Acadia is unmatched for all things autumn. When daylight hours grow shorter, countless trees come alive with shades of red, orange, yellow, and purple for an impressive display of fall colors. With cool, crisp air and fewer crowds, fall is the perfect time to visit Acadia National Park and the surrounding areas. Explore some of the best leaf-peeping Maine has to offer with our guide to Acadia fall foliage.
When to Visit Acadia for Fall Colors
The best time to experience Acadia’s autumnal wonders is mid-October. The hardwood trees typically start to change color in September but will reach their peak a few weeks later. Check out the annual leaf peeping maps for Maine to find out exactly when certain areas will peak.
Best Places to See Fall Colors in Acadia National Park
Inside Acadia National Park, you’ll have plenty of chances to admire the changing colors of autumn. Here are some of our favorite locations for leaf peeping.
Summit Cadillac Mountain
Take Cadillac Mountain Summit Road to the top of Cadillac Mountain, the highest point in Acadia National Park for views overlooking the Gulf of Maine, Frenchman Bay, and Bar Harbor. The scenery here is nothing short of a masterpiece, especially during fall. Experience more magic by witnessing the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain – from October through early March as it’s the first place in the United States to see the sun come up.
If you’re visiting from May 26th through October 19th, vehicle reservations are required and sold online at Recreation.gov for advance purchase.
Drive Park Loop Road
Wind your way through forests, past lakes and mountains, and along the shoreline of the famous 27-mile Park Loop Road. You’ll see a spectacular display of colorful landscapes at every turn. The road ultimately leads to the top of Cadillac Mountain, so you can explore both of these beautiful areas of the park. The 27–mile road also links off to other popular areas such as
Sieur de Monts, Sand Beach, Otter Point, and Jordan Pond.
Paddle Jordan Pond
Trees decked in yellow, orange, and red hues cast their reflection on the crystalline water of Jordan Pond framed by glacier-formed mountains.
Soak in the spectacular views from a kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddleboard that can be rented by the hour. If you’re up for a hike, consider the Jordan Pond Trail. This easy 0.8-mile nature trail hike is perfect for all skill levels. For a longer hike, take the Jordan Pond Path 3.3-mile loop trail that traces along the shoreline and is considered one of the best hikes in Acadia National Park.
Explore the Wild Gardens of Acadia
See over 400 native plant species all in one place at the Wild Gardens. The garden was established in the early 1900s to represent the vast flora found within Acadia National Park. You can explore different habitats such as mountains, seasides, coniferous forests, and more. The gardens are open seasonally every morning until dusk. Admission to the Wild Gardens is included with your park entrance pass!
Cycle the Carriage Roads
Feel the crisp, fresh air as you wind your way through the heart of the park on a bicycle along the Carriage Roads. This 57-mile stretch of historic roads is motor-free so pedestrians, bikers, and horse-drawn carriage riders can enjoy sweeping vistas and up-close views of the landscape at their leisure. The Carriage Roads were commissioned in 1915 by J.D. Rockefeller and include original stone-faced bridges, streams, waterfalls, and cliff sides. Fall is the most spectacular time to experience this timeless beauty as the leaves turn.
Best Fall Hikes in Acadia National Park
Beehive Loop Trail
One of Acadia’s famous rung and ladder trails, this 1.4-mile loop trail ascends a 450-foot cliff face and is rated as a difficult hike since it requires a bit of climbing. It’s one of the most popular trails because of its rewarding views of Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, and the Gulf of Maine from the top.
Jesup Path and Hemlock Path Loop
Known as Acadia’s most beautiful easy walk, Jesup Path is an accessible hike perfect for any time of year. This 1-mile out-and-back trail follows a forested path and boardwalk through a marshy white birch forest with lookout points and views of Dorr Mountain. For a slightly longer hike, you can continue on the Hemlock Path for an additional half-mile trail.
Bubbles Nubble Loop
This 2.6-mile round trip hike covers the summits of North Bubble, South Bubble, and Connors Nubble and crosses varying terrain of forest paths, rocky granite ridgelines, and a carriage road. Visitors can enjoy views of Eagle Lake, Jordan Pond, Pemetic and Sargent Mountains, and the Cranberry Isles along this moderate hiking trail.
Best Places to See Fall Colors Outside of Acadia National Park
Take a Boat Tour of Frenchman Bay
Dine on delicious East Coast cuisine like fresh lobster rolls and oysters while you feast your eyes on views of Maine’s coastline from the water. Floating around Maine’s most dramatic bay will offer spectacular views of red and gold bursts of color on the trees. After booking a stay at Under Canvas Acadia, our Adventure Concierge will reach out to help you get an adventure on the books!
Camden Hills State Park
Just two hours from Acadia National Park, you’ll discover more miles of fantastic fall foliage at Camden Hills State Park. There are 20 trails to choose from, some with ocean views and some with lake views. Our favorite hike in Camden Hills State Park in the fall is Maiden’s Cliff trail. From the top, there is a view of the islands in Lake Megunticook, where the trees put on a spectacular show of color. Get a bird’s eye view of the Camden Hills area with a chair lift ride up Ragged Mountain. The nearby Camden Snow Bowl offers fall foliage chairlift rides during October.
Blue Hill Mountain
Located close to Under Canvas Acadia, Blue Hill Mountain is a favorite spot where many locals make this trip each year to bask in the warm glow of autumn colors of Blue Hill Peninsula. This tucked-away slice of Maine’s coast has a small mountain (only 934-feet) that offers vistas of nearby Blue Hill and the ocean beyond. For a delicious meal, visit Arborvine Restaurant right on Main Street in Blue Hill where you can dine in an 1832 farmhouse. Next door in a converted barn, try a local brew at Deep Water microbrewery and pub. Make sure to sample a seasonal fall flavor beer!
This colorful, coastal community is even more vibrant with the onset of fall. Located on Mount Desert Island along Maine’s Frenchman Bay, you can explore locally-owned stores and restaurants, and enjoy plenty of beautiful scenery along the coast. Take a culinary walking tour to experience the best local bites and learn about the area’s history.
Where to Stay in Acadia During Your Fall Foliage Trip
Under Canvas Acadia is the perfect base camp for an ideal New England getaway. With 100 acres of waterfront land and views of Acadia National Park, you can explore the beauty of Maine by day and enjoy the comforts of home by night in your luxury tent!