Want to see beautiful fall foliage in Maine? Our guide provides peak times and the best places to go leaf peeping in Maine.
Fall Foliage In Maine
We’ll be honest here… because we grew up in South Florida, we never paid much attention to fall foliage. Not that Florida doesn’t have any; we discovered beautiful changing colors when we went on a hot air balloon ride in Central Florida. But still, it’s just not something we cared to spend much time thinking about.
In fact, we only heard the term “leaf peeping” for the first time a couple of years ago. We were up in New England; Western Massachusetts actually. And we know that New England fall foliage is pretty famous, especially the fall foliage in New Hampshire and Vermont. We were curious, however, about the fall foliage in Maine.
We traveled to Maine in 2019 and fell in love with it. It’s a beautiful state with so many amazing parks, forests, and wildlife refuges. And although it might not be as popular as some of the other New England states, leaf peeping in Maine is possible. So, with the help of some blogger friends, we’ve put together this guide so you can experience the best fall foliage in Maine.
Fun Fact: Maine is also known for having some of the best lighthouses on the East Coast!
When Is The Best Time To See Fall Foliage In Maine?
Maine is a big state and the variances of yellow, orange, and red will travel from north to south. This means that leaf peeping in Maine is generally best in northern Maine around the last week of September and the first week of October.
In central and western Maine, peak leaf peeping is usually around Indigenous Peoples’ Day (second Monday of October). Then, coastal and southern Maine are generally at their peak conditions from mid-October to the end of October.
Where To Go Leaf Peeping In Maine
Now that we know the best time to see fall foliage in Maine, let’s figure out where to go leaf peeping in Maine. Did you know there are 32 state parks in Maine? There is also a national park, national forest, and countless other natural attractions. They are all unique and provide impressive landscapes for you to see the changing colors of fall.
Acadia National Park
Jamie of Adventures in New England
When exploring Maine in the fall, be sure to visit New England’s only national park, Acadia, and the nearby town of Bar Harbor. The park lies on Mount Desert Island on the coast of Maine. It is full of coniferous and deciduous forests along a rocky, and sometimes, sandy coastline.
In 1919, President Wilson signed an act establishing the national park. Later on, private donations from JD Rockefeller, Jr. helped to create state-of-the-art carriage roads in the park. Nowadays, visitors can still hike along the 45 miles of carriage roads.
There is an entrance fee to visit this busy park, which includes transportation via bus into multiple stops in the park. You can drive in but will find parking very difficult. The cute little town of Bar Harbor is where you will want to eat and shop. Check out the Bar Harbor Inn to stay for a few nights.
Baxter State Park
James & Maddie of Wanderus Living
One of the most beautiful and scenic places to see fall foliage in Maine is Baxter State Park. Home to the northern end of the Appalachian trail, the views and fall foliage in Baxter are amazing. It cover over 200,000 acres, making it the largest state park in Maine.
The entrance fee to Baxter State Park is $15 for any out-of-state vehicles and free for all Maine residents. The park entrance is also free if you are a veteran or member of the military.
The best way to view the beauty of Baxter and view the amazing colors of fall is to hike to the top of Mount Katahdin. It is the highest peak in Maine, and offers a 360-degree view of the entire wilderness that is Baxter State Park.
There are multiple trail heads leading to the peak, but the shortest is via the Chimney Pond Campground which is only 2.6 miles out and back. The Chimney Pond Campground is also one of the nicest and best located places to stay in the area. Nearby Millinocket also has some hotel options.
Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge
Located in eastern Maine, Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge is made up of nearly 30,000 acres of federally protected land. The refuge is divided into two sections and has streams, lakes, and wetlands. There are also aspen, maple, and birch trees, making it a perfect place to see fall foliage in Maine.
It is free to enter and you can drive through the refuge or hike along one of its many trails. While you’re leaf peeping, you’re sure to see a lot of wildlife as well. Many birds call the refuge home, including bald eagles. There are also black bears, white-tailed deer, moose, coyotes, snowshoe hares, beaver, and river otters. When we visited Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, we traveled from the cute town of Lubec.
Hacker’s Hill Preserve
Hacker’s Hill Preserve was established in 2013 in Casco, Maine and is approximately 27 acres. It’s another great place to go leaf peeping in Maine because it offers 360-degree views of the White Mountains, Pleasant Mountain, and the Lakes Region. The property is open to the public from May through October.
Camden Hills State Park
Camden Hills State Park is another great place to see some Maine fall foliage. The park is located on the southern coast of Maine and is 5,710 acres. It overlooks Penobscot Bay and Camden Harbor.
The park also has many hiking trails, including two to Megunticook Lake. The views around the lake are very picturesque, especially during the fall. Camden Hills is open year round. Entry fee is $4 for Maine residents and $6 for non-residents.
Additional Places To See Fall Foliage In Maine
In addition to the places we’ve already mentioned, below we list other areas that are also known for their great leaf peeping:
- Fort Kent – Located in northern Maine, this small town is known for its unspoiled Maine scenery.
- Rangeley Lakes Scenic Byway – This route travels 52 miles through central-western Maine and offers spectacular views of vibrant red, orange, and yellow leaves.
- Moosehead Lake – The largest lake in Maine, it is located just south of Baxter State Park. For the best leaf peeping, hike up the Pinnacle Pursuit.
Pro Tip: While driving to these locations, make sure you have our Road Trip Essentials guide. It includes games, gear, safety tips, and a printable checklist.
Final Thoughts On Maine Fall Foliage
As you can see, experiencing fall foliage in Maine is possible. It might even be better to go leaf peeping in Maine because it’ll be less crowded than some of the other New England states. With that said, we hope you found this fall foliage guide useful and inspirational. Have fun!