Excited to see this year’s fall foliage in Maine but looking for a way to switch it up? Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park have endless unique ways to view the fall foliage, here are five to start with!
It’s common knowledge that Maine’s fall foliage offers some of the most spectacular fall colors in the world. But did you know that Bar Harbor fall foliage peaks with a slew of unique and adventurous ways to view the colors? For those seeking a novel way to experience the fall palette, book a stay at either of our Bar Harbor locations to soak up the season by air, water, bicycle, and on foot with these five unique and stunning not-your-ordinary-leaf-peeping excursions.
Take a Fall Foliage Flight
With thousands of dots of colors coming together to make one miraculous landscape, the fall leaves from the sky look a little like a pointillist painting. To see this phenomenon in real life, charter a plane with Scenic Flights of Acadia, veteran flight tour operators in Bar Harbor, and take to the skies. From the Bar Harbor airport, you’ll fly along the coast to Bar Harbor and Cadillac Mountain before crossing Frenchman’s Bay and turning towards Tunk Mountain. For 30 minutes, you’ll soar above the surrounding mountains, lakes, and fields before landing back at the airport fully enthralled. You can take a longer trip too if you’d like. Just tell the pilots where you’d like to go!
Cruise the Fall Shoreline
Bar Harbor Whale Watch company takes another approach to leaf-viewing with their Bayside Nature Cruise, a spectacular 2-hour ride among the islands and shorelines of Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island. Here you’ll see some of the most breathtaking scenery in New England, from the sheer granite cliffs of Great Head to smooth rock beaches surrounded by flaming reds and yellows. The Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge is an important stop on the tour as well, plus all along the way, seals, eagles, and other wildlife abound.
Cycle the Carriage Roads at Acadia
Acadia National Park’s 45 miles of carriage roads are some of the most inspirational roads in the country for the way the light dapples through the leaves, their 16 stone bridges, and the sweeping views of the lakes and valleys in and around the park. Surrounded by forests, and therefore billions of leaves, the roads were funded by John D. Rockefeller for horse-drawn carriages and have remained motorless ever since. Grab a map of the roads and hop on a bicycle to pedal past and through a glorious sea of color. If you’re not up for the bike ride, horses and horse-drawn carriages still run on the roads and are available for rent as well.
Meander the Wild Gardens of Acadia
The Wild Gardens of Acadia provide another viewing theater for a foliage outing that surpasses the norm. This piece of land on Mount Desert Island contains over 400 indigenous plants lovingly maintained by a staff of volunteer gardeners. Sectioned into 13 habitats, like a mixed wood, a marsh, a bird thicket, a heath, a bog, and others, this wild garden is a composition of Maine’s flora and habitats all in one space. While not everything is in bloom in fall, the autumn leaves turn the garden into a magical place with little footpaths leading in and around the different areas, including a beach and a pond. Around every corner is a new delight, and the flora is labeled for identification purposes.
Hike Mount Bubble
If you’re a hiker, you’ve probably already thought of a fall hike in Maine, and admittedly, there are many worthy ones. But for the non-hiker or small child, walking up a mountain can be daunting. That’s why we suggest this gorgeous 2.6-mile trek on South Bubble Mountain in Acadia National Park. An easy walk surrounded by beauty on all sides, this hike will take you up South Bubble where you’ll find famous bubble rock, the round boulder perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking Jordan Pond. Not only that, you will be immersed in the autumn color without breaking (too much of) a sweat!