If you're seeking fall color in Maine, here's the best leaf peeping trip you’ll ever make. In our humble opinion, Katahdin area color is where it's at.
It’s still dark when my alarm goes off now. The days are noticeably shorter, the nighttime temperatures noticeably cooler, and my college football team just played our in-state rival.
Know what that means?
Fall is here!
And in case you needed further proof. Look out the window at work and notice how that poor excuse for a shade tree is starting to turn a poor excuse for yellow.
Yeah, it’s time to start planning a leaf peeping trip to somewhere you can really see some great fall colors.
It’s time to plan a fall trip to Maine. And, if you're thinking about going up north, be sure to read our Fall Guide to Katahdin Area.
Pictured: Camp Katahdin's Wendell Farm available for leaf peeping visitors to the Katahdin area.
Why Vacation in Maine in the Fall?
For starters, just shy of 90% of the state is covered in forest, more than any other state in the union. A large chunk of that forest – about 12 million acres of it – is in the largely undeveloped northern part of the state where so few people live that there’s practically no traffic on the numerous scenic byways that take you right into the heart of this leaf peeping mecca.
The benefit of planning a fall vacation in Maine is its latitude. A trip to Maine is a trip north (unless you’re Canadian). And since fall color peaks earlier in northern latitudes, a leaf peeping trip to northern Maine gives you a jump start on the season.
Best Fall Foliage Tours in Maine
Maine offers a number of ways to immerse yourself in all of fall’s colorful glory. For instance, you could:
- Plan a fall foliage driving tour across the state’s diverse landscapes. Maine’s scenic byways are some of the oldest in the nation and are rich in natural beauty, rural character, and traditional culture.
- Plan a fall canoeing adventure and float your way through Maine’s vast forests. Maine offers about 31,000 miles of paddle-able rivers and streams, some of which even include whitewater rafting sections, although that may detract from your leaf peeping.
- Plan a fall hiking adventure on Maine’s massive system of hiking trails. Whether it’s a short day hike, overnights, or a climb up to the top of one of Maine’s many mountain peaks – climb Katahdin, anyone? – there’s a trail nearby to suit. There’s even an online interactive mapping site to help you choose your route.
- Plan a fall ATV adventure on Maine’s 6,000+ mile ATV trail system. Bright fall color filling your eyes, cool fall air caressing your cheeks as you ride to some of the greatest locations you never knew existed. Sure, fall color may be the reason you vacation in Maine in the fall. But those little stops along the way are what make it unforgettable. Also, check out our article: 3 ATV Trails for Fall Color in Northern Maine.
Where are the best places to see fall foliage in Maine?
So if you are planning a trip to Maine in the fall (and why wouldn’t you be?!), some of the best places to see fall color in northern Maine are:
- Baxter State Park – 200,000 acres of pristine wilderness and the home of mighty Mt. Katahdin, Baxter State Park offers tons of opportunity to immerse yourself in the best of Maine fall color.
- Aroostook State Park – The state’s very first state park, Aroostook State Park is “the ideal starting point for discovering the North Maine Woods.”
- Fort Kent – Sitting up at the top of the state, Fort Kent is the northern gateway to the North Maine Woods. This historic logging town offers some of the earliest chances to see peak fall color.
But of course there are literally countless places and routes through the state that make for great leaf peeping sites (a benefit of the state being 90% covered in forest).
When is peak fall color in Maine?
Fall foliage peak times vary from year to year but as a rule of thumb, fall colors peak in north Maine around the last week of September into the first week of October. The central and western mountain regions peak around the first to middle of October and the southern and costal regions of the state peak around the middle to end of October.
Maine is serious about its fall color. So much so that the state allows you to track foliage conditions through its MaineFoliage.com website. The site also gives some additional suggestions on when and where to catch the best colors.
Denney Lodge at Camp Katahdin is a new, luxury Lodge in Patten, Maine that sits right on Maine's most beautiful ATV trails (in our humble opinion). With 15 beds, a brand new Chef's kitchen, wifi, and all the luxuries of home, you'll have a once-in-a-lifetime trip with your unique group. Step out your door and jump on your four wheelers for short rides around town or let us help you map out an amazing day trip. Pheasant hunt 7 days a week, no license needed on our commercially zoned land. Or, practice your shot at our private shooting range. Read more about Camp Katahdin lodging here: