Maine Fall Foliage Guide

From the best time for peak color to the perfect foliage towns and road trips, our Maine fall foliage guide will help you plan this year’s great autumn escape.

By Yankee Magazine

Oct 05 2022


Fall foliage comes to Camden, Maine.

Photo Credit : Mark Fleming

Planning a trip to Maine this year for some autumn color and fun? Our Maine fall foliage guide is here to help. Learn the best time to see the leaves change color, discover our favorite foliage towns and stunning scenic routes, and read up on a few fantastic fall attractions.

Maine Fall Foliage | Best Time to Visit

While the timing is slightly different every year, the best Maine fall colors reliably move from north to south, starting in mid-to-late September and extending through mid-October.

Some of our favorite regions in Maine for enjoying fall color are Baxter State Park during early-peak (late September to early October) and Bar Harbor during middle-peak (end of September to mid-October). That said, you’ll find fantastic pockets of color in every corner of the state throughout the season.

Learn more about finding peak color in New England in the Yankee feature “Peak Perfection.”

Best Maine Fall Foliage Towns

1. Bethel

Maine’s mountain gem boasts scenic drives through Evans Notch and a covered-bridge driving tour of the area. On fall weekends, Sunday River Ski Resort’s “chondola” in nearby Newry whisks visitors 1,000 feet up North Peak to the ultimate picnic ground. Make sure to check out Bethel’s annual Harvestfest and Chowdah Cookoff, where local restaurants compete for bragging rights.

2. Camden

The view from the forested slopes of Mount Battie straight down to the forest of masts in Camden Harbor is one of the most dramatic in New England and is especially phenomenal in fall. If you prefer to wander among the trees, hike nearby Mount Megunticook or Bald Rock Mountain. 

3. Rangeley

The lakes of Maine’s western mountains hold up a succession of mirrors to some of the state’s best fall foliage. The must-stop viewpoint in the area is at a small turnout on Route 17, aptly named Height of Land, from which a panorama of five lakes and countless forested mountains stretches in all directions.

Maine Fall Foliage Guide
Fields of wild blueberries — also known as blueberry barrens — burst into vibrant color in the fall.
Photo Credit : Wikimedia Commons

4. Blue Hill

In the fall, Maine’s expansive blueberry barrens light up red in a display of foliage every bit as gorgeous as anything on the trees. Wander through the blueberry field at the bottom of the Hayes Trail and then make the short trek up Blue Hill Mountain to enjoy sweeping views of the bay. Or, gather picnic supplies in town and sit by the water, where you can admire trees along bobbing along with the buoys in the surf.

Best Maine Fall Foliage Drives

Acadia Park Loop Road

This 27-mile road offers a grand tour of the forests, mountains, and coastline of Acadia National Park. The route begins on the northern side of Mount Desert Island, just south of Bar Harbor off of Route 3. Please note that the loop requires an entrance fee, paid at the station near Sand Beach.

Along the Sheepscot River

With ample options for stopping, shopping, and photo-opping, this route winds alongside the Sheepscot River and through increasingly rural landscapes. The route takes approximately an hour to travel from start to finish (but only if you can resist stopping to admire the fall colors along the way).

From Wiscasset, take ME 218 North to Whitefield. Bear left on ME 194 West; then an immediate right (north) on Townhouse Road to ME 126. Bear right on ME 126 East for 1 mile; then bear right on East River Road (ME 218 South). Bear left on ME 194 East; then, where 194 makes a sharp right, bear left on Hollywood Boulevard instead. Either ME 194 South or Hollywood Boulevard will get you to Head Tide Village; from there bear left on ME 218 South back to Wiscasset.

Learn more about the Sheepscot foliage drive in the Yankee feature “Slow Foliage Drives Through Fall Color,” and get even more New England foliage road trip ideas in the feature about our ultimate foliage road trip.

Maine Fall Foliage Guide
A canopy of autumn leaves in Whitefield, Maine.
Photo Credit : Sara Gray

Best Maine Fall Attractions

Maine Fall Foliage Cruises

While many tourists amass on the mountains when fall hits, a few take advantage of the excellent views offered down by the water. This season, float through autumnal hot spots and get a new perspective on the season by seeing Maine fall foliage by boat. Get our recommendations on the best foliage cruises in Bar Harbor, Portland, Damariscotta, and more in our guide to fall foliage from the water.

Snug Harbor Farm

You don’t have to be a gardener to appreciate this botanical beauty. A quick peek at Snug Harbor Farm, located along Route 9 in Kennebunk, could easily turn into a whole afternoon. Wander through the five greenhouses and admire the nursery, barn, pastures, growing fields, and resident animals, including ponies and peacocks. Throughout the fall season, the farm hosts plant workshops on topics from succulents to floral foraging.

Read more about Snug Harbor Farm in our article on why it’s one of the most magical places in Maine.

Pick-Your-Own Apples

Nothing says autumn like biting into a crisp apple — especially one you’ve just picked yourself. Maine offers a number of excellent apple orchards, including Cayford Orchards in Skowhegan, which has been operating for six generations. We also love Super Chilly Farm in Palermo, whose owner John Bunker has spent four decades tracking down rare and unusual apple varieties.

Looking for more fall fun? Discover our picks for the best five pumpkin festivals in New England and the best corn mazes in New England.

What Maine fall foliage picks would you add to the list? Let us know!

More Foliage Guides:
New Hampshire Fall Foliage Guide
Vermont Fall Foliage Guide

More New England Fall Foliage:
Guide to New England Fall Foliage Train Tours
10 Places to Visit in New England in Fall
5 Favorite New England Fall Foliage Tours