Maine’s 12 national and state scenic byways cover more than 500 miles of roadway through beautiful coastal and inland landscapes. Each byway has natural attractions providing detours, from a short walk to recreation opportunities that could fill a weekend, according to the Maine Office of Tourism.
Grafton Notch State Park is a destination for many travelers on the Route 26 Grafton Notch Scenic Byway. The park’s Moose Cave is a boulder cave within a 200-foot long gorge that has 45-foot tall walls. The byway crosses the Appalachian Trail and passes through the 4,000-foot Mahoosuc Mountain Range.
Near the northern end of the 78-mile Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway (Route 201) take the Attean Road before reaching downtown Jackman and drive to the public boat launch on Attean Pond. Paddle along the shore on the right until you reach a series of five campsites on sandy beaches. The last of the sites has a trailhead for 2,200-foot Sally Mountain with panoramic views of the island-studded pond and colorful surrounding hills and mountains.
Donnell Pond Public Reserved Land provides an oasis of recreation along the Blackwoods Scenic Byway (Route 182) between the towns of Franklin and Cherryfield. Take a break along the 13-mile byway to paddle in one of Maine’s clearest lakes, hike small mountains, camp or fish on a secluded pond, or watch for moose, deer, great gray owls and bald eagles.
Get a workout in with your leaf peeping at the 20th annual Maine Marathon, Relay and Half Marathon Oct. 2 in Portland. The marathon and half marathon begin and end beside the city’s Back Cove. The marathon course is mostly flat with rolling hills and heads north into Falmouth and Yarmouth before turning south. The marathon relay is open for teams of two to four runners. The event is a Boston Marathon qualifier race.
Another option is the 10th annual Mount Desert Island Marathon & Relay Oct. 16. The race that was named Most Scenic in North America by ESPN begins in downtown Bar Harbor and snakes through the villages of Otter Creek and Seal Harbor to Northeast Harbor, Somesville and Southwest Harbor. Admire the changing foliage colors with ocean, mountain and forest vistas.
For more information about Maine’s fall events and activities, go to www.visitmaine.com.