Leaf peeping and hiking are a natural fit; the best views of fall colors are always from the highest points. Whether you like a long, challenging trek, or a short yet rewarding hike, these are some of the top spots in the region surrounding Sunday River.
Puzzle Mountain, Newry, ME
This popular day hike not only offers a challenging 7.3-mile loop but has plenty of opportunities for selfies among the fall colors. Take Route 2 to Route 26 to the Grafton Loop Trailhead to begin your journey.
Table Rock, Grafton Township, ME
This former Best of Bethel winner for the favorite summer hike is a short 2.4 miles roundtrip and is relatively easy if you’re not a complete couch potato, with stunning views of Grafton Notch once you reach the top. Go left at the fork in the trail for an easier ascent, and right for a rockier climb.
Old Speck, Grafton Township, ME
Another long and difficult, yet satisfying hike in Grafton Notch is Old Speck. Once you reach the top, climb the fire tower for panoramic vistas filled with orange, yellow, and red leaves atop the trees. You’ll travel 7.6 miles round trip.
Baldpate East and West,Grafton Township, ME
If you like the Table Rock hike but want to make it more challenging, continue for a total 5.8-7.6 mile trek on Baldpate. This double summit hike boasts double the reward if you make it from the West Peak to East Peak and back again, with uninhibited views.
White Cap Summit, Newry, ME
We hate to toot our own horn (okay, maybe that’s not true), but spectacular foliage can be viewed right from our slopes. This hike is akin to a choose your own adventure book. By starting from the Jordan Hotel, you can log just over 4 miles one way on the Maine Road, Sensation, and Summit Traverse trails, with incredible views from the Peak Lodge, Barker Mountain, Locke Mountain, and White Cap. You can also do the only the Summit Traverse by taking a scenic Chondola ride before and after.
The Roost, Batchelders Grant Township, ME
Located in Evans Notch, this hike is just under 2 miles long. A quick but steep incline initially leads to an area with less-than-desirable views but look for signs leading you to a rock ledge that opens up to a wonderful view of the Wild River and the surrounding White Mountain National Forest. Make your way back up to the trail and head down the other more gradual side.
East Royce, Batchelders Grant Township, ME
Another small but mighty triumph, the ascent up the East Royce trail from the first parking area in the East Royce Network is only about 1.5 miles. But don’t think you’re in for a lazy stroll. The incline is intense, and the views are stellar with Mount Washington and the Presidential Range off in the distance.
Maggie’s Nature Park, Greenwood, ME
The tamest of all the hikes listed here, Maggie’s Nature Park is a 3.2-mile trail network that is perfect for new hikers and little ones too. The park’s scenic overlooks offer views of South Pond, which reflects the surrounding foliage beautifully.
Depending on where you hike from late September to early November, you may see our snowguns blazing to cover our trails in white for the ski season. After all, fall is truly the pregame to winter.