October 16, 2019
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Fall foliage hikes: colorful trails for cool weather

Aislinn Sarnacki | BDN
Aislinn Sarnacki | BDN
View from Orange and Black Trail

The blackflies and mosquitoes are gone, along with summer vacationers. The air is crisp and fresh; and leaves are turning magnificent hues of red, orange, gold and yellow.

where110115-14Autumn is the perfect time to hike in Maine.

So, wrap yourself in hunter’s orange (just to be safe). Pack some extra layers of clothing and a thermos of hot cider. And check out some of these particularly beautiful trails this fall:

Tumbledown Mountain – Weld

Photo by Aislinn Sarnacki A pond is seen on ___ Mountain on Oct. 5, 2012, in Maine.

Photo by Aislinn Sarnacki

Difficulty: Moderate-strenuous

Description: This mountain is a popular hiking location in western Maine. The mountain has three peaks, the highest rising to 3,068 feet above sea level, as well as a high-elevation pond. Three trails climb to the mountain’s ridge, creating several options for loop hikes. Because much of the forest on the mountain is hardwood, this hike is especially colorful in the fall. And from the peaks, hikers can view the foliage of the surrounding landscape.

Directions: From the intersection of routes 156 and 142 in Weld, follow Route 142 north 2.3 miles and turn left onto Byron Road. Continue to follow Byron Road (unpaved and with it’s typical Maine potholes) about 4.3 miles to the Brook Trailhead (parking on the left, trailhead on the right). Or continue another 1.3 miles to the Loop Trailhead parking area, which is on the right, just after the trailhead.

Fee: Free

Pets: Permitted if leashed

Information: Call 778-8231

Walden-Parke Preserve – Bangor

BDN photo by Aislinn Sarnacki A hairy woodpecker? (or downy woodpecker... though the beak seems too long to be a downy woodpecker), Jan. 20, 2013.

BDN photo by Aislinn Sarnacki

Difficulty: Easy-moderate

Description: The Walden-Parke Preserve, 205 acres of forest and wetlands in the northeast corner of Bangor, was donated to the Bangor Land Trust in 2005 and features a large beaver wetland, hardwood and softwood forests, vernal pools and a portion of Caribou Bog. The preserve’s main trail, blazed in blue, passes through a softwood forest that includes many beech and birch trees, both of which are colorful in the fall. Hiking the entire trail, out and back, is about 3 miles.

Directions: From the Stillwater Avenue-Essex Street intersection in Bangor, drive about 4 miles north on Essex Street and turn right onto Walden Parke Way at the entrance of the Edgewood Subdivision. Take the next right onto Tamarack Trail (a road). At the end of Tamarack Trail is a small parking area and the trailhead.

Fee: Free

Pets: Permitted if leashed

Information: Call 942-1010 or visit bangorlandtrust.org

Blue Hill Mountain – Blue Hill

Photo by Aislinn Sarnacki A view from the ___ Trail leading up ____ Mountain on Oct. 11, 2012.

Photo by Aislinn Sarnacki

Difficulty: Moderate

Description: From the top of Blue Hill Mountain, 934 feet above sea level, hikers are rewarded with a great view of the area. Four trails travel to the mountain’s summit, and they pass through a variety of habitats, including mixed forest and fields with patches of wild blueberries. The most gradual trail to the summit is the Becton Trail (1.75 miles from trailhead to summit).

Directions: The parking area for the Becton Trail is on Turkey Farm Road in Blue Hill, about 0.6 mile from where Turkey Farm Road meets Route 172. The parking area only fits two vehicles and will be on your left if you’re driving from Route 172.

Fee: Free

Pets: Permitted if leashed

Information: Visit bluehillheritagetrust.org or call 374-5118.

Ferry Beach State Park – Saco

The path to the beach

The path to the beach

Difficulty: Easy, wheelchair accessible

Description: This state park is home to 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, which will be less crowded in the fall. A wheelchair that can travel on to the beach is available onsite for visitor use if needed.

Directions: The park is located at 95 Bayview Road in Saco.

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 – near Sullivan

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Difficulty: Moderate

Description: The summit of Schoodic Mountain provides breathtaking views of the surrounding forests, lakes and the mountainous Mount Desert Island across Frenchman’s Bay. The hike is 1.3 miles, one way, and passes through mossy woods scattered with boulders and across several streams before beginning a steep climb to the summit.

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.

Fee: Free

Pets: Permitted

Information: Call 941-4412

Sanders Hill – Rome

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Difficulty: Moderate

Description: The 2.9-mile loop trail on Sanders Hill travels up and along the ridge of the hill, which reaches its highest point at 854 feet above sea level in the Kennebec Highlands. The woods on the mountain is composed mostly deciduous trees, making it a colorful spot in the fall. The summit offers partial views in the winter, but in the fall, all views will be blocked by yellow and orange leaves.

Directions: From the intersection of Route 27 and Route 225 in Rome, Maine, drive 1.1 mile north of Route 27 and take a left onto Watson Pond Road. Drive about 1.3 miles and the small parking area for the trail will be on your right, marked with a blue Kennebec Highlands sign.

Fee: Free

Pets: Permitted

Information: Call 495-6039.

Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park – Freeport

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Difficulty: Easy, wheelchair accessible

Description: This state park is home to an extensive trail network of about 4.5 miles of intersecting walking paths that travel over relatively even terrain. Some of the trails visit the shore, and along the way are interpretive displays about area wildlife and habitats. Trails travel through mixed hardwood stands, which are especially beautiful in the fall.

Directions: The park is located at 426 Wolf Neck Road in Freeport.

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 if leashed

Information: Call 865-4465

Green Lake Nature Trails – Ellsworth

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Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Description: Ghost towns, glaciers and freshwater ecosystems are three topics you’ll learn about while walking the Green Lake Nature Trails in Ellsworth. Just under two miles in total length, these walking trails travel through the quiet forest surrounding Green Lake National Fish Hatchery and visit the shore of the Green Lake. Along the way, a few informational displays help visitors interpret the landscape.

Directions: The Green Lake Nature Trails are located at the Green Lake National Fish Hatchery on Route 180 (Mariaville Road) in Ellsworth, approximately 4.2 miles from where Route 180 intersects with Route 1A at the entrance of Boggy Brook Business Park in Ellsworth.

Fee: Free.

Pets: Permitted if leashed.

Information: 667-9531

Precipice – Acadia National Park

View from Orange and Black Trail

Difficulty: Strenuous.

Description: Zigzagging up the cliffs of Champlain Mountain, Precipice Trail is known as the most challenging and dangerous trail in Acadia National Park. In less than a mile, the it ascends nearly 1,000 feet. Several sections of the trail are so steep that hikers must be aided with metal rungs, rails and ladders bolted into the granite cliffs. And in many places, the trail is narrow with a vertical rock wall to one side and a sheer drop to the other.

Directions: Drive onto Mount Desert Island on Route 3 and veer left at the fork after the causeway, remaining on Route 3. Drive about 13 miles, through the town of Bar Harbor, to the Sieur de Monts Entrance on your right. At the entrance, take a left onto Park Loop Road and drive about 2.2 miles to the parking area of Precipice Trail, which will be on your right.

Fee: To use any of the trails in Acadia National Park from May through October, you must pay for a park pass to display on your vehicle.

Pets: Not permitted on this trail because of the ladders and cliffs.

Information: www.nps.gov/acad/planyourvisit

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

 



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