Autumn in New England is a vibrant, breathtaking and spectacular time of year — but have you ever experienced it on the lake? There are seemingly endless ways to soak up Maine’s most colorful season in the Moosehead region. Here are a few of our top recommendations:
Top Fall Activities in Moosehead Lake
The leaves are the star of the show around here, and for good reason! The lake will get lit up with brilliant red (black, red, scarlet and white oak; more maple species and sumac), purple (white ash and witch hazel) and yellow (ash, basswood, beech, birches, butternut, elm, multiple maple species, mountain ash, and poplar) foliage that appears to burst into view almost overnight. Remember, weather has a lot to do with how and when colors develop, so the best days to go leaf peeping are after crisp days and even chillier nights. If you’re planning a drive to soak up the scenery, be sure to schedule the best views for around sunset — the afternoon light will showcase the fall colors while letting the evergreen tones fade away.
If you’d like to take home a souvenir from your fall foliage adventure, consider selecting one or two leaves then pressing them between waxed paper or preserving them in a solution of 1:2 glycerine and water overnight.
Do you have a hunting license or a passion for hunting? The Moosehead Lake region abounds with ruffed grouse, rabbit, wild turkeys, deer, bear, and moose. There’s plenty of land to share, and with the assistance of a Registered Maine Guide, you can learn all the local hotspots for finding the best and biggest game! Registered Maine Guides are outdoor professionals who are licensed and permitted to assist any person in the fields, forests, or waters within the jurisdiction of the State while hunting, fishing, trapping, etc. In short: They know the area and they know how to find what you’re looking for!
Be sure to have your license or permit in order before visiting so that you can step right into your camo and/or your hunter orange without further ado — you can even apply for a license or permit online! Make sure you brush up on all hunting laws before heading out, by visiting The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
Hunting is a great opportunity to spend quality time in the woods, either in silence on a solo hunt or while teaching the next generation the ropes. It can be an incredibly important bonding experience and teaches important life skills like patience, deliberation, proper firearm safety and use, and the importance of appreciating our natural resources.
Cool air, still water, and a tug on your line — what could be better? Plan an autumn fishing excursion to experience our famed waterways and soak in some exceptional views. In the fall, fish move away from larger bodies of water and into smaller rivers and streams to spawn. Be prepared as fall fishing can be feast or famine. Availability of guided trips is limited, so if you want to book a guide for fall fishing now is the time, don’t wait! The dates for the end of the fall fishing season greatly depend on what river or body of water you are fishing on. It’s essential that you check the current 2021 fishing laws by visiting The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
PRO TIP: It’s a great time of year to break out your streamers! These wet flies are the best bet in attracting fish as their bright colors are most appealing in the fall.
Let’s get some boots on the ground! Fall is perhaps the best time to hit the trails around the Lake, as the scenery is particularly spectacular and the summer visitors have left for the season. Enjoy crisp air, stunning foliage, quiet trails and glimpses of local wildlife as they prepare for the onset of winter.
It’s a great time of year to tackle the Moosehead Pinnacle Pursuit Challenge! By allotting one day per mountain, you can tackle all the peaks in less than a week with plenty of time to enjoy the hikes and really take in the scenery. We recommend starting with Mount Kineo, then moving on to Number Four Mountain, Whitecap Mountain, and Eagle Rock, then finishing strong on days five and six with Big Moose Mountain and Borestone Mountain!
The weather can get chilly this time of year, so be sure to wear wool socks (a must-have for hiking any day!) and light, insulating layers so that you’ll stay warm on the trail. Be sure to check the forecast before striking off, and pack plenty of water and trail snacks for each day!
Imagine this: You wake up early in the morning when the fall air is extra crisp and the birds are still singing. The sunlight is pouring through the fabric of your tent, diffusing into a warm glow that just promises a beautiful day ahead. You make yourself a pot of strong, hot coffee over an open flame, then lean back in your camp chair, absorbing the view of the dynamic fall colors for miles around.
When you camp near the lake, you can choose to fill every day just as you choose: quiet, reflective solitude, active adventure, or passive meandering through the region’s treasure trove of natural attractions. Fall camping brings its own set of specific joys and promises to be an unforgettable experience. All you need to bring is your tent, a warm sleeping bag and blankets, food, and cooking utensils to craft a north woods getaway worthy of an annual tradition.
Not ready to “rough it”? Our region offers a substantial variety of camp, cottage and cabin rentals, most within close proximity of the water. Keep the views and the privacy, while upgrading to a thick mattress, a roof over your head and perhaps a cozy reading nook!
See the Lake from the Katahdin Steamship
Ready to sit back and really soak it all in? Plan a guided historic lake tour aboard the Kate! This unique experience offers a glimpse of scenic landmarks on the water along with a narration of the area’s history and sights. Freshly-prepared meals, local brews, and other special treats are available on board, and there are multiple cruise packages to choose from so you can craft an experience that’s just right for your party or family. As a reminder, the last cruise of the 2021 season is Monday, October 11th. After your cruise, tour the Moosehead Marine Museum to browse local artifacts and learn more about the history and agricultural development of our region. It’s a rare and mesmerizing peek into the region’s past!
Fall is a great time of year to look for Moose! September, October, November and December are some of the best months to spot a moose. You may be able to spot a fully antlered Bull Moose if you’re lucky! We have many resources on our website if you’d like to take a self-guided tour. We also have a number of Registered Maine Guides in our region that offer guided Moose Watching tips.