BDN Maine Outdoors

Colorful fall hikes

Posted Aug. 31, 2012, at 11:42 a.m.
STAND ALONE PHOTO
STAND ALONE PHOTO

• Ferry Beach State Park, 95 Bayview Rd., Saco

Difficulty: Easy, wheelchair accessible.

What you’ll see: This park is home to tupelo or black gum trees, which are uncommon in Maine and turn a bright crimson in the fall. All trails in the park are wheelchair accessible, including the wide boardwalk that winds through the marsh. Don’t forget to visit the beautiful white sand beach. A wheelchair that can travel on to the beach is available onsite for visitor use if needed.

Best time: The black gum trees usually reach peak coloration in late September and early October.

Fee: $4 for adult Maine residents; $6 for adult non-residents; $2 for seniors; $1 for children 5-11 years old; free for children younger than 5.

Pets: Permitted on the trails with a leash; not permitted on the beach.

Information: Call 283-0067.

• Schoodic Mountain, Donnell Pond Management Unit, near Sullivan

Difficulty: Moderate. 2.4 miles round trip.

Directions: From U.S. Route 1 in Sullivan, turn onto ME Route 183 (Tunk Lake Road) and proceed about 4.5 miles. Take a left onto the gravel Schoodic Beach Road (it is marked by a Donnell Pond Public Lands sign). Follow the Schoodic Beach Road for 2.3 miles to the end, where there is a parking area.

What you’ll see: The summit of Schoodic Mountain provides a breathtaking view of the surrounding woodland, lakes and Acadia National Park across Frenchman’s Bay.

Best time: Typically, the peak of foliage in this area is experienced mid-October.

Fee: Free.

Pets: Permitted.

Information: Call 941-4412.

• Saint John Valley Heritage Trail, Fort Kent to Saint Francis

Difficulty: Easy-Moderate, depending on how far you walk. This trail is 16.9 miles long.

Directions: To reach the Saint Francis trailhead, take Route 161 to Sunset Drive. Parking is on the left, just past the church. The Fort Kent trailhead is behind the Citgo station on Market Street, while State Route 161 is lined with access points. In the town of Wheelock, the trail crosses to the north side of 161. This section offers the best views of villages and farms in New Brunswick.

What you’ll see: The crushed-stone trail, which runs along the former Fish River Railroad and skirts the Saint John River, offers views of northern Maine and Canadian forests, farmlands and wetlands. This trail is also open to horses, ATVs and bicycles (as well as skis, dog sleds and snowmobiles in the winter).

Best time: Last week in September.

Fee: Free.

Pets: Permitted.

Information: Call 287-4957.

• French Mountain, Watson Pond Rd., Rome

Difficulty: Easy, 0.8-mile loop.

Directions: From the intersection of Route 27 and Route 225 in Rome, drive north 1 mile. Turn onto Watson Pond Road and drive 0.7 miles to a paved pull-out.

What you’ll see: A short hike leads to the summit of French Mountain, 716 feet above sea level, from which hikers can enjoy a beautiful view of Long Pond and the surrounding forest.

Best time: Typically, the second week in October is the peak of foliage color in this area.

Fee: Free.

Pets: Permitted.

Information: Call 495-6039.

• Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park, 426 Wolf Neck Rd., Freeport

Difficulty: Easy, wheelchair accessible

What you’ll see: From the second parking lot, you can enter the White Pines Trail, gentle trail that meanders through the forest and along the coastline. This hike is suitable for people of all ages, includes interpretive signs, and it is wheelchair accessible (as are the restrooms).

Best time: Typically, the foliage peaks the second week in October.

Fee: $3 for adult Maine residents; $4.50 for adult non-residents; $1.50 for seniors; $1 for children 5-11 years old; free for children younger than 5.

Pets: permitted on a leash.

Information: Call 865-4465.

For more ideas and foliage reports once the season begins, visit mainefoliage.com, Maine’s official fall foliage website.

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