October 3, 2018 — Maine’s leaf-bearing trees are showing off their dazzling colors of yellow, orange and red this week. The fourth Fall Foliage Report from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry reports peak conditions in northern Maine as we approach the Columbus Day weekend. The rest of the state is seeing fifty to seventy percent color change with low leaf drop (less than thirty percent).
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.
“As if on cue, the beautiful colors of the season we have long waited for are spreading throughout Maine during the upcoming holiday weekend. The predicted weather forecast is also going to cooperate for all you leaf-loving outdoor enthusiasts,” notes Gale Ross, Maine’s fall foliage spokesperson. “Don’t forget to grab your camera and share your photos with us at www.mainefoliage.com or on social media,” Ross added.
Celebrate Columbus Day weekend and great fall weather with any number of festivals and events taking place throughout the state. Check out Living History Days, the Maine Forest and Logging Museum’s biggest event of the year. Happening October 6-7 at Leonard’s Mills in Bradley, guests will experience 1790s re-enactors, wagon rides, sawmills in action and the restored Lombard log hauler running on steam power.
Head to Freeport for the annual Freeport Fall Festival taking place October 5-7 on L.L. Bean’s campus. Sample and vote for Freeport’s best chowder, enjoy a juried art show and listen to live music all day. Sunday River’s Fall Festival is also taking place October 6-7, featuring the North American Wife Carrying Championship, the 5th Annual New England Corn Hole Championship, music, a wine tent and more. On Friday and Saturday, Acadia’s Oktoberfest will offer a variety of local foods, beer, wine and crafts. In the midcoast region, celebrate all things pumpkin at the Damariscotta Pumpkinfest & Regatta™ on October 4-8, including a pie eating contest and the Pumpkinboat Regatta, a race in the harbor with boats made from 600-pound pumpkins.
This week’s fall foliage tour suggestion will take you to the lakes and mountains region of the state. Travel on the Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway following Routes 17 and 4 for incredible views. This 52-mile drive wraps around Rangeley Lake and follows the ridgeline of the Appalachian Mountains before dropping into rolling hills and valleys. Plan a stop at the Height of Land, a scenic lookout on Route 17 with views of Mooselookmeguntic and Upper Richardson lakes, Toothaker Island and the mountains for a great photo opportunity. For lunch, pack a picnic and take a short hike off Route 4 for scenic views of waterfalls, a colorful gorge and swimming holes. For outdoor lovers ready for a more moderate hike, try the two-mile trail up Bald Mountain in Oquossoc. Reach the top and be rewarded with 360-degree views of the region.
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.