The Thrifty New England Traveler is a blog of VisitingNewEngland, a web site that features real New England travel stories told by a lifelong local.

Scenic Maine Drives and Peak Fall Foliage Tips

Maine fall foliage at Wyman Lake near Bingham

The Old Canada Road Scenic Byway passes Wyman Lake near the town of Bingham. The byway follows Route 201 for 78 miles from the town of Solon to the Canadian border. Credit: Maine Office of Tourism


VisitMaine.com just tipped us on some of the most scenic drives in Maine. With 12 national and state scenic byways covering more than 500 miles of often spectacular coastline and inland scenery, these roadways also offer lots of recreational opportunities. And soon, you’ll be able to experience these byways with a little color: the Maine fall foliage reporting season begins in mid September! Translated, that means lots of fall foliage is on the way. Here are peak times to typically see the best foliage in Maine, according to MaineFoliage.com:

Northern Maine: last week in September

Central and Western Maine: first week in October

Coastal and Southern Maine: second and the third week in October

As they say, results may vary, so we suggest checking in with MaineFoliage.come for the latest updates.

Without further ado, here are some Maine scenic byway suggestions from VisitMaine.com:

Grafton Notch State Park is a destination for many travelers on the Route 26 Grafton Notch Scenic Byway. The park’s Moose Cave is a boulder cave within a 200-foot long gorge that has 45-foot tall walls. The byway crosses the Appalachian Trail and passes through the 4,000-foot Mahoosuc Mountain Range.

Near the northern end of the 78-mile Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway (Route 201) take the Attean Rd. before reaching downtown Jackman and drive to the public boat launch on Attean Pond. Paddle along the shore on the right until you reach a series of five campsites on sandy beaches. The last of the sites has a trailhead for 2,200-foot Sally Mountain with panoramic views of the island-studded pond and colorful surrounding hills and mountains.

Donnell Pond Public Reserved Land provides an oasis of recreation along the Blackwoods Scenic Byway (Route 182) between the towns of Franklin and Cherryfield. Take a break along the 13-mile byway to paddle in one of Maine’s clearest lakes, hike small mountains, camp or fish on a secluded pond, or watch for moose, deer, great gray owls and bald eagles.

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