THIS TREE near Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park in Freeport is already in peak form.

THIS TREE near Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park in Freeport is already in peak form.

FREEPORT

October in Maine is made for leaf peeping. One of the best ways to take it all in is to get out onto Maine’s myriad hiking trails, which provide a firsthand glimpse of this fleeting time of year.

Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park in Freeport offers trails and events tailored toward leaf-peeping hikes throughout the month. The park is located five minutes from downtown Freeport, and many of its trails wind near the ocean. Each weekend, the park is hosting fall-related events, with upcoming Columbus Day weekend being peak season.

 

 

“These tours are mostly focused on leaves and why they change color,” said Cassidy Plaud, an Ameri- Corps member who works at the park as an environmental steward.

The next tour, called “Fall in the Forest,” will take place on Saturday and will be guided by a state park employee.

“The tour will be a walk-through of our trails, focusing on fall in the forest and how things are changing and getting ready for winter,” Plaud said.

Sunday’s “Ready, Set, Sleep!” hike will cover hibernating mammals in the park. The “Fall Foliage Hike” — the only scheduled weekday hike this fall — will take place on Columbus Day.

“This hike focuses on what changes with the trees to cause their leaves to change,” said Plaud. “The colors should be at their peak for this one.”

Other hikes at Wolfe’s Neck this October include “Stroll with a Ranger” on Oct. 22, where a park ranger will answer foliage and other park-related questions; “Stories in Stone” on Oct. 23, a geological history of the park, and “The Bewitching Hour” on Oct. 30, which will cover the more mystical side of the park’s history, such as the mythology of the trees in the park and uses of the park’s various plants for medicine and witchcraft.

“The scenery is great this time of year,” said Plaud. “The ocean keeps the temperatures a little bit warmer than inland, too. It’s a beautiful area to come this time of year.”

Jott Bott, spokesman for the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, agrees that this is the best time of year to get outside and check out the foliage.

“We’re anticipating a fantastic weekend,” Bott said. “We just put out our fall foliage report, and Maine’s is somewhat better than other New England states because the drought wasn’t as severe here.”

Bott said the report can be seen at mainefoliage.com. The report combines information from foresters and meteorologists across the state.

“It’s a bit of a guessing game,” said Bott. “But the best conditions for peak foliage are warm, sunny days and cold nights.”

Maine has seen no shortage of these conditions lately.

“We’ve been going further to create year-round hiking opportunities,” said Bott. “They do a great job over at Wolfe’s Neck. They are a little ahead of the curve in programming, and represent Maine state parks nicely. It’s a spectacular spot.”

For a full list of fall events throughout Maine’s state parks, visit maine.gov/dacf.

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Hikes at Wolfe’s Neck

THE NEXT TOUR at Wolfe’s Neck, called “Fall in the Forest,” will take place on Saturday.

SUNDAY’S “Ready, Set, Sleep!” hike will cover hibernating mammals in the park.

THE “FALL FOLIAGE HIKE” will take place on Columbus Day.

OTHER HIKES at Wolfe’s Neck this October include “Stroll with a Ranger” on Oct. 22, where a park ranger will answer foliage and other park-related questions; “Stories in Stone” on Oct. 23, a geological history of the park, and “The Bewitching Hour” on Oct. 30, which will cover the more mystical side of the park’s history.


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