In 1930, former Maine Governor Percival Baxter deeded a stretch of wilderness, which he had recently purchased from the Great Northern Paper Company, to the state of Maine. In the early 1900s, Baxter took a fishing trip to this area and became captivated by the pristine beauty of its forests and mountains. Today, that region, gifted by Baxter to the state of Maine, is known as Baxter State Park. It stands as one of the premier locations in Maine to witness some of the most vivid fall foliage.
Baxter State Park boasts the towering Mount Katahdin, from which visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of an expansive forest that ignites with fiery shades of red, orange, and yellow every fall. Mount Katahdin is also renowned as the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. It’s not unusual to spot elated hikers on its slopes, some of whom have journeyed all the way from Georgia. Though hiking Mount Katahdin demands significant preparation and skill, the breathtaking view of the vibrant fall colors makes the effort truly rewarding.
For those who may not be inclined toward challenging hikes, the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Scenic Byway offers a delightful alternative. This byway allows travelers to drive beneath a continuous canopy of rustling leaves. A pitstop at Tongue Pond is highly recommended; the reflections of rows upon rows of brilliantly colored trees in the pond’s waters can be mesmerizing.
However, it’s worth noting that Baxter State Park retains a true sense of wilderness. The park lacks paved roads and modern amenities. Visitors should come prepared with ample food, water, and a full tank of gas. Access to Baxter State Park is managed through a reservation system, with Maine residents receiving priority. Those wishing to experience the peak of the fall colors in October should secure their reservations well in advance.
Few experiences rival the splendor of leaf peeping in New England during the apex of fall. A visit to Baxter State Park in this season will undeniably deepen your appreciation for the breathtaking beauty of Maine.