maine fall scenic drive

10 Can’t-Miss Fall Scenic Drives in Maine

There is almost nowhere that does fall foliage better than New England, especially Maine. Almost 75 percent of the state is forest, with a delightful combination of evergreen and deciduous trees. When the weather starts to cool down, that means that it’s time to hit the road for some autumnal sightseeing.

These top fall scenic drives in Maine offer unique and stunning views of every part of the state, from the coastal south to the isolated north.

Sebago Lake - Route 302 - Sebago Lake, Maine - Fall Scenic Drives
Sebago Lake – Route 302 | photo via @air_humps

Enjoy Fall Colors at Sebago Lake (Route 302)

This beautiful stretch of highway through Southern Maine is all about the lake. Not just one lake — the entire route passes several lakes, starting with Sebago Lake just outside Portland.

The highway will take you past Sebago Lake State Park and Long Lake before continuing off into forests and small New England towns. The trees and lakes make for a beautiful autumn drive, offering plenty of fall foliage to see. You may even spot some animal life, including birds of prey or moose.

Fall Scenic Drive

Cruise Down State Route 11 (aka Fish River Scenic Byway) for Autumnal Awesomeness

State Route 11 is one of the northernmost highways in Maine, and consequently in the continental United States. The route winds 38 miles between Portage and Fort Kent, offering some beautiful views along the way. Some of the best include scenic overlooks of Mount Katahdin and Eagle Lake.

You won’t see many people along State Route 11, but you may see wildlife such as eagles and moose! This area is a prime space of Acadian culture and history, having been settled by Acadians in the 19th century.

Fall Scenic Drive

Road Trip Along Route 27 to Cathedral Pines for Fall Foliage

Cathedral Pines might seem like a strange name for a campground, but it will make sense the moment you see it. The pine trees that line the site are truly massive, looking like church spires.

With all the evergreens around, it comes as no surprise that this region — which lies in Carrabassett Valley alongside Bigelow Preserve and Flagstaff Lake — is a popular spot for winter sports. But it is also a gorgeous place to visit in the autumn when you’ll catch glimpse of brilliant fall foliage through the pine trees.

Fall Scenic Drive

Peep Fall Leaves Along Pequawket Trail Scenic Byway (Route 113)

The Pequawket Trail Scenic Byway is one of Maine’s most rural foliage drives. Following roughly 60 miles through mostly undeveloped land, the byway starts out alongside the White Mountain National Forest before passing the Saco River. You will also catch a glimpse of Mount Cutler as you pass through Hiram.

Though the route winds through mostly rural regions, you will pass through some small towns, making this the perfect weekend trip to enjoy Maine’s fall colors.

Old Canada National Scenic Byway - Maine - Fall Scenic Drives
Old Canada National Scenic Byway | photo via @telan_niranga

Ogle Autumn Views on the Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway (Route 201)

If you’ve been to Northern Maine, you know that once you pass the middle of the state, there aren’t a lot of towns or people around. Luckily, for those looking for an amazing road trip to see the fall foliage, that’s ideal!

The Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway winds roughly 80 miles from Solon to the US/Canada border. But, you can kick off your trip in the quaint town of Waterville and follow Route 201 toward Quebec City. You won’t see a lot of other cars on the road.

This stunning region is French-speaking country, so don’t be surprised if you hear some Quebecois along the way. Though the history of the region is fascinating, the route is best known for having some of the most unique and beautiful scenery in Northern Maine.

Key spots along the route include the Forks, known for its whitewater rafting, and Lake Parlin. Also, you’ll pass the Kennebec River. Though you can spot some beautiful fall foliage from the road, you’ll want to keep your eye out for the Attean Overlook, which offers an unparalleled view of Moose River and the Attean Pond.

Ellsworth to Cobscook Bay - Route 1 - Maine - Fall Scenic Drives
Ellsworth to Cobscook Bay – Route 1 | photo via @alexakeeleyphotography

Experience the Best Scenic Route this Fall from Ellsworth to Cobscook Bay (Route 1)

Coastal Maine is a fascinating place in the autumn. You will see the trees changing color much later than the rest of the state, thanks to the climate influence of the ocean and coastline. If you want to take a drive down through Acadia in the late fall, you have a treat in store along this coastal route.

This drive offers truly one-of-a-kind views of both the Atlantic coast and the brilliant New England colors. Along the way, you will also enjoy the spectacular scenery of Maine’s charming coastal towns, as well as the Narragaugus River and Gouldsboro Bay.

One thing to bear in mind: Acadia in the fall can be crowded with tourists, so be prepared for a traffic jam!

Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park

Take in Maine Fall Colors Along the Acadia All-American Road

The Acadia Byway, otherwise known as the Acadia All-American Road, is one of the most beautiful and unique routes in Maine. This rural stretch offers unparalleled views of old forests and mountains, which are unsurprisingly eye-catching in the autumn.

Along the way, you can also catch glimpses of other beautiful sites throughout Acadia National Park, including Thunder Hole and Sand Beach. Eventually, you will find yourself in Bar Harbor, which is the perfect final stop on this stunning autumn trip through Southern Maine.

Acadia National Park - Maine - Fall Scenic Drive
Acadia National Park

Wind Along Western Maine Ski Mountain Route for a Color-Filled Drive

Each region of Maine offers a unique experience when it comes to natural sights. The Western region of the state is often overlooked, but it is worth a visit at any time of the year. This mountainous region offers some of the most stunning natural views in the state — especially during the autumn.

If you are looking for a great road trip through the Maine mountains, the Western Maine Ski Mountain Route could be a great choice. This route starts in Farmington and follows 152 miles through Maine’s popular ski areas, which feature stunning fall colors at this time of the year.

Along the way, you’ll get amazing views of Rangeley Lake State Park, Mount Blue State Park, and the Kennebec River.

Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway - Maine
Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway | photo via @loonlodgeinnandrestaurant

Coast Along Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway for Colorful Fall Foliage

Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway is one of Maine’s most well-known road trip destinations, and it’s not hard to see why. This route follows approximately 40 miles through the mountains of Western Maine, winding around Rangeley Lake itself.

This short day trip is rural enough that there is a good chance you might spot a moose wading into the water or crossing the forest. This byway also crosses through the very top of the Appalachian Mountains, which extend all the way down into Georgia.

The most stunning spot is Height of Land, which dramatically increases in elevation until you find yourself looking down at panoramic views of Mooselookmeguntic Lake and the Richardson Lakes. It’s perfect for a quick road trip in the autumn.

Old Canada National Scenic Byway - Maine
Old Canada National Scenic Byway | photo via @sshawnbarton

Don’t Miss the Million Dollar View Scenic Byway this Fall

The Million Dollar View Scenic Byway’s very name gives it away — this is a road that’s worth traveling. Amazingly, the byway is only 8 miles long, making it an ultra-quick sightseeing trip or an easy detour on a long road trip. However, these 8 miles pack an astonishing number of beautiful overlooks, earning the byway its name and attracting countless visitors each year.

One of the most famous spots along the road is Peekaboo Mountain, which overlooks Grand Lake and the mountains of New Brunswick, Canada. The byway is also well-known as a corridor for animal life, and you may spot bears, moose, deer, or eagles.

Sebago Lake, Maine
Sebago Lake | photo via @william_eatonjr_photography

Finding The Best Fall Scenic Drives in Maine

Here’s the best secret of taking a scenic drive to see the fall foliage in Maine: there’s no wrong answer. Anywhere you go is bound to offer breathtaking sights of the forests, mountains, coastlines, lakes, and rivers that make Maine famous.

Whether you’re driving along the rural Canadian border or hopping between coastal villages during peak foliage season, you’re bound to find adventure (and plenty of Maine fall colors) wherever you go.

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