage has a special place among the visual outdoor experiences you can do in Maine. Why not witness nature’s painting skills next to the largest water body in the state, a glorious Moosehead Lake? The road takes you from Rockwood to Beaver Cove, with spectacular autumn panoramas unfolding as you ride next to the lake shores. It’s meditative and unforgettable, an ultimate thing to do while in Maine. Get a better look by hiking along the lake’s waters or paddling a kayak. And the name speaks for itself, there will be moose, and you should be prepared for an encounter with this impressive animal while exploring the region.
Grafton Notch State Park
If your idea of foliage viewing in Maine involves lots of walking, check out Grafton Notch State Park. Located close to New Hampshire’s border, it’s wild, big, and absolutely stunning with forests, mountains, waterfalls, and impressive wildlife. This land is the best place to get a refreshing break one-on-one with magnificent nature. No wonder the changing of the color of leaves takes the first place here during fall, you really don’t want to miss that scenery. It’s a backcountry hiking paradise full of challenging routes and secret, unspoiled vistas. If you’re not in the mood for extensive hikes, don’t worry, there’s a Grafton Notch Scenic Byway that allows you to comfortably witness the awe-inspiring views of the area and save stamina.
Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway
Those looking for an ultimate fall road trip in Maine won’t be disappointed in taking Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway. A spectacular stretch that connects Solon with the Canadian border, it boasts dreamlike panoramas of forests, lakes, and mountains and passes through historic bilingual towns and villages. The Forks on Kennebec River is famous for whitewater rafting, beautiful Wood Pond takes a central stage in Jackman, and you can find many maple syrup stores along the road. For even more stunning outdoors, take a hike to the highest waterfall in Maine, the Moxie Falls.
Million Dollar View Scenic Byway
The name is pretty self-explanatory and it’s exactly what you get in this far-out corner of Maine. Located next to the New Brunswick province of Canada, the 8 miles of this route are packed with incredible viewpoints and the panoramas of the vast mountainous wilderness. During the fall it’s absolutely overwhelming with the fantastic foliage colors and the vistas as far as the eye can see. Million Dollar View Scenic Byway works awesome for those who’d like to do the leaf-peeping on the road without having to embark on long hikes.