Brace Mountain Trail

MODERATE 88 reviews
#1 of 7 trails in

Brace Mountain Trail is a 3.6 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Millerton, New York that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and birding and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

3.6 miles
1,535 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash


bird watching




over grown



Two car parking lot, trail starts up gradually and increases in steepness quickly. at .3 miles, it becomes steep near a cascading waterfall. breathtaking! the next 1/4 mile is a bit of a scramble (though a relatively easy one) and can be dangerous if you're not paying attention. it's probably not wise to bring children on this trail as the cliffs are quite steep and the rocks are very jagged. the trail levels off and treks through the rocky woods. at around 1.4 miles a short side trail to the left brings you to a pristine little waterfall with a clear pool that looks a little bit like a fairy tale. a nice place for a water bottle refill or a foot soak. at 1.7 miles you reach south brace, that offers a nice view of riga lake just across the border in Connecticut. but don't stop here all day. if you squint to the north you can see the cairn at the real summit of brace. it looks far, but it's only .2 miles further. a little downhill, then a little more uphill. The summit of brace is open and grassy. A windsock in the huge cairn marks it.

2 months ago

Great hike. Dec 9,2018 had no snow but some icy sections and the leaves on the lower section up to and a little past the falls were treacherous (especially when mixed with black ice below). The 1st .8 miles is pretty steep. The upper section gentle. The falls in winter were nice, must be amazing in spring. Saw only 2 other people. Took 3 hours with a lot of picture taking, some snacks and a VERY slow descent on the icy leaves. Much slower than going up.

2 months ago

A lovely hike with the rock scramble made a bit more challenging by the snow and ice. I think that area also makes it difficult for dogs.

3 months ago

Definitely on the harder side of moderate, and especially dangerous with loose leaves everywhere. Don't underestimate the section by the waterfall. Can get quite wet in spots. Trail markings aren't consistently placed and we had to backtrack a couple times. Thankfully there weren't any snakes.

This is a beautifully rugged trail. The waterfall was much cooler in person, but it's been raining so it was really flowing. A good collection of views.The summit is unique and gorgeous. Definitely check out Bash Bish falls while you're here, it's close by and worth a visit. As of 11/4/18 the leaves are mostly past peak but it wasn't too bare.

4 months ago

I chuckled at the sign warning about the steep grade and difficult ascent, but it was well deserved! What a nice hike. I came across parasailers at the peak who were launching out. Beautiful views with the leaves starting to change

5 months ago

The rating for the hike is appropriate. It gets a little steep at points so just be prepared. Make sure you have the appropriate foot wear with good grip. There were a decent amount of shaded areas a well as non shaded towards the top. Overall it was a great day outdoors.

5 months ago

The waterfall was dry ( sept 2 2018). Like others have said, the trail is not well marked in some places and is a bit of a bushwack.

Overall, awesome rock scramble. The way back down was difficult.

5 months ago

not marked well in places but fun! Very tough definitely hard.

5 months ago

Very rewarding hike, beautiful view at the top. This trail should DEFINITELY be rated hard though. The trail is not marked as well as it should be very easy to wander off track. Had a lot of fun climbing very very steep in the beginning but eventually levels to an easier incline. The way down can be very slippery and quite dangerous in spots so just proceed with caution.

5 months ago

Really fun hike. Lots of little vistas as you climb up- tricky in parts but super rewarding- loved it.

7 months ago

Went up Brace on July 4th to catch the sunset and fireworks. Saw a quail and a timber rattlesnake on the way up while I sweated out several pounds!! Trail markers definitely improved since my first trip up...followed yellow blazes from quarry Rd to the white blazed taconic trail. Highly recommend this hike!!

8 months ago

Hiked in early November 2017. Excellent trail, but definitely difficult. Trail has many locations that are poorly-marked, so using a GPS map is essential. The first 2/3 mile has a section that is a near-vertical climb up a cliff.

9 months ago

We did this hike on 4/14/18. It was a cool, crisp day.

The mile-ish hike up was strenuous and the rock scramble was challenging, which was a great workout. The waterfall was picturesque.

Unfortunately, although the weather was nice, it was hazy and the views were less than amazing. Perhaps with the fall foliage, there would have more of an impact.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

This trail is poorly marked , and not maintained. The way up is about a 1 mile vertical climb. very loose rock , and tons of leaves it also runs side by side with the waterfall that spills over on to the trail . with that being said the view at the top was amazing ...the way down was super dangerous and almost impossible at the yellow blazes. when we got down it was dark and other people were still stranded trying to get down. I've done at least 67 hikes in 8 different states. this was not fun .

Sunday, September 24, 2017

It was a pretty technical trail. It is a well marked trail. We were a little disappointed that the water wasn't flowing because it has been too dry. The views from Brace Mountain are fantastic! A great place for a picnic lunch and to relax with friends! We had a great time and burned a lot of calories. I would recommend doing this hike!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

I agree, I would rate this trail as difficult, and I am a marathon-distance runner with endurance and stamina to spare. From the beginning to a bit past the waterfall is somewhat strenuous, with elevation gains and uneven rock-some areas are quite a steep drop off and I would have been uncomfortable on the trail if the rock laden paths were wet from rain. It takes little more than a momentary lapse of judgement before you could find yourself in a very dangerous position. Though mostly the trail has very noticeable plastic markers nailed to trees, the trail in certain areas is not well marked due to its twisting nature and you can lose it if you are not paying attention.

However, the bald summit is beautiful on a warm day. Lay back and relax in the tall grass and allow the sun to dry the immense amount of sweat you made on the challenging hike up.

Don't fool yourself though-the hike down is arguably the harder part as it has areas that are steep and will keep you on your toes, so to speak, so be prepared and keep your wits about you. It's downright dangerous if you don't follow the cardinal rules of hiking. Don't do this trail with someone out of shape. Dogs seem to do ok, but I felt nervous for mine a few times. Bring water and snacks, keep cool and keep your cool.

Saw no rattlesnakes, but this was a Saturday and we saw a fair amount of other hikers to scare them off.

If I ever wanted to see the Brace summit again I'd probably take the Mt. Frissel trail instead.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Great hike, but I would categorize it as difficult. I'm a seasoned hiker that's done trails in 6 continents and I wouldn't go back onto this trail without hiking poles. There are sections of strenuous climbs and rock scrambling up, but they are far more technically challenging when descending back down. We saw no rattlesnakes in late August on a sunny day.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Really nice hike with a lot to see from a nice waterfall to nice views. Quite a bit more strenuous than I had thought it would be. The first 1.2 miles feels like 3 miles and there is some scrambling up very steep rocks. Was a bit more than I bargained for with a 2 yr old on my back but all in all a very nice hike.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Fantastic hike!! I have been on a lot of hikes and this one definitely tops as one of my favorite. There is about a quarter of a mile in the beginning that is quite steep but there is also a sign warning you. Was told this place was crawling with large venomous snakes, I never saw even one. Call my crazy but it would have been nice to see one, would have added even more to this trip. No bears either but plenty of Huckleberries and blueberries. Once you get to the waterfall (which unfortunately was pretty well dry), the fun begins. More steep climbs over some very impressive rocks. Then you eventually reach an area which seems to never end. Then there is the one giant rock pile signifying the summit is near. Just a few more minutes and boom, there are the amazing views and a rock pile with a flag letting you know you have reached the top of Brace Mtn. This was a very unique hike, a lot different then any other I have been on. I think that is why I liked it so much! This is a must do if you like a challenge, love climbing rocks similar to Breakneck, like seeing different terrain, feel like your in the middle of no where on an endless trail and then of course the amazing views.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

My wife and I found this to be difficult trail, the beginning is very steep rise which definitely made us work. Once you get past the initial climb the trail follows a ridge and is easy (maybe that is why the moderate, an average...) The top peak was awesome and we made that our turning point, great view, we had a nice picnic and hung out there for a while. The parking area at the base can accommodate about 4 cars, with space along the road for more.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

What an amazing view!!! At least 100 miles of the Hudson Valley is laid out before you...through my binoculars I viewed Ninham Mountain fire tower in Carmel to the south and Albany to the north. The Hudson Highlands, Shawangunks, Catskills and the Heldebergs are clearly visible as well. Moderate hike with some easy scrambling up, also staying aware is a must trail is poorly marked in areas and climb up can be dangerous as well. Can't recommend this hike enough

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

love this, a great adventure!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

I've hiked this countless times it is by far one of my favorite hikes. The views are breathtaking and there's many other trails to other peaks. I've even hiked up with my one month old, it's a fairly easy hike only one part is difficult near the top. I would highly recommend it to bring kids on. I always go up through mt Riga it's much shorter and not challenging.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Great hike, highly recommend. Hike involves a little bit of climbing, but nothing that's too hard. Took the yellow trail to the white trail. Follow the white trail for about 40 mins to the peak.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Some steep climbing but mostly a walk through the woods and then some great views in all directions. Loved looking north to Mt Washington in the Berkshires. Up and back only takes a couple of hours altogether, unless you kick it at the summit or wherever.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Rough trail at one point wall climbing ... but the view is worth it and you hike south brace then brace mountain... kill two birds with one stone... if you're good or experienced go but bring someone ... i went by myself and all my trails but like one or two i have gone by myself ... love this stuff

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The views are definitely worth the climb. The first 0.8 miles is a very strenuous uphill/climb and I wouldn't recommend it for small children or those with debilitating health problems. I went in late August so the waterfall that others have been talking about wasn't there at all because it's so dry right now! The hike is a great workout and the 360 degree views of the hilly Hudson Valley, other Taconic peaks, and the Catskills in the distance are worth every step. The climbing up portion is tough but I actually was more nervous coming down because it's so steep, so take your time! I only saw two groups of two the whole trail so it feels like you have the woods to yourself. Really spectacular views and terrain change.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

4th time up there in as many months. Hiked from Quarry Rd trailhead, over the top of Brace and down to the Tri State marker. Tough first mile. A few snakes. But it's well worth it as you reach the summit. The tri-state marker was cool. You can put one leg in Mass, the other in NY and an arm in CT. Etched on one side is the year 1898. The other sides read "MASS" and "NY". Someone painted CT on the 4th side in purple. Looks like that was a very recent addition.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Tried it again today with my 8 year old. She couldn't make it past the initial ascent. Probably not for kids.

Friday, April 01, 2016

Just completed Brace Mountain today. It is somewhat challenging - once the initial ascent is finished the trail levels out. Awesome views, beautiful waterfall and streams. It was well marked in the wooded areas. Where there are no trees you have to look out for white blazes on the rocks. Don't mistake the white quartz in the rock surface for the blazes. Highly recommended.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Good challenging hike for sure! Trail was really steep at some parts; had to go on all fours to get past a couple of boulders. The trail is horrendously marked... I got lost maybe 6 or 7 times, and kept guessing on what was the actual trail/what was not. I don't recommend doing this hike when it is wet. I did it when it was dry and I slipped a few times. Also a few parts of the trail were really overgrown, but the views were great. Would I recommend this trail? I guess so! Would I do it again? Probably not.

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