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Brace Mountain is located at the intersection of Routes 4 and 7 in the town of Cornwall Bridge, CT. It's a bump of a mountain that is clearly visible as you pass over the Housatonic River heading north on Routes 4/7. It's a neat little hike in that it's steep for a very short distance but offers some great views of the valley below, as the Housatonic River snakes its way through. This is a great place to get some exercise and then sit back for some relaxing scenery, a perfect hike if you just want to hop out of the car and take in some nice views without having to venture off too far.
Breadloaf can be hiked in and of itself, or you can use it as a jumping off point for further hikes. At the peak of Breadloaf is the Appalachian Trail which you can follow north to Pine Knob Loop or south towards Kent, CT. Pine Knob Loop is about a mile north and also offers some great views. Since the Appalachian Trail runs along the ridgetop to Pine Knob, it's not a bad hike at all for those who are new to hiking but looking for something more than just the Breadloaf Mountain hike. If you're in very good shape you can hike a few miles more and visit the old covered bridge located in the center of town in Cornwall, CT. Hiking south from Breadloaf is a little more rugged and will challenge an average day hiker, since you'll go up and down a couple of mountains; and at certain points the terrain is a little steep and rocky.
Whether you're out for a ride in the car or on a motorcycle, Breadloaf Mountain offers the chance to stretch the legs and take in some nice views. The trailhead is off Route 7, about 50 feet on the left, after Routes 7 and 4 go their separate ways. The trail is clearly marked and well maintained. Take notice if there are signs posted reminding everyone not to start campfires or throw away lit cigarettes...it's been dry recently and a forest fire can wipe out some great terrain in no time at all. Smokey the Bear is still there saying, "Only you..."! The dirt path will rise up fairly soon into the hike; but before it does, it passes through some nice woodlands with majestic trees. As mentioned, the hike is steep but short, so just take your time if you're feeling a little winded and rest along the way. Once you get to the top, you'll be glad you did. To the left (looking south) is a great view of the valley and the rolling hills which spread out in front of you. Look closely, and you'll notice the Housatonic River making its way through the region. If you go to the right at the top of Breadloaf, there's a great overview looking north. It's a nice shady spot that looks down on the Housatonic and Route 7 as they meander between some mountains. During summer months you can see fly fishermen and families tubing down the river far off in the distance. Breadloaf is a perfect spot to take in some nice views without having to venture very far into the woods.
Right across Route 7 along the banks of the Housatonic River is a portion of the Housatonic State Forest sytem with picnic tables and open space. You can head over there for some lunch or fishing. You'll need a fishing permit to cast your line into the Housatonic. Breadloaf is great destination if you're also looking for a scenic drive. Routes 7 and 4 are great roads to travel on, and from Breadloaf you can pick a point east, west, south, or north to venture to.
Directions: A few miles north from Kent Falls on Route 7 you'll descend into Cornwall Bridge, CT. (The actual covered bridge is a few miles further north on Route 7 in West Cornwall, CT.) In Cornwall Bridge, Route 7 meets Route 4. 7 runs north and south in Western Connecticut and 4 runs east and west. Bear to your left at the intersection where Routes 4 and 7 meet and stop at the sign. Continue on for about 200 yards (Route 7 and 4 are the same road during this short stretch). After you pass over the bridge, Route 7 goes right and Route 4 goes straight up a steep hill. Follow Route 7. Go slowly because about 50 feet after 7 and 4 split off from each other, you'll see a small dirt parking lot for Breadloaf Mountain. Directly across the street is a greenhouse/nursery. Park in the dirt lot and the trailhead will be clearly visible.
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