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Maine Fall Foliage Tours from the River: Whitewater Rafting

The best Maine fall foliage tours include views from the river!

When most people think of fall foliage and “leaf peeping” (the official term for seeking out fall’s spectacular color shift), they may think “Vermont.” Not to begrudge Vermont its leaves and quaint beauty, but we Mainers want to let people know that we’ve got quite a bit more to offer in the leaf-peeping department, plus a range of activities to augment your leaf-peeping experience!

More Forests = More Leaves for Peeping

For one thing, we’re bigger! Maine’s about 33,000+ square miles versus Vermont’s 9,000+ square miles. And about 90 percent of our state is forested–the highest percentage of any state in the country! This includes some 12 million acres in the sparsely populated northern part of our forested state (the loveliest part, but we’re totally biased). We’re lucky because Maine has a nice blend of hardwoods such as oaks and maples and softwoods like spruces and firs: 61 percent hardwoods and 39 percent softwoods in our forests!  Ah, but what do all these numbers and figures mean?? Well, lots of leaf peeping for you and yours! Northern and southern Maine are replete with small, two-lane country roads where you can amble along and shoot photos, admire the phenomenal colors, and enjoy the crisp, cool air of fall.

northern outdoors adventure resort

Just one example of the gorgeous fall colors on a drive to Northern Outdoors in The Forks, Maine

Before, During or After the Peeping–Outdoor Action in Maine

Even better, visiting Maine means you can get right in the middle of the trees and their spectacular coloration while doing something fun beyond just staring in wonder. For decades now, Maine has been an outdoor mecca for a wide range of outdoor action: fishing, hunting, whitewater rafting, canoeing, kayaking, mountain biking and hiking, just to name a few. Seeing the fall foliage from deep within one of Maine’s forests or from one of its rivers is a whole different experience. If you want to know where and when to go in Maine for peak leaf peeping, visit the Maine Fall Foliage website. Sign up for weekly emails that tell you exactly when Maine areas are in their prime.

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First 2015 Foliage Report by State of Maine – leaves haven’t started to turn!

According to the Maine Fall Foliage website, northern Maine reaches peak or near peak conditions the last week of September. Color progresses from north to south, with the southern part of the state reaching peak or near peak mid-October. Northern Outdoors is in Zone 5, with brilliant colors starting in mid September and peaking in early October.

Here at Northern Outdoors, we get very excited about fall. It’s not just the leaves (although they are incredibly gorgeous), it’s the crisp, cool mornings with plenty of sunshine during the day for some outdoor playtime. So whether we’re getting that final raft or kayak trip under our belts, hiking deep into Baxter State Park or settling in for the leaf show, we’re happy it’s fall. Plus, campfires feel especially delightful in the fall!

dead river fall rafting - maine northern outdoors

Dead River rafting in early September. Trees getting ready to put on their color show!

People always ask us when is the last rafting trip of the season? We raft through all of September and through Columbus Day in October (October 11, 2015) with daily trips on the Kennebec River, and scheduled special releases on the Dead River. The Penobscot River rafting ends after Labor Day Weekend. The best time of year for Maine rafting, we actually think is fall. No bugs, awesome weather, and warmer water. (Yep, the river warms up all summer). The fall colors will literally take your breath away – they are truly brilliant, as only New England maples can be! Come see for yourself this fall with an awesome rafting adventure getaway.  Enjoy our very own Kennebec River Brewery handcrafted beers and cozy up to the campfire with your best pals after a day on the river.

Learn more about the Kennebec River Brewery.
Learn more about Kennebec River Rafting.
Learn more about Dead River Rafting.

Wouldn’t you like to cozy up to roaring blaze this fall?

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