Freeport, ME, September 3, 2021
Maine is heaven for hikers of all ages, skill levels and adventure appetites—from rocky treks along the state’s craggy coastline, to summit-scaling climbs of Mt. Katahdin, to the finishing stretch of the Appalachian Trail, to salty-and-scenic outings in Acadia National Park.
And there’s no better time to layer up, grab a pack and explore Maine’s terrain than autumn, when temperatures cool and leaves reach their peak splendor.
We asked a few in-the-know L.L.Bean employees to share their favorite “hidden gem” hikes to avoid crowds and take in the colors of fall:
Albany Mountain Trail (Bethel, ME)
Distance: 4 miles (out-and-back)
Description: Open summit, panoramic views (best views are to south and east). Peak season: March to October.
Great Pond Mountain (Orland, ME)
Distance: 2.4 miles (out-and-back)
Description: Gorgeous open summit views to the south towards Acadia National Park and Penobscot Bay. Best hiking May to October.
Thorncrag Nature Sanctuary (Lewiston, ME)
Distance: 2.7 miles (around perimeter)
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Description: A 450-acre nature preserve featuring old stone fireplaces and foundations, wildflowers, berries, brooks and ponds. Great birdwatching.
Douglas Mountain (Sebago, ME)
Distance: 2.5 miles (out-and-back)
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult (short but steep)
Description: Steep climb with a stone tower and spectacular views of Sebago Lake and even the White Mountains at the top.
Evergreen Cemetery Trails (Portland, ME)
Distance: 5 miles (network)
Description: Beautiful "garden-style" cemetery with stately maple trees that glow in autumn. Great bird-watching (including great horned owls), interesting historical gravestones and a network of well-marked trails through the woods.
Presumpscot Falls (Falmouth, ME)
Distance: 3.6 miles (out-and-back)
Difficulty: Easy to moderate (mostly flat with a few hills)
Description: Runs along the Presumpscot River, with otters, eagles, ospreys, and herons. The unusual blue-green color of the water is caused by glacial marine deposits.
Evans Notch and Blueberry Mountain Loop Trail (Center Lovell, ME)
Distance: 7.8 miles (loop)
Description: Primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips and bird watching, this trail is best hiked used from April until October. A steep climb to the summit of Blueberry Mountain offers some of the best 360-degree views of the Caribou-Speckled Mountain Wilderness.
Bald Mountain Trail (Rangeley, ME)
Distance: 2.3 miles (networked)
Description: Network of two trails offering short but moderate hikes up Bald Mountain for spectacular views of the lakes and mountains around the Rangeley region.
Cousins River Trail (Freeport, ME)
Distance: 1.2 miles (out-and-back)
Description: The trail hugs the river and offers wonderful views of changing leaves during the fall. Dogs welcome on a leash.