Without even trying, you’re bound to see plenty of fall foliage. It’s Maine after all—the colors will be everywhere. But if you’d like to set aside some time to get outdoors and really appreciate the changing of the seasons, there are plenty of ways to do that, too. (It’s Maine, after all.) Simply going for a drive is one option (check out www.exploremaine.org/byway for a roundup of Maine’s scenic byways). Here are a few additional ways to see the colorful scenery from a bike, raft, trail or plane:
See the trees from the trails
Pick a trail. Any trail. Whether it’s a steep mountain climb or an easy-going walk, the trail is the perfect place to enjoy the falls colors (and smells). The website mainetrailfinder.com is an excellent resource for finding just the right hike (you can search by location, distance and difficulty). If you’d prefer a guide, the Bureau of Parks and Lands offers guided foliage hikes at some of Maine’s state parks. The hikes are free with park admission (see www.maine.gov for this year’s schedule). Or join the Loon Echo Land Trust for a free guided hike on Oct. 13 along the Pismire Bluff Trail at Raymond Community Forest. The two-hour moderate hike begins at 10 a.m. and includes views of the surrounding lakes and foothills and hike through a forest filled with maple, basswood and ash trees (go to lelt.org for more info).
Go whitewater rafting in the fall
No one says your leaf peeping has to be leisurely. Get the adrenaline pumping with a day on some rapids. There are a number of outfitters offering whitewater rafting trips in the first half of the month, before they close up shop for the season. North Country Rivers leads four-hour rafting trips of the Kennebec River through Oct. 15 for $89 (www.northcountryrivers.com). Or how about some time on the Dead River with Northern Outdoors? Their Octoberfest Fall Raft ’n Brews Weekend falls on Oct. 7, which means you can raft the Dead River for $89 and enjoy a BBQ cookout and $3 Octoberfest pint after (www.northernoutdoors.com). Three Rivers is celebrating the end of the season on Oct. 7, too, with a Dead River high water raft trip and Last Blast Pig Roast for $104 (threeriverswhitewater.com).
Fly over the foliage
It’s a rare treat to see the fall colors from above. Naples Seaplane Adventures offers flights over the Lakes Region, where you can take in the sights and revel in the fact that you’re in a float plane, which is also pretty memorable. Flights leave from Long Lake in Naples, and the plane has room for up to five passengers. Tickets start at $45 for adults and $35 for children. Fall hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the following dates: Sept. 5–9 and 26-30, and Oct. 3–7, 9, 10–14 and 17–21. For more information: www.naplesseaplaneadventures.com or 207-232-2594.
Leaf peep while you pedal in Acadia
It doesn’t matter if you’re walking, hiking, driving or sitting on a rock—Acadia National Park is one of the best places to be in the fall. But for exploration’s sake, getting on a bike and riding around is good way to cover lots of ground and enjoy the scenery all over the park. There are approximately 45 miles of bike-friendly terrain in Acadia, between the carriage roads and paved roadway. (If you prefer to ride away from car traffic, the carriage roads are car-free and absolutely stunning.) If you need to rent a bike, check out Acadia Bike (acadiabike.com) or Bar Harbor Bicycle Shop (barharborbike.com).
Shannon Bryan is an editor of Maine Women Magazine. She lives in South Portland and is always up for an adventure.