Northern Outdoors in the fall

5 Things to Do in Maine in the Fall

Adventuring to Maine in the fall is a no brainer: with 90% forest cover, Maine’s fall foliage is absolutely INCREDIBLE! Plus, September and October are generally considered “off-season”, meaning lodging and activities are offered at value rates and with fewer crowds. But, what is there to do? Acadia National Park and other coastal destinations are super popular and incredible to see — but, we are huge fans of Central and Western Maine in the Fall. Sure, we might be a bit bias, but where else can you see the foliage change from the bottom of a river gorge?! Here are our top 5 ideas for catching the views this autumn…

1. Whitewater Rafting on the Kennebec and Dead Rivers

Whitewater rafting the Kennebec River in the Fall

It’s no surprise that whitewater rafting tops our list of things to do in Maine in the fall; we were the first company to raft these rivers in 1976! Northern Outdoors offers whitewater rafting trips for people ages 8 and up from May through October, including eight special releases on the Dead River and daily trips on the Kennebec and Penobscot Rivers. If you’re looking for foliage, you might miss the mark on the Penobscot River as trips end the second week of September — but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an awesome early September trip over there!

If you’re looking to see foliage, keep an eye on the Maine Foliage Report. Generally, our area (Zone 5) of Maine starts to see the colors change in mid September and hits peak early October. What does that mean for rafting? Well, the Kennebec River runs daily, so hit up a Kennebec River trip anytime mid September or later — including the late September turbine test for HUGE water. My personal fave? Last Blast on the Dead River — always on the first Saturday in October, with Flagstaff Dam giving us all it’s got. It’s big water and truly incredible views, and ends with a huge bash at our main lodge with craft beer, a cornhole tournament, and music!

2. Fly Fishing through the Kennebec Gorge

Maine fishing - Northern Outdoors

Guided fly fishing trips with the incredible team at Kennebec River Anglers is an awesome way to experience Maine’s fall foliage. Fish for landlocked salmon, brown trout, rainbow trout, and brook trout with a registered Maine guide by raft through the Kennebec River gorge. Chris, Greg, or Mike will take you to hidden spots along the river that aren’t accessible by vehicle…just think about the incredible, remote views you will see from those fishing spots! Plus, they’ll help you choose flies and refine technique as much or as little as you’d like!

3. Road Trip: Follow the Maine Beer Trail for an epic (and tasty) Adventure!

Maine Brewery Map
Plan your road trip with the Maine Brewer’s Guild Beer Map

Northern Outdoors is located along Route 201, the Old Canada Road Scenic Byway — and did you know we have an on-site brewery? A trip to The Forks in and of itself is a beautiful ride and a fun adventure, but why not add a little extra with some pit stops along the way for craft Maine beer? The Maine Beer Trail map shows you all the Maine breweries along your route — and some of them even offer a place to stay (just like us), including Boothbay Craft Brewery!

Fall road trip on scenic Route 201
Route 201, the Old Canada Road Scenic Byway

Top of our list? Bigelow Brewing Company in Skowhegan, located just an hour south of us, whips up some DELICIOUS wood-fired pizza and is generally open on Friday nights – perfect for those traveling through after the work week! Use the “Plan Your Route” tool to figure out the best way to hit up some craft beer on your way to Northern Outdoors and our very own Kennebec River Brewery, and consider us a pit-stop on your way to finding pure beer bliss!

4. Hike Into a 90′ Waterfall


Moxie Falls in autumn

There are tons of beautiful hikes and walks in Maine to see the foliage changing color, but the one that tops our list year after year is a trip into Moxie Falls. The trailhead leaves the Lake Moxie Road, just a 10 minute drive away from our lodge, and travels 3/4 of a mile into a beautiful 90 foot waterfall. Keep your eyes on the map to see when our Zone (zone 5) is in peak, and plan your trip accordingly! If you’re looking to go a little bigger, do both Moxie Falls and Mosquito Mountain (just under 10 minutes away from Moxie Falls) in one day.

5. ATV to Greenville: The Road Less Traveled

Moose along the Maine ATV trails

With amazing landowner permissions and access, ATVing in Maine is THE BEST! Fall riding especially, with trails a little quieter than the mid-summer riding, cheaper cabin rates, and beautiful foliage lining the trails around Maine. A trip to Moosehead Lake in Greenville is the perfect way to spend the day on the trails. Added bonus? Fall is when a lot of wildlife is coming out and getting ready for breeding season! Lots of folks catch moose on the trails, so ride respectfully and keep your eyes peeled!

Have your own ATV? We have tons of parking for trailers right here at Northern Outdoors in The Forks, and the ATV trail leaves right from your cabin door connecting you to Maine’s amazing network of trails. Or, grab a rental from our friends at Maine Outdoor Sports. They have a huge selection of ATVs – including traditional four wheelers, side by sides, and even 4 seaters to fit the whole family! They will get you set up right at Northern Outdoors for an awesome full or half day on the trails.

It’s Time to Plan!

Now that you have a fun selection of activities and things to do to see the changing colors in Maine, it’s time to get planning! Explore our website or give us a call at (207) 663-4466 to chat more about adventuring to Maine this fall. With cabins and a campground, an on-site restaurant and craft brewery, hot tub, huge stone fireplace, and weekly events, a visit to Northern Outdoors in The Forks is the best place to catch the fall foliage and have a good time doing it! We’ll see you in the fall! 🙂

Cabins at Northern Outdoors
4 Bedroom Cabin at Northern Outdoors

Share your favorite place to see the changing colors in the comments below!

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