Who doesn’t love a day trip where you can visit both authentic Maine covered bridges and waterfalls too? The best way to discover Maine in the fall is on this little 5-6 hour day trip which will take you to two covered bridges and two waterfalls. After your delicious Maine comfort breakfast at the Wolf Cove Inn, a bed and breakfast in Maine, hit the road and enjoy not only the bridges and falls, but the beautiful Maine countryside as well.
Covered Bridges and Waterfalls Tour
Covered bridges and waterfalls just kind of go together, don’t you think? This 3/4th day trip will take you to visit two authentic wooden bridges and two beautiful waterfalls, all located in the southwestern part of Maine. Along the way and back, beautiful, rustic landscape seems to appear around just about every corner. So make sure you have your camera ready at all times.
The first stop of the day is at Snow Falls in West Paris Maine. At a rest area right off of route 26, you’ll easily access the falls just steps from the parking area.
Snow Falls features a 30-foot deep gorge cut in the granite by the Little Androscoggin River. Use the foot bridge to cross the gorge and get views from many vantage points. Continue on the path to access additional cascades. That said, the cascades at the foot bridge provide the most dramatic views as the water plunges 30 feet into a deep, dark pool.
Ample fencing around the steepest cliffs keeps you from plunging to an untimely death in the gorge. In addition, the rest area also features picnic tables and basic facilities.
Check out Maine History News for some interesting background on the falls.
Direction To Snow Falls
Depart Wolf Cove Inn and take a left onto route 11 north. Follow for 1.2 miles to the traffic light at the intersection with route 26. Take a left onto route 26 and follow for 18.4 miles through Oxford, Norway, some twists and turns in South Paris to West Paris. As you approach the 18.4 mile point, you’ll come upon a leftward curve in the road. Keep your eyes open for the Snow Falls rest area on your left. It comes up quickly and you can blow right past it. Trust me. I know.
Sunday River Covered Bridge
Hop back in the car and head to the Sunday River Covered Bridge in Newry Maine. It’s only a mile or so off the access road to the Sunday River Ski Resort, one of the premier ski resorts in Maine.
An 87 foot Paddleford Truss bridge, it also goes by the name “The Artist Bridge.” It’s reputed to be the most photographed and painted bridge in all of Maine. Built in 1872, the bridge handled traffic until 1958 when a new bridge just south picked up the load. These days, the bridge just supports the foot traffic of those aforementioned photographers and painters. Fall in Maine is the perfect time to take photos of this charming bridge.
For those interested in old graveyards, you’ll find the Foster Cemetery nearby the bridge. The oldest headstone I found? 1831.
Directions To Sunday River Bridge
Departing Snow Falls Rest Area, take a left back onto route 26 and follow for approximately 17 miles, then take a right onto Parkway Road in Bethel. Follow for 0.4 miles and then take a right onto route 2 east. Take 2 east for 2.5 miles and then take a left onto Sunday River Road. Follow the road and signage for the bridge for 3.7 miles. The bridge is on your left.
Screw Auger Falls
Next you’ll visit Screw Auger Falls within Grafton Notch State Park in Grafton Township Maine. It’s a short 20 minute or so drive from the Sunday River Bridge. The ride takes you through the beautiful Maine countryside and Grafton Notch. Again, be sure to have your camera ready.
12,000 years ago, a glacier blocked the north end of Grafton Notch, forcing all the melting snowpack and glacier water to flow out the south end of the park. The Bear River swelled and through the carriage of ice, sand and rock down the river the gorge formed. Today, the Bear River continues to run through the gorge and creates the Screw Auger Falls.
The area comprises two distinct, but connected areas. The broad upper cascades tumble six feet to a natural granite bowl where you’ll see kids, adults and dogs frolicking. The Bear River then narrows and plunges 25 feet in spectacular fashion into the gorge. I saw folks swimming in the lower gorge area, but couldn’t find straight-forward access myself. While doable (since there were folks there), I’m guessing some mountain goat skills come into play.
The state park rest area providing access to the river and falls offers walking trails, picnic tables, signage with information and rest room facilities. The north-west side of the river contains ample fencing in the hairier spots. Not so much on the other side of the river.
Handicap accessible and dog friendly.
Directions To Screw Auger Falls
Depart Sunday River Bridge and head back the way you came for 3.3 miles. Then take a left onto Martin Lane. Follow 0.3 miles to the end and then take a left onto route 2 east. Take route 2 east for 2.5 miles and then turn left onto route 26. Follow route 26 for 9.3 miles until you see the signage on the left for Screw Auger Falls. Be sure to enjoy the view along the way. Grafton Notch State Park offers some beautiful scenery.
Lovejoy Covered Bridge
The Lovejoy Covered Bridge marks the final destination for this tour of western Maine Covered Bridges and Waterfalls. Yet another Paddleford Truss style bridge, it spans the Ellis river in South Andover Maine. At 70 feet in length, the reinforced bridge still carries motorized traffic across the river.
Built in 1868, Maine’s shortest covered bridge found its way into the National Register of Historic Places in 1970. The bridge takes its name from the Lovejoy House, located on the eastern side of the river.
Directions To Lovejoy Bridge
From Screw Auger Falls, head back the way you came on route 26 for 9.3 miles until intersecting with route 2 again. Then turn left onto route 2 east and follow for 6.2 miles until you reach the intersection with route 5 north. Then turn onto route 5 north and follow for 7.6 miles to Covered Bridge Road on your right. The Lovejoy Bridge is a quarter mile down the road.
Getting Back To Wolf Cove Inn -Direct
From Lovejoy Bridge, you can head back to Wolf Cove Inn by turning around and heading south on route 5 then west on route 2, then south on route 26, back to route 11 south and to the Wolf Cove Inn, about an hour drive.
When Sue and I took the ride, we were hungry as it was around 1:30. So we decided to get lunch in nearby Rumford. We are glad we did since that provided a great scenic drive home for a good stretch of the way. Here’s how we went.
Getting Back To Wolf Cove Inn -Scenic
To follow our path, go across the Lovejoy covered bridge and follow for 0.5 miles, then take a right onto E Andover Road/Rumford Center Road. Follow for 3.8 miles then turn left onto Andover Road. Follow for 4.6 miles then turn left on route 2 east. Route 2 east brings you to Rumford in about 10 minutes. After getting something to eat, pick up S Rumford Road, cross the Androscoggin River and follow the S Rumford Road for approximately 9.5 miles of very pretty countryside on the banks of the river. Then pick up route 232 south for 6.7 miles of additional pretty countryside. At the end you’ll take a left onto route 26 and make your way back to the Inn.
After Your Covered Bridge & Waterfall Tour …
Once back at Wolf Cove Inn, a Maine B&B, your day isn’t necessarily over. Plenty of relaxing opportunities await.
- Grab a couple of kayaks, a canoe or the row boat and quietly explore Tripp Lake right out your back door.
- You can grab some salad, pizza and dessert at the on-site Tripp Lake Pizzeria (serving only guests of the Inn).
- Then settle in around the fire pit and watch the gorgeous sunset, making new friends along the way.
- And for just that slight little extra oomph, indulge in complimentary s’mores and act like a kid again.
Does this sound like your idea of a terrific romantic getaway in Maine or what? I hope so and hope to see you soon!
And for those who can’t get enough of Maine covered bridges, consider spending a second day visiting three more covered bridges in Maine.
All photography by Roy Forsberg of Wolf Cove Inn.