September 13, 2023, AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) fall foliage spokesperson Gale Ross has announced the start of foliage season throughout the state. The first 2023 Maine Fall Foliage Report, issued each Wednesday throughout the foliage season, reports very little color change throughout the state.
“I like to remind folks that the color change depends on the weather as we advance into fall. We rely on the cooler temperatures and shorter days to enhance the progression of color,” said Ross. "This summer, Maine received a considerable amount of rainfall which will enhance the fall colors, unlike the past two seasons when the state’s forests were impacted by summer drought. Minimal defoliation in certain tree species may impact color in some areas due to the wetter than normal summer, but it should not have a significant impact on our foliage season," added Ross.
Typically, northern Maine (zones 6 and 7) reach peak conditions the last week of September into the first week of October. The rest of the state’s color progression starts occurring from north to south in mid-October. Coastal Maine typically reaches peak conditions in mid-to-late October.
Follow the 2023 Maine fall foliage forecast this season and take advantage of autumn events, activities and tips for colorful road trips throughout Maine:
- With Hurricane Lee making its way up the east coast in time for the weekend, take advantage of some indoor activity options including the Camden International Film Festival, kicking off tomorrow through September 17 at various locations throughout Camden and Rockland. The festival showcases noteworthy documentary films and filmmakers from across the globe and will continue with online options September 18-25.
- For car enthusiasts, one of New England’s largest car shows, the Annual Old Orchard Beach Car Show will take place Friday and Saturday, September 15 and 16. The two-day event showcases cars in many different categories and classes.
- An ideal way to celebrate the start of the autumn season, head to the Lakes and Mountains region for the 25th Annual Bethel Harvestfest on Saturday, September 16 on the town common. Browse artists and craft vendors and the farmers’ market, and participate in the apple pie contest, live music, kids’ activities, and other fall fun.
- This time of year marks the start of the much anticipated pick-your-own apples season at Maine’s orchards. Check Real Maine for nearby orchards, many offering additional family-friendly activities for kids, and for adults, hard cider and other local harvest agricultural products.
- For those in search of early foliage views to start the season, the first place to spot the progression of color as it makes its way north to south is Aroostook County. Check out the Million Dollar View Scenic Byway for just that, emerging above open fields and lakes along Route 1. The byway features numerous panoramic vistas and lake views, including the Chiputneticook Chain of Lakes serving as part of the international border with Canada, between the towns of Danforth and Orient. Spot views of Katahdin, rolling fields, a variety of wildlife including moose, loons and eagles, and scenic turnouts. Venture farther north in The County for more picturesque landscapes along The St. John Valley/Fish River National Scenic Byway.
Foliage season enthusiasts can visit the state’s official foliage website to receive weekly reports by email. Everyone is invited to share color progression photos from throughout Maine. The Maine Fall Foliage Facebook and Instagram accounts feature gorgeous images and special activities statewide. For more fall-themed ideas and insights about visiting Maine, go to www.visitmaine.com.
Foliage Zones & Color Change
- Zone 1: Mid-Coast and South Coastal Maine, including Camden, Portland, Kennebunkport, and Kittery
- Zone 2: Downeast Maine, including Machias, Bar Harbor, and Penobscot Bay
- Zone 3: Central and Southwestern Maine, including Bangor, Augusta, and Fryeburg
- Zone 4: Eastern Mid-Maine, including Houlton, Millinocket, and Calais
- Zone 5: Western Mid-Maine, including Greenville, Rangeley, Bethel
- Zone 6: Northwestern Maine
- Zone 7: Northeastern Maine, including Fort Kent, Caribou, and Presque Isle