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black Brace Mountain Out-and-Back

  4.0 ( 2 ) Favorite


3.9 mile 6.3 kilometer out and back
68% Runnable


Ascent: 1,445' 441 m
Descent: -1,445' -441 m
High: 2,300' 701 m
Low: 975' 297 m


Avg Grade: 14% (8°)
Max Grade: 60% (31°)


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Trail shared by Lou Poulas


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A challenging rock scramble, a beautiful waterfall, and one of the best summit views of the Hudson Valley.

Lou Poulas

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildlife


This short run should not be taken lightly, but if you enjoy rock scrambles, the view from Brace Mountain Summit is absolutely worth the sweat and fear. It's a quick 0.8-mile ascent up Quarry Hill Trail and then a lovely run a little over a mile to the summit via the South Taconic Trail.

Need to Know

  • Quarry Hill Trail is not well-blazed and it is easy to find yourself off trail. Please exercise caution in the rock scramble area and do not go off-trail.
  • Trailhead access (42.032598, -73.504760) is off a back street and next to residential homes. The beginning of Quarry Hill Trail itself parallels the property line of one of these homes, please be respectful.


From the trailhead the trail quickly reaches a steep grade that wastes no time heading up the mountain. Signposts flag the most difficult section, a quarter-mile stretch from about 0.50 to 0.75 miles that includes multiple rock scrambles. Two of which should only be tackled if you're prepared to use your hands to grip the rock face to prevent an extended fall that risks serious injury or even death.

Just before the Quarry Hill Trail ends, there is an excellent viewpoint that hints at what's to come from Brace Mountain Summit. The trail ends where it intersects with the South Taconic Trail. Signage here is excellent, bear left (north) onto South Taconic Trail towards Brace Mountain Summit.

This section of trail is picturesque, with both full forest and open scrub brush trail sections. A few partially obstructed viewpoints can be found until the payoff at Brace Mountain Summit.

When you've had your fill of the view or more likely are just out of time, retrace your steps back down to the trailhead at Quarry Hill Road.

Flora & Fauna

The base of the mountain is typical hardwoods and the ridge has blueberry and huckleberry bushes.

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