View of Brace from the northern subsummit
Not sure if this is the shortest route, the southern trail may be shorter, but this one is really quick with 3 ups and 2 downs via the east and bags two other peaks on the way over. The trail to take is the Mt. Frissell Trail that ascends Round Mountain, then Mt. Frissell, and then on over to Brace Mountain. It's easy and fun with a little light scrambling early in the hike near the summit of Round Mountain.
Brace Mountain is a ridge of at least three distinct summits, the middle one being the higher. The Mt. Frissell Trail comes over from the east on Frisell, dips down to the state border, then ascends to the norther subsummit of Brace before turning left to the true summit. The summits are grassy and open with short bushes and plenty of small rocky openings to take a break on. Views are great on clear days north and south along the Taconics, east to Mount Frisell, Round Mountain, Bear Mountain and the Berkshires, and to the west are the Catskills. South is Riga Lake, a nice little gem tucked in the forest.
This hike is a nice way to enjoy western Mass, northwestern Connecticut and southeastern New York all in a few hours.
Getting ThereSee the Getting There section of the main page for directions to the Mt. Frissell Trailhead.
Route DescriptionFollow the red blaze trail west and then north to Round Mountain. A short rocky scramble takes you to the summit there, then continue on west following red blazes as you dip down to a saddle and then back up the east slopes of Mt. Frissell. Tag the summit at the first highpoint just to the right of the trail, then continue on the trail as it traverses south and then mostly west to the highpoint of Connecticut (small aqua marker next to a cairn on the trail on the north slopes of Frissell). The trail will then drop down to another saddle between Frissell and Brace where you will cross a trail at this state line marker where NY, CT and MA all meet:
From there, continue on the trail and ascend up the east slopes of the northern subsummit of Brace and gain the ridge. From here you will come to this sign where you will turn left and follow the South Taconic Trail to the summit to the south (you will be able to see the large summit cairn with wind sock-see the Overview section photo above). I would recommend also continuing on south to the south summit (South Brace Mountain) to enjoy better views and places to hang out (plus it takes like 10 minutes to do so).
Return the same route. I am just guessing but I'd say this is about 2 miles one way from the trailhead with maybe 700 feet of elevation gain.