The Maine Highlands region has some of the best foliage in the state of Maine – and four unique ways to take it all in! Leaf peepers from across the country make their way to Maine each fall to see some of the most stunning colors in New England. The North Maine Woods are full of birches, aspens, alders, and ash trees that put on a show as the temperatures cool. Brilliant hues of orange, red, and yellow turn this northern sea of green into a kaleidoscope of sunny jewel tones.
If you haven’t experienced Mother Nature’s piece de resistance…it’s time. Need some ideas? We have four of them!
There are four ways you can partake in the leaf peeping pilgrimage to The Maine Highlands. No matter how you go about it, you’ll want to bring your camera along to capture the majesty.
Canoe or Kayak
There is nothing like seeing the reflection of the fall colors in a pristine lake or river. Grab a canoe or kayak and paddle part of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail—a 740 mile trail that winds through Maine, New Hampshire, Quebec, Vermont, and New York. The southern portion of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway meanders across The Maine Highlands’ northern border, and offers paddlers serene views and prime leaf peeping for miles and miles. Visit the Northern Forest Canoe Trail website and use their trip planner to start piecing together your Maine fall foliage paddling adventure.
One of the most popular ways to experience fall foliage is to hit the trails. And The Maine Highlands has thousands of miles of well-marked trails! We suggest you head to Monson and hike Borestone Mountain. It’s a fun, adventurous trail that doesn’t take all day. When you’re done, splash through Big Wilson Stream, which can be accessed via Elliotsville Road near the road to Borestone Mountain. For a bit more excitement, take the unmarked dirt road across the bridge that leads to Big and Little Wilson Falls. You’ll have to drive or hike a little over a mile, but the falls, swimming holes, and photo opportunities will be well worth it.
Hop in your vehicle—be it a car, truck, SUV, or motorcycle—and head to the Katahdin Woods & Waters Scenic Byway. The untouched wilderness in Maine’s only National Monument is second to none. Plan your drive around the Katahdin Woods & Waters Vistas & Views itinerary. Here you’ll find the perfect spots to pull over for a bit to take in the gorgeous fall colors. Due to the remote location, you won’t have to fight large crowds to see magnificent fall foliage. No traffic up here in the North Maine Woods!
Fall foliage in Maine is best seen from above! The views from a seaplane—especially over grand Moosehead Lake—gives you a whole new appreciation for nature. Plan a seaplane tour out of Greenville and you’ll see exactly what I mean. There a few seaplane guide services in Greenville for you to choose from. But no matter your carrier, the views will be stunning. The yellow and orange leaves contrasted with the deep blue water of Moosehead Lake is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Not sure you want to go airborne? Hop aboard the steamship Katahdin for one of her fall foliage tours around Moosehead Lake. You’ll still see beautiful fall colors without the thrill of a seaplane.
Not sure when to visit? Check the Maine Fall Foliage Report! You can check the status for this year and see historical data, too. Plan your trip accordingly–the colors in the north and in the mountains will appear before they will down east and along the southern coast.
Story by Melanie Brooks