Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Rochester Mountain, Mt. Cushman, Braintree Mountain, VT
Trails: Randolph Gap Road, Rochester Mountain Trail, Mt. Cushman Trail, bushwhack, Braintree Gap Road
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Tuesday, May 7, 2024
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Parking for a few cars at the end of the drivable Mount Cushman road (at VAST trail signs). You need to park on the side of North Hollow Road at the Braintree Gap road intersection 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant, Leaves - Significant/Slippery 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: No significant streams crossed today. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Some muddy and wet spots on the Randolph Gap and Braintree Gap roads, which can be easily passed on the side. ATVs should avoid these roads until mud season is over. Rochester Mountain and Mount Cushman trails also have some mud holes passable on the side; dry otherwise. Off trail portions were pretty dry overall. Although I've marked the rest of my route as a "bushwhack," in reality there are many stretches of old or rarely maintained paths along the Braintree crest north of Cushman. The woods are very open.  
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes:  
Bugs: Plentiful mosquitoes at the Mount Cushman TH, which thankfully diminished the higher I went. Many black flies the rest of the day, but thankfully they weren't a major pest on the ridgecrest. 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
Comments: I did a traverse of the Braintree Mountain ridge all the way from Rochester Mountain to Braintree Gap. A gorgeous day in the 60s and plenty of views through leafless trees.

Randolph Gap and Rochester Mountain have recently gotten new trails thanks to the Ridgecrest Outdoor Collective, seems to be more for mountain biking due to the leisurely switchbacks. The Outdoor Collective also maintains primitive trails (primarily for skiing) in the northern Braintree Mountain area; I saw some of their discs on the trees there and a few trail signs.

From the end of the regular trail on Mount Cushman an old trail descends down to the next col north then pretty much disappears; but the woods are quite open and herd paths along with flagging or blazes every now and then continue for a good portion of the ridge the whole way to Braintree Gap. There were frequent signs of moose travel as well. Along the northern half of the Braintree ridge there are many red blazes, perhaps primarily for surveying purposes, but they also are a pretty good guide to a reasonable route along the top of the ridge. Tip: stay on the east side in general, as the conifers and thicker woods tend to be on the west side.

I especially enjoyed the northern half (from around Peak 2,896' to Braintree Gap); lots of lovely glades. There is only one cleared view in that stretch, from atop the highest point of Braintree Mountain (3,030'), and some nice perspectives north from the final peak (2,890') south of Braintree Gap; otherwise, you need the leaves off the trees to see much in the distance.

In short, this is a great traverse for those who want to spend plenty of time ridgerunning with easy bushwhacking. Hoping to keep going north along the Northfield Mountain crest in due time!  
Name: Dan Saxton 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2024-05-08 
Link: https:// 
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