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The Ultimate Maine Fall Foliage Travel Guide

Maine’s fall foliage has a magical way of transporting you into a serene, colorful, and lively universe of captivating nature. It’s hard to beat the beautiful state of Maine when deciding on a destination to indulge in a fall foliage tour.

Whether you’re driving, hiking, or biking through Maine’s fall foliage, it’s easy to forget about the rest of the world. If you’re looking for the perfect spots to witness these breathtaking spectacles, you’ve come to the right place!

As the heat and activity of the summer calm, Maine is the perfect place to unwind amongst the colorful hues of the fall trees. Read below to discover the prime fall foliage experiences that The Pine Tree State has to offer.

maine fall foliage

Compelling Fall Foliage Destinations in Maine

Sunset over Moosehead Lake, Maine

You’ll find the fall leaves of Maine decorating lakes, parks, roads, and mountains with colors of gold, amber, and burnt orange. The colorful trees of Maine are plentiful and come in many varieties, so it is no surprise that Maine is at the top of the list when it comes to places to witness serene fall colors.

Before embarking on your foliage tour of Maine, take a read through this list to point you in the right direction of the places you want to be sure you do not skip over!

Moosehead Lake

Moosehead Lake is the perfect destination for those eager to participate in water activities while surrounded by the vast amount of colorful trees in Maine.

Kayaking, boating, fishing, or even swimming (if you aren’t turned away by the cold water temperatures) are all activities up for grabs at Moosehead Lake. Kayaking is an exceptionally unique experience. You have the opportunity to be fully surrounded by the falls leaves with the freedom of kayaking closer to the trees that catch your eye.

To capture the dusk and dawn views around Moosehead Lake, consider The Lodge at Moosehead Lake for an overnight stay. Witnessing a sunset and/or sunrise surrounded by the fall leaves of Maine is an unforgettable experience for anyone to take advantage of if time permits.

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is a 47,000-acre recreational park and is well known for the stunning Cadillac Mountain. Cadillac Mountain is the highest peak on the North Atlantic Seaboard, reaching 1,527 feet tall.

Take a hike to the top to witness stunning 360-degree views of the fall foliage of Maine which also includes breathtaking ocean sights. Don’t forget to bring plenty of snacks and water for the climb!

If a relaxing car ride through the foliage is more your style, Park Loop Road is a 27-mile road in Acadia National Park that showcases a majority of the foliage throughout the park.

For an additional experience, take an E-Bike Tour of the Carriage Roads to feel the fresh and crisp air that the trees in the park provide while viewing the Maine fall foliage.

Once you pay a visit to Acadia National Park, it’s easy to see that there’s no shortage of nature to view or activities to participate in, so staying near the park overnight in a lakefront cottage is the perfect way to ensure that you make the most of your fall foliage tour through Acadia National Park.

Old Canada Road Scenic Byway

Drive through the trees and stop at quaint villages along the way as you cruise through Old Canada Road Scenic Byway.

It may feel as if you have time-traveled right back to the 19th century if you pull over for a stop in small towns such as Solon or Bingham along the way. These two townships hold an abundance of history with Solon being established in 1809 and Bingham following shortly after in 1812.

In Solon, be sure to stop at Griswold’s Country Store for a classic American breakfast before heading out on your day amongst the colorful trees in Maine.

Wildlife sightings along this road are plentiful in addition to the colors of fall. Listen closely to the call of the loonbird, but don’t strain your ears too hard! It shouldn’t be difficult to hear what is typically described as the “haunting” call of the loons.

Like the leaves of the trees, loons also change colors according to the season. During the fall, spot the loons on the water by looking for their feathers of gray and unique white throat. In the summer, the loon color changes to black with a black-and-white spotted back.

During the drive along the byway, don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for moose sightings! They are plentiful on the scenic route, and you may even find them hanging out in the middle of the road feeding on vegetation, so please take caution to keep the moose safe.

You can capture a picture-perfect moment when stopped behind a moose crossing the road amongst the Maine fall leaves.

Route 27 to Cathedral Pines

Route 27 to Cathedral Pines is a 47-mile route beginning in Kingfield, Maine, eventually connecting with the Canadian Province of Quebec.

On the route, in addition to seeing the leaf colors of Maine, you’ll catch sight of many gorgeous bodies of water as you pass by the Carrabassett River, the Dead River, and Shadagee Falls, to name a few.

Make it a family affair with a night or two at the Cathedral Pines Campground and embark on a children-friendly two-mile hike on Cathedral Pines Pathways.

Carrabassett Valley is one of the most popular places to stop on this scenic drive through the fall leaves of Maine. Play a round of golf and then stop at The Rack BBQ for some highly-rated eats. The combination of these two activities is definitely a fan favorite.

Side note: for those counting down the days for the colorful leaves to fall to the ground and be covered by fresh snow, check out the Maine Ski and Snowboard Museum in Kingfield. You can get excited for the ski and snowboard season ahead before you drive through the Maine fall leaves!

Spot these Tree Varieties on Your Fall Foliage Tour

North America, USA, New Hampshire. Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera), Fall Colors, White Mountain National Forest, NH

A great way to stay present and engaged on this fall foliage journey is to challenge yourself to identify tree species along the way. Make it a personal challenge or create a game with your family and friends that you are visiting the Maine fall foliage with. Look out for these colorful spectacles and see who can correctly identify the colorful Maine trees!

Paper Birch

Spot a paper birch tree by looking for its distinct yellow leaves and white trunks. These are not the tallest trees in the forest, standing at an average height between 50 – 70 feet tall, but the unique colors can help you identify them.

Paper birch trees also produce a fruit called winged nutlets. They are brown, heart-shaped, and attached to tiny seeds. Keep your eyes peeled for these little fruits among Maine’s fall leaves if you have trouble nailing down a paper birch tree.

Sugar Maple

Sugar maple trees are a crowd favorite for a good reason. The magnificent shades of scarlet and gold are sure to dazzle you. Sugar maples should prove to be simple to spot among Maine’s fall foliage as they can grow to heights of up to 130 feet tall.

We also have a lot to thank sugar maples for, as they are a large supplier of the delicious maple syrup we all love to drown our pancakes and waffles in on a cozy autumn morning.

Quaking Aspen

Quaking aspen trees are known for their leaves that dance in the wind. In the fall, the quaking leaves turn to a beautiful shade of gold. Fall is undoubtedly the best time to witness the dance of these leaves as the gold shade of them makes it seem as if the leaves are glittering.

Another great way to be sure you are spotting a quaking aspen tree is to look for its unique trunk of white bark.

You may even witness a quaking aspen that sprouted from a root 10,000 years old! These trees have the remarkable ability to sprout from the same root again and again after a tree dies.

Eastern White Pine

Last but certainly not least on this list of trees to spot on your journey through the foliage colors of Maine is the eastern white pine, also known as the official tree of Maine. They may appear as giant Christmas Trees, and if you’re able to hop out of your car or take a break on your hike, look closely at the clusters of pines; they always grow in bundles of five.

Look up and you may be lucky enough to spot a bald eagle, great blue heron, or an osprey resting in the eastern white pines that can often reach up to an impressive 100 feet tall.

Get on the Road to See Maine’s Fall Foliage

Witnessing the transition from summer to winter in Maine is a special experience for all ages to enjoy. Many people are unable to resist the urge to return to the magic of Maine year after year to witness the spectacles of the fall season and the Maine fall foliage.

If you’re looking for additional fall activities to make the most of your time in Maine after the fall foliage tour, check out this link here to continue reading about the best apple orchards in Maine.