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Leaf Peeping Day Trip

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16 posts
10 reviews
18 helpful votes
Leaf Peeping Day Trip

We will arrive in Portland next Saturday, Oct 6th and want to plan a “day trip” of leaf peeping on Sunday, Oct 7th. I wanted to take a route that would allow for stops to see some of the covered Bridges around the Bethel area and—-possibly a easy to moderate (parents 70+ but in good health with us) hike to a waterfall or two. I thought about heading all the way up to the Rangley Lakes region. Since we plan on making a DAY of it, we are open to suggestions. Please also include areas to try lunch and maybe dinner if we get back late. Thank you in advance for suggestions! We are so excited about our first trip leaf peeping trip!

6 replies to this topic
Brigantine, New...
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1,373 posts
123 reviews
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1. Re: Leaf Peeping Day Trip

Check out the live New England foilage map some of the best reported as of Sept 30th was in Hillsborough County NY One you've scouted the best areas for color that weekend then you can zero in on your route and questions


Central Maine
Destination Expert
for Maine
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162 reviews
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2. Re: Leaf Peeping Day Trip

Since you mention Rangeley, you could take US 302 north from Portland (through the Lakes Region) to ME 113 North (toward Gilead ME) in Fryeburg; Rt 113 from Fryeburg to US Rt 2 in Gilead; US Rt 2 East through Bethel (side trip to Newry for covered bridge en route) to ME Rt 17 North in Mexico; ME Rt 17 north to Rt 4 in Rangeley (watch for the Height of Land Scenic Turnout on your left before you get to Oquossoc); Rt 4 from Rangeley to ME Rt 27 in Farmington (watch for Small Falls Rest Area on your right -- waterfall visible from the parking lot); ME Rt 27 south from Farmington through scenic Belgrade Lakes region to I-95 in Augusta; I-95 and I-295 back to Portland. Entire loop should take 6-1/2 to 7 hours not counting stops.

Depending on your timing, I'd try lunch at 302 Smokehouse in Fryeburg, or Sunday River Brew Pub on US Rt 2 between Bethel and Newry, (sorry, nothing to recommend in Rangeley, haven't been there recently enough), or Homestead Bakery and Restaurant in downtown Farmington. If they're still open, Gifford's Ice Cream (next door to McDonald's) in Farmington has won international awards for their ice cream.

Good foliage color may be hard to come by (seems to be developing a bit later than usual this year), but this loop will give you a good mix of elevations to increase your chances of seeing good color somewhere along the way.

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8,079 posts
7 reviews
1 helpful vote
3. Re: Leaf Peeping Day Trip

Portland to Bethel to Rangeley and back will be an awful lot of driving, almost 6 hours in the car so not a lot of time for a hike and a lunch. Bethel should be near peak color.

Fryeburg Fair is on so avoid if you don't want to deal with the traffic/crowds or head that way if you want to go to the Fair.

Level Contributor
16 posts
10 reviews
18 helpful votes
4. Re: Leaf Peeping Day Trip

Thank you!!!

Level Contributor
3,258 posts
4 reviews
3 helpful votes
5. Re: Leaf Peeping Day Trip

Stay clear of Fryeburg!!!

I've got 2 links below to googlemaps. One is a route I'd recommend across The Kancamaguas Highway. The 2nd is a map of covered bridges in the area.


You can take Rt 25 (and/or others) to Rt 16. Take The Kanc. Stop at The Albany Covered Bridge, Lower Falls, Rocky Gorge and Sabbaday Falls (short 15 inute walk, moderate grade in). In Lincoln head north to The Basin (free and level 10 minute walk), The Flume (fee based, appx 1 mile walk), Cannon Mtn Gondola. At this point either turn around and retrace route back across The Kanc or continue on 93/302/16 back to Conway. If the latter, stop at Mt. Washington Hotel (maybe for a nice lunch) and/or continue to Westside Rd in Bartlett and visit Cathedral Ledge.


This is a map of covered bridges in the area. You'd pass one on Rt 25, there are a couple between Conway and N.Conway. You'll stop at the Albany Covered Bridge and there's one at The Flume. Several others as well. As you move around the map, you can zoom in for more detail or zoom out. You can also hit to magnifying glass icon to have googlemaaps re-search for more bridges, for example if you look at the map for Rangely, etc...

Level Contributor
16 posts
10 reviews
18 helpful votes
6. Re: Leaf Peeping Day Trip

Thank you!!!!

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