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Maine Fall Foliage Drives

If you are looking for a wonderful fall foliage drive in Maine you need look no further than the four scenic byways of the National Scenic Byways program or the nine scenic byways of the Maine Byways Program. Along these byways you can view foliage in almost every part of the State of Maine from the Maine Lakes and Mountains Region, to Acadia National Park, to the far northern part of Aroostook Ccounty.

Maine National Scenic Byways

The State of Maine is home to four America’s Byways of the National Scenic Byways program from the U.S. Department of transportation, the most America’s Byways of any New England State. Among these is the only road in New England designated an “All American Road” – the Acadia All American Road, the highest designation in the National Scenic Byways program.

All of these make for wonderful scenic tours year-round, but in the fall with foliage at its peak, these byways can become magic.

Acadia All American Road

The Acadia All American Road is a 40 mile scenic byway that starts on Route 3 at the Ellsworth-Trenton town line, through Bar Harbor on Main Street, and then on to the Park Loop Road in Acadia National Park (see here for a map of the Acadia All American Road). This trail provides a wonderful mix or woodland, Maine’s rocky coast, and quaint downtown Bar Harbor.

Drive this route in the fall to see spectacular color that runs right up to the rocky coast providing for breathtaking scenery.

Attractions Along the Acadia All American Road

Things to see along this route include:

  • Acadia National Park
  • Downtown Bar Harbor
  • Great and Little Cranberry Island
  • Views of Frenchman Bay

Old Canada Road Scenic Byway

The Old Canada Road Scenic Byway runs 78.2 miles along side the Kennebec River, Wyman Lake, and the Dead River on U.S. Route 201 as it makes its way on up toward Quebec (see here for a map of the Old Canada Road Scenic Byway). This trail is known for its wildlife, forests, rivers and lakes and provides easy access to spectacular hiking, rafting/canoeing/kayaking, and snowmobiling. In the fall the forests come alive with color and the lakes, rivers, streams, and waterfalls provide for ample photo opportunities.

Some Attractions Along the Old Canada Road Scenic Byway

  • Access to Maine’s Interconnected Trail System (ITS) for snowmobiling in the winter
  • Access to the Central Maine Sections of the Appalachian Trail
  • Moose River
  • Moxie Falls, considered to be the tallest waterfall in Maine

Rangeley Lakes Scenic Byway

The Rangeley Lakes Scenic Byway makes a 35.6 mile half loop starting on Maine Route 17 West Central Franklin, ME up north to Maine Route 4 in Oquossoc, and then south on Route 4 to the Madrid Rest Area (see here for a map of the Rangeley Lakes Scenic Byway). Along this path it loops along the eastern, northern, and western shores of Rangeley Lake.

Attractions Along the Old Canada Road Scenic Byway

  • Access to Maine’s Interconnected Trail System (ITS) for snowmobiling in the winter
  • Access to the Appalachian Trail
  • Height of Land Outlook
  • Hunter Cove Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Long Pond
  • Mooselookmeguntic Lake
  • Rangeley Lake
  • Rangeley Lake State Park
  • Rangeley Lakes Region Logging Museum, Rangeley, ME
  • Smalls Falls

Schoodic Scenic Byway

The Schoodic Scenic Byway travels 29 miles down the eastern side of Frenchman Bay on the Schoodic Peninsula from the Hancock-Sullivan Bridge on Maine Route 1, south to Maine Route 186 looping down through the eastern end of Acadia National Park (the park’s “quiet side”) and on north up to Prospect Harbor (see here for a map of the Schoodic Scenic Byway). This is the drive for you if you are looking for fishing villages and lighthouses.

Attractions along the Schoodic Scenic Byway

  • Acadia National Park
  • Egg Rock Lighthouse
  • Petit Manan Lighthouse, Maine’s second tallest
  • Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge
  • Prospect Harbor Light
  • Views across Frenchman Bay of Mount Desert Island
  • Winter Harbor Light

Maine State Scenic Byways

The State of Maine has one of the oldest scenic byway programs in the United States. Maine has designated nine scenic byways highlighting diverse landscapes, any one of which would make for a wonderful fall foliage drive.

  • Blackwoods Scenic Byway (Maine Route 182) – Located in the downeast Acadia region of Maine only minutes from Route 1, the 12.5 mile Blackwoods Scenic Byway runs from the Town of Franklin to the Town of Cherryfield along Maine Route 182. Along the way it passes numerous lakes and ponds, hiking trails, and scenic vistas.
  • Fish River Scenic Byway (Maine Route 11) – The Fish River Scenic Byway is located in far northern Aroostook County. It runs 37 miles on Maine Route 11 from just south of Fort Kent to just south of Portage. Some attractions easily accessible from the byway include the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Fort Kent Blockhouse, the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, and Aroostook State Park.
  • Grafton Notch Scenic Byway – The Grafton Notch Scenic Byway runs 21 miles along Route 26 from the Town of Upton to the Town of Newry in the Maine Lakes and Mountains region. Attractions along the way include the Deertrees Theatre & Cultural Center, Grafton Notch State Park, the Grafton Trail Loop of the Appalachian Trail, Sunday River Resort, and the Sunday River covered bridge
  • Grindstone Trail Scenic Byway – Located in the Highlands region of Maine, the Grindstone Trail Scenic Byway runs 59 miles from the eastern shore of Lake Matagamon in Baxter State Park along Route 159, and then south down Route 11 to the intersection with Route 157. Things to see along the way include Baxter State Park, Hay Lake, Lake Matagamon, Patten Lumberman’s Museum, Shin Falls, and Upper and Lower Skin Ponds.
  • Million Dollar View Scenic Byway (U.S. Route 1) – The name says it all for the Million Dollar View Scenic Byway. While only 8 miles long along U.S. Route 1 in the downeast Acadia region of Maine. The byway offers wildlife including bears, deer, eagles, loons and moose, views of Mount Katahdin, and Peekaboo Mountain and more.
  • Pequawket Trail Scenic Byway (Maine Route 113) – The Pequawket Trail Scenic Byway starts in southwestern portion of the Maine Lakes and Mountains region in the White Mountain National Forest and travels 60 miles south along Route 113. Things along this trail include the Burnt Meadow Mountain hiking trail, Hemlock Covered Bridge, Hiram Rail Museum, Fryeburg Museum, and the Maine Mountain Division Trail.
  • Saint John Valley Cultural Byway – The Saint John Valley Cultural Byway is located in far northern Aroostook County. The byway runs 92 miles along the northern border of Maine on Maine Route 161, U.S. Route 1 and 1A, and Maine Route 162. Attractions along the way include the Acadian Village, Allagash Historical Society Museum, Fort Kent Block House, and the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. A trip along this byway can be combined with the Fish River Scenic Byway for a longer journey.
  • Seboomook Scenic Byway – The Seboomook Scenic Byway travels 59 miles along Maine Route 15 from Greenville to Jackman in Maine’s Moosehead Lake region. It may be combined with the Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway for a longer journey.
  • State Route 27 Scenic Byway – The State Route 27 Scenic Byway is in the northern end of the Maine Lakes and Mountains region. Along the way you can see Cathedral Pines – the largest stand of old growth forest in Maine, the Carrabassett River, Flagstaff Lake, Shadagee Falls, Sarampus Falls, views of Mount Abraham and the Bigelow Range and more.
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