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Rhon Bell

Rhon Bell, an outdoor enthusiast, spends his time exploring the Maine Woods and documenting his journeys. Growing up in Aroostook County, he embraced the outdoor lifestyle at a young age. Living today near Portland, he spends weekends and week-long adventures hiking New England summits, canoeing the historic Maine waterways, and ice fishing for lake trout. Follow the journey as Window to the Woods discovers new destinations, and check out his other blog, Backwoods Plaid.

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Posted: August 29, 2014

Top 4 fall foliage drives in Maine

Pick a date and take a date on one of these four pretty drives during peak foliage season.

Written by: Rhon Bell - contributor - rhonbell@gmail.com
Photos by Rhon Bell

Photos by Rhon Bell

The entire state of Maine is amazing come fall. That’s why so many Mainers (and tourists) head to the back road, taking in the natural beauty of our state. And I don’t blame them. In fact, here are my top 4 favorite drives:

1. Newry to Rangeley

To begin this beauty of a trip, navigate to Newry, Maine. Once there, you’ll follow ME-26 N through Grafton Notch State Park, with plenty of attractions to stop at, including waterfalls and scenic vistas. This route travels around Lake Umbagog and along a barely-trafficked expressway through Maine’s top foliage. 1 hour and 35 minutes later you’ll arrive in Rangeley with plenty of views left in town and on the ride home.

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THE ROUTE
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2. Kancamagus Highway

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Photos by Rhon Bell

From Portland, hop down to Conway, NH. Bang a right onto 112 after you pass through town and enjoy the twists of the highway and the turning fall foliage. The ups and downs over the mountain passes truly spark your eye and leave your camera running out of battery. Grab a quick bite to eat at the end of road in Lincoln and simply turn the truck around and enjoy the view from the opposite direction. It truly is a one-of-a-kind view each way.

THE ROUTE
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3. Route 17 into Rangeley

So Rangeley is close and a heaven for sightseers. The most scenic part of this road, for me, begins near Farmington. However, if you’re looking for a great (and easy) afternoon drive, start in Manchester, Maine (next door to Augusta) and hop on Route 17 and follow it all the way into Rangeley. The foliage is seemingly as nonstop as the beauty of the farms, fields and mountains. Route 17 is obviously famous for Height of Land and the scenic overlooks over Rangeley Lake and Mooselookmeguntic Lake, but there’s much more to the trip that you’ll experience. Stop at the Gingerbread House for lunch – delicious!

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Photo by Rhon Bell

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THE ROUTE
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4. Destination: Millinocket

Alright, so nobody really enjoys driving on the 95. But once you’re north of Bangor, the traffic is next to nothing and you truly feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere – the trees are bursting with color, Katahdin comes into view before too long and it’s simply peaceful. One of my favorite rides is to hop off in Medway (Exit 244), bang a left and follow the signs to Baxter. The views of our glorious mountain are incredible and you may just catch sightings of a few moose amongst the bright red leaves. Once inside the gatehouse, a righthand turn will take you to Roaring Brook, which is a great spot to turn back around. A lefthand turn at the gatehouse will bring you towards Katahdin Stream, which is also a great drive with amazing views. There will be signage for both locations and the gatehouse will supply you with a map.

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Photo by Rhon Bell

THE ROUTE
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