September 12, 2018 —Today is the official start of Maine’s fall foliage season. Maine’s leaf-bearing trees will show off their usual colors of yellow, orange and red in the coming weeks. The 2018 Fall Foliage Report from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry reports spotty color change in the forest. Northern Maine is reporting less than five percent color change with very low, less than five percent, leaf drop. This year marks the 60th year the department has been reporting foliage conditions.
Typically, northern Maine (zones 6 and 7) reaches peak conditions the last week of September into the first week of October. The rest of the state’s progression of color will start occurring from north to south in mid-October. Coastal Maine typically reaches peak conditions mid-to-late October.
“I can’t stress enough how the weather going forward determines the foliage outlook for Maine. Warm days, followed by cool nights sets us up for that perfect panoramic display of fall colors that we so look forward to this time of year,” said Gale Ross, Maine’s fall foliage spokesperson.
Celebrate the beginning of Maine’s foliage season at Millinocket’s annual Trails End Festival, with three days of live music, a pub crawl and other fall and outdoor-related activities. Each year the festival celebrates the trails throughout the Maine Highlands region, and cheers the Appalachian Trail’s hikers on as they make their way to the summit of Mt. Katahdin. The Bethel HarvestFest & Chowdah Cookoff, featuring chainsaw carving, local talent and a chowder competition, kicks off this Saturday. Those not wanting to let summer go and wanting to enjoy the beach longer will appreciate the antique cars at the 25th Annual Car Show in Old Orchard Beach, Sept. 14-15.
To spot the first signs of foliage this year, begin your fall foliage touring in Aroostook County. Take the Fish River Scenic Byway (Route 11) from Portage to Fort Kent for views of wildflower meadows, Eagle Lake and Maine's highest peak, referenced above, Mt. Katahdin. This forested route provides panoramic foliage views and the chance to see a variety of wildlife including moose, eagles, landlocked salmon and brook trout. For active peepers looking to experience the foliage in a unique way, explore St. John Valley from the seat of a bike with a ride that features historical landmarks and river views.
Autumn enthusiasts can visit the state’s official foliage website at 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. Our Facebook page will include statewide events taking place throughout the foliage season, and our Instagram account (@mainefoliage) will also feature colorful fall shots. For more information about fall activities and events in Maine, go to www.visitmaine.com.