If the last few fall foliage seasons have felt underwhelming, this one should make up for it.

“Everything is right on time and they’re going very brilliantly,” said William Ostrofsky, forest pathologist for the Maine Forest Service.

This year’s leaf-peeping season is shaping up to rival the celebrated fall of 2008 and could be among Ostrofsky’s all-time top 10, he said. And tourists seem to be taking notice, based on increased visitor traffic.

The state’s officials foliage conditions map maine.gov/dacf/mfs/projects/fall_foliage says this is the best week for peak color in central Maine.

It suggests visiting Grafton Notch State Park, Route 17 near Richardson Lake as well as Bigelow Preserve on Routes 27/16 in Carrabassett Valley, Cathedral Pines Rest Area in Eustis, the lookout from Eustis Ridge, Mount Blue State Park in Weld, Tumbledown Mountain Range, Greenville, Moosehead, Jackman, Lily Bay State Park, Rockwood, Sebec Lake and Dover-Foxcroft.

When the leaves get brightest, however, the displays of brights reds and yellows are typically brief — meaning tourists should book their trips quick.


Fall is Maine’s second-most popular tourist season, after summertime. Between September and November of 2013, 8 million visitors spent nearly $1.2 billion, according to the Maine Office of Tourism.

If last weekend is any indication, even more people are making their way up to Maine this year. The Maine Turnpike’s toll booth in York saw 145,720 vehicles pass through from Friday to Sunday. That’s nearly 8,000 more cars than passed through on the same weekend last year, an increase of 5.6 percent.

Dropping gas prices have probably helped. That’s one reason Terry Johannemen believes she’s booked her 14 rooms and suites at the Greenville Inn this weekend.

“This is busiest September we’ve ever had, and the busiest October” so far, said Johannemann, who has owned the inn with her husband for 12 years.

She also thinks people are more confident in the economy and are getting more familiar with the Moosehead Lake region. Not that she discounts the colors of the leaves.

“A lot of people this year, more than ever, booked quite a bit in advance. I think people know that foliage in New England is going to be good,” said Johanneman. “This year, it’s not disappointment. It’s beautiful out there.”


But peak foliage will be over by the end of the month as a result of the summer’s cool temperatures, which alerted the leaves to get ready for an early fall. Even last weekend’s unseasonably warm weather couldn’t change that.

“The course is set,” Ostrofsky said.

As leaves start to fall faster in northern Maine, the best and brightest colors are making their way south, illuminating central Maine before heading to this neck of the woods next weekend.

Portland south will see peak foliage in the second to last week in October.

But, for the time being at least, there’s no bad spot.

“The coloration is just spectacular all over right now,” Ostrofsky said.

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