New England Fall Foliage » Foliage Articles » Fall foliage update for Maine & reader question

simple dirt road passing underneath a canopy of yellow and orange Maple trees in Maine

canopy of yellow and gold over dirt road

The turning of the fall colors is being reported in many areas of the country. For the most part this is due to the drought conditions throughout the Midwest and Western states. Face it, stressed trees turn early…

Heather, up in Greenville Maine is reporting that “she is seeing the beginnings of color in several trees around the lake”. She keeps a close eye on the early color for me at her Cozy Moose cabins on Moosehead Lake.

According to Gail Ross who keeps track of the fall foliage for, she says “they’re seeing a slight tinge of color in swamp Maples and sumac but there projecting the fall foliage to be on track” as follows.

  • In northern Maine during the last week of September and into the first week of October.
  • In the western mountains and central Maine areas near peak during the second to third full weeks in October.
  • In the southern coastal regions at or near peak in the third to fourth week in October.

As always if we get significant cold temperatures (not freezing) and bright sunny days between now and 1 October we could see this schedule move up as much as a week or more but for right now, I don’t know what the temperatures are going to do, that far out.

I have seen many blog posts from places like “Our amazing” and “Science Daily” all stating that our color this fall could be some of the brightest in a long time. a Western North Carolina associate professor in biology, Kathy Mathews, says that for her area in North Carolina, the brighter leaves will be coming from those trees that are a little thirsty.

Jeff foliage’s take on a colorful fall

I think it comes down to how much waterfall is enough to produce color but not overly stress a tree. Short of monitoring the ground moisture content around each and every tree in New England, were not going to know until the leaves change.

I think it’s basically going to come down to if the tree is really stressed for water Then the leaves are going to go brown or lightly colored and fall off quickly.

If the tree got just enough water to intensify the sugars, it will produce some extraordinarily bright colors. But in the end there’s no way to know what is enough or just enough until the trees start putting on their colorful fall mantels.  I’m leaning towards brighter colors…

Reader question on Maine fall foliage timing

Hi Stephany,
I looked up regions 1, 2 and 3 just to make sure were talking about the same areas.  So in looking at mid-October and the Down East coast, mid-coast and central inland (Augusta) I think your dates should be right on.

It somewhat depends on how the season goes as to where peak will on or around October 12 but presuming that you are flying in on that date and staying four or five days  then I would start with the inland portion and see what the colors like there.  Then I would move towards the down East portion of the coast traveling south into the mid-coast region.  (Basically regions 3, 2 and 1 in that order).

I have to admit I’ve only been doing this for 10 years and Maine by itself can take 10 years to explore (really longer).

I have some links that I went to send along that I think will help you figure out what and where to explore in each of the different areas.

In mid-September the foliage page will start making their weekly updates and you can get their e-mail foliage updates automatically by registering on their page.  They also have a fall foliage phone number and their foliage person is Gail Ross.  Here’s that information  or 207-287-4900

I think once you hit the Down East portion you’ll find that depending on what you’re looking for (fall foliage colors or harbor scenes) it will turn into a either or scenario.  But if you find a harbor scene with fall colors reflected in the water make sure you let me know, because that’s what I’ve been looking for, for years.

Trip thoughts

You didn’t really tell me what you were looking for him particular and are you just exploring or are you doing this as a photographer?  For instance you can stop in up north at Pemaquid lighthouse and then proceed down towards Acadia and Bar Harbor and of course the Bass Harbor lighthouse as seen below.

in Acadia Maine is the Bass Harbor lighthouse

Bass Harbor lighthouse


Then you can go down and stop at Camden here’s a link to the Camden Hills State Park
basically this Park will take you up to the top of Mount Battie.

fall foliage around Camden Harbor from mount that he

View of Camden Harbor

The view from Mount Battie of Camden and its harbor at this time of the year should be fairly spectacular.  You can then just continue your way down towards bath Maine and the finger islands which won’t provide much in the way of fall colors but the Rocky outcroppings of land with small hidden harbors and lobster boats usually makes up for the lack of fall colors.

You can always head back up into zone 3 (inland) to double check for the fall colors and then back down into area 1 towards Portland, Kennebunkport, or even Kittery.  Remember when you hit Portland you have Portland lighthouse and when you get down towards Kittery you have Nubble lighthouse.

Of course with lighthouses you probably will have much if any fall colors but you do have lighthouses which again, makes up for it.

A nice coastal route is route one and depending on where you start your trip you can travel a fair bit on route 95 for speed, to get where you’re going and then maybe take root nine down to the waters edge and start slowly following route one back towards Acadia, Camden, and bath.  Once you hit bath you’ll start looking for Brunswick Maine and route 24 which heads South out into the fingers and then you’ll catch Hartwell harbor.  You can keep driving until you get to lands and where there is a very nice souvenir shop.  This is literally lands end as you can stand there and you’re looking out into the Atlantic Ocean.

Depending on what the fall foliage colors are doing at this point you should be able to head either further along the coastline or inland to places like new Gloucester and points west of their show many small pond along with Sebago Lake.

I hope this give you some pointers on what to look for I know it’s a little light on actual routes but I would check daily with the Maine foliage folks and of course my twitter and Facebook pages should be getting some reports and also.  Note*as you’re going to these areas if you’re finding any really great color I would appreciate an e-mail or of posting to my Facebook page letting me know which are finding.

If you send me an e-mail saying you’re not finding anything “help” then if I have time I will try to see what my Maine friends are seeing.  Also you should check with the people you’re staying with, the B&B or hotel owners usually have a good idea of what’s going on in their area.

Jeff Foliage
Fall foliage route website
Fall foliage Art and Stock images
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Jeff Foliage

My name is Jeff Folger,
but people call me Jeff Foliage.
I have several pages that I write blogs for such as:
My most popular blog is for Leaf peepers: Jeff
I live in Salem, Massachusetts and work as a blogger and Travel Photographer. I'm also the founder of the New England Photography Guild.
Feel free to visit me on my blogs and see what life in New England is like.

I started with Yankee Magazine as their first blogger on everything fall foliage. Now I blog on my own blog on my favorite subject, telling leaf peepers where the fall foliage is showing up in New England and helping them (to some extent) plan their fall foliage vacations.
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