October 5, 2016 — The 2016 fall foliage report from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry reports moderate to high color spreading throughout Maine. Northern Maine and the western mountains are reaching peak (75 percent) conditions with low leaf drop this weekend. 

Maine Foliage Map Week 4"As if on cue, this Columbus Day weekend is a great opportunity to plan a leaf peeping trip to your favorite destination in Maine. Despite the drought conditions we've experienced throughout most of the state, the colors are emerging on a daily basis and are brilliant. I might even go out on a limb and say that I think the colors on the trees are more vibrant than in past years in all parts of the state. I don't believe our leaf peepers will be disappointed," according to Gale Ross, fall foliage spokesperson. 

Enjoy one of the many unique fall festivals happening this Columbus Day weekend. Head to Midcoast Maine for the Damariscotta Pumpkinfest & Regatta™ featuring everything pumpkin, including giant carved pumpkins, live music, the official "Giant Pumpkin Parade," kids' activities, and the Pumpkinboat Regatta, a race in the harbor with boats made out of 600 lb. pumpkins. 

Attend Sunday River's Annual Fall Festival Weekend featuring the North American Wife Carrying Championship, the 3rd Annual New England Corn Hole Championship, music, a wine tent, kids' games and more. Or, test your beer knowledge at Swine and Stein Oktoberfest happening in Gardiner on October 8. Enjoy samples of craft brews, music, and a unique array of games and activities. Don't miss the 165th Annual Fryeburg Fair which ends this Sunday.

Travel on the Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway following Routes 17 and 4 for views of the many lakes and mountains in the region. This 52-mile drive wraps around Rangeley Lake and follows the ridgeline of the Appalachian Mountains before dropping into rolling hills and valleys. Be sure to stop at the Height of Land, a scenic lookout on Route 17 featuring views of Mooselookmeguntic and Upper Richardson lakes, Toothaker Island and the mountains. Don't forget your camera when you hike into Smalls Falls for a picnic lunch. This short hike is right off Route 4 and gives hikers breathtaking views of the series of waterfalls, colorful gorge, and swimming holes.

Leaf peepers can visit the state's official foliage website, www.mainefoliage.com, to sign up to receive weekly reports by email, and can share their photos from throughout the state as the progression of color begins to peak. Our Facebook page will also include statewide events taking place throughout the foliage season. For more information about fall activities and events in Maine, go to www.visitmaine.com