This fall, think of Maine as your own personal theme park.

That’s because it’s really easy to pick a theme for a fall foliage drive in any part of the state.

Looking for history and small-town charm with a colorful backdrop? Make a search for historic covered bridges your theme. Want to take the kids leaf-peeping but don’t want to hear “Are we there yet?” every 10 minutes? Create a family-fun theme for your journey and visit some pumpkin patches or corn mazes. Art lovers can combine a drive through the fall colors with a visit to a museum or outdoor art installation.

Before picking a route, you might want to see what the color forecast is by checking the weekly state foliage report at The report shows the predicted color level for that week in various parts of Maine, based on reports from forest rangers and others across the state.

Here are some suggestions for themed foliage drives you can take in the coming weeks. You can also get ideas about routes to drive and things to do along the way at and at



Few things evoke an old-time New England feel like a covered bridge over a babbling stream. Maine has more than half a dozen of them, including several within an hour or two of Portland. One easy covered bridge foliage route would be to start at Babb’s Bridge on Hurricane Road, spanning the Presumpscot River between Gorham and Windham. The original bridge was built in 1840, but it burned in 1973. The current bridge is an exact replica, built with local lumber and historically authentic techniques, and opened in 1976. From Gorham, head west on Routes 25, 11 and 160 to the Porter-Parsonsfield Bridge, built in 1859, which spans the Ossipee River between the two towns. The bridge is closed to traffic but makes for a great photo-op.

From there, go north on 160, 113 and 5 to Fryeburg, where you’ll find the 1857 Hemlock Bridge, which is open to traffic. North of town, take Frog Alley to Hemlock Bridge Road,  which is dirt and gravel and lets you travel an incredibly pretty and somewhat hidden valley along the Saco River, which the bridge spans.

If you want to extend your covered bridge adventure, head about an hour north of Fryeburg on Route 5 to Newry to see the Sunday River Bridge, also known as the Artist’s Bridge, built in 1872 and now closed to traffic. Go just 20 minutes further north on Route 5 to Andover, and you’ll find the 1868 Lovejoy Bridge, which will carry you over the Ellis River. At 70 feet, it’s Maine’s shortest covered bridge. For descriptions of these and other Maine covered bridges, go to the Maine Department of Transportation website.

The Sunday River Bridge in Newry is much photographed and painted, and is also known as The Artist’s Bridge. Photo by Nick Cote/Maine Office of Tourism.


One way to see the foliage and keep the kids happy is to meander to or between some of the several Maine farms that offer corn mazes, pumpkin patches and other family-friendly fun. You could start at Pine Ridge Acres on Winn Road in Cumberland. The farm raises beef and poultry, but this year it’s also hosting a fall festival through October. There’s a 5-acre corn maze plus pick-your-own pumpkins, a petting zoo, a corn kernel pit to play in, cornhole, a potato cannon (yes, it fires potatoes!), cider press demonstrations and food, including from food trucks. Admission is $12. For hours and other information, go to

From there, you could wind your way west and south (there’s no one direct route) to Pumpkin Valley Farm on Union Falls Road in the rural York County town of Dayton, a few miles off Route 35. Activities include a corn maze, a corn pit, ball launchers, farm animals, pick-your-own pumpkins, pizza and beer (for the parents) from The Rusty Bucket and hot dogs, kettle corn, cider and cotton candy from the Cow Lick Cafe. Admission is $15. For hours and other information, go to



If you purely want great views and nothing else, take a drive through two of the state’s most scenic mountain notches. You don’t even have to get out of the car if you don’t want to. The first drive is through Evans Notch in western Maine, which winds from Fryeburg on Route 113 north through the White Mountain National Forest to the town of Gilead. You drive through a canopy of trees for much of the way. There’s a scenic overlook about half way through the 30-mile drive to park and enjoy the view. For more information, go to the White Mountain National Forest website.

From Gilead, go east to Bethel on Route 2, then head north, following Route 26 for some 26 miles to the New Hampshire border on the Grafton Notch Scenic Byway. The wooded road brings views of 3,812-foot Grafton Notch. There are several areas to stop along Route 26, if you want to see some impressive natural features, including 23-foot Screw Auger Falls and the 40-fooot Mother Walker Falls. There’s also a picnic area. For more information, go to the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry website.

The road winds through colorful foliage in Evans Notch, near the Maine border with New Hamsphire. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer


In autumn in Maine, the trees are nature’s canvas. So why not combine leaf-peeping with an art excursion? One art/foliage trek could start in the central Maine town of Skowhegan, where more than 20 quirky, folk-art sculptures by the late Maine artist Bernard “Blackie” Langlais – a former student and teacher at Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture – are on display all over town. The most famous is the 62-foot-high Skowhegan Indian, but there are many others within walking distance of each other. You can get more info and a map at

From Skowhegan, you can drive about 15 miles north to Solon on Route 201 and find yourself on the Old Canada Road Scenic Byway. From the Robbins Hill Scenic Overlook and Visitors Center in Solon, the route stretches 78 miles north to the Canadian border and offers pastoral views of woods and wide open spaces, as well as historic markers, information kiosks and scenic pullouts at Attean Overlook and Lake Parlin. For more information, go to


A scenic spot for a bite to eat before or after hitting the Old Canada Road is the Old Mill Pub on Water Street in Skowhegan, with a seasonal deck offering a view of the Kennebec River and Skowhegan Dam. Relax with lunch and a beer and listen to the rush of the water while gazing at the trees along the river. For hours, menu and other information, go to

Foliage around Wyman Lake, north of Bingham along Route 201, the Old Canada Road Scenic Byway. Photo by Ron Lovaglio


It’s easy to combine a Maine foliage trek with a couple of history lessons as well. The State Route 27 Scenic Byway is a 47-mile ribbon of road that stretches through some of the state’s best mountain scenery, including Carrabassett Valley and Sugarloaf ski resort. The southern end of the route is in the pretty town of Kingfield, where you can visit the Stanley Museum and learn all about the Stanley brothers and their famous “Stanley Steamer” steam-powered automobiles of the early 20th century. The museum has several original cars, plus information on Chansonetta Stanley Emmons – sister to the car creators – a well-known photo pioneer. For more information on the museum, go to

As you follow Route 27 along the Dead River, you’ll be following the path that Benedict Arnold took when he led American troops on a heroic but ill-fated attempt to capture Quebec City from the British during the American Revolution. This is when Arnold was still fighting on the side of the Americans and considered one of George Washington’s best and most daring commanders. Either before or after the drive, you might want to read the book “Through a Howling Wilderness: Benedict Arnold’s March to Quebec, 1775” by Maine native Thomas A. Desjardin. For more information about what to see on Route 27, go to or

Keeping with the history theme, get a bite to eat at The Kingfield Woodsman, the place’s name a nod to the area’s history of logging and people working in the woods. It’s a popular breakfast and lunch spot right on Main Street.

A farmhouse near Evans Notch is surrounded by autumnal color in 2019. Photo by Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

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