Red Brook is a gem in SGL 57. It features a rugged gorge with two waterfalls, cascades, slides, large boulders, and cliffs. The forests in the gorge are diverse and beautiful with spruce, hemlock, birch and maple. The rare Canadian yew clings to the tops of cliffs and boulders. Moss and ferns cover the giant boulders. The gorge conveys the feeling of being in a place much further north.
This diversity should not be a complete surprise, as Red Brook originates from Coalbed Swamp, a spruce boreal wetland that is one of the most diverse places in the Endless Mountains. The swamp is home to many rare plants and animals.
This hike is spectacular, and unique in that the vast majority of it follows old grades or trails; there is little true bushwhacking. No trails are marked or signed. The first half of the hike is far more scenic than the last half, but this route does make for a very nice loop offering great diversity. Ben joined me on this hike.
We parked at a small parking area near Stony Brook and walked up Windy Valley Road (SR 3001) (labeled Bellasylvia Road on map) for about 300 feet and turned right onto an obvious grade. This grade offered views of Stony Brook below. The grade turned left with a massive boulder below on the right in a grove of hemlocks. Here, we followed a much narrower grade just further upslope. This narrow grade was tricky to navigate with the snow and ice as it crossed a steep slope, but it was enjoyable with all the ledges. The narrow grade descended and joined a wider grade, on which we turned left.
This grade gradually climbed. Stony Brook was below to the right; the grade kept its distance but the creek could be both seen and heard. We crossed a variety of seep springs and small runoff streams. The hardwood forest was scenic with many large trees. The grade climbed and reached a juncture, where we turned left. After a short distance we turned right onto another wide grade as it continued through a beautiful hardwood forest. We then spied another grade to the right; it was narrower and had trees growing in it, but it was obvious to see. We followed it. This grade descended into the gorge of Red Brook with spruce trees. It was a scenic hike. This grade ended at Red Brook.
Now our short bushwhack began and it was easy, we just followed Red Brook upstream. This creek has flood damage and there were many large boulders and cascades. We soon reached the bottom of the first falls- Lower Red Brook Falls. This falls is about 20-25 feet tall, has two drops with deep pools, and is very beautiful. We climbed above the falls into a scenic hemlock forest. Small falls and slides adorned Red Brook. We climbed to the same wide grade we had previously been on before turning right down to Red Brook.
This grade was a true pleasure to hike. There was spruce, moss, giant boulders, hemlocks, and views of beautiful Red Brook. Soon ledges loomed to our left with ice flows and seasonal falls. We passed the site of an old cabin. We continued up the obvious grade until it crossed Red Brook, which we also crossed. Continuing upstream we soon reached Upper Red Brook Falls, another gem. This is a 20 foot falls surrounded by an impressive semi-circular grotto and superb ice flows. Red Brook is awesome.
We turned around, headed down Red Brook for the second half of the hike. While it is not as scenic as Red Brook, it does make for a nice loop. If you do not want to hike the loop, just return the way you came along Stony and Red Brooks.
We followed the grade as it gradually ascended the plateau. These forests may be logged in the future. The grade joined into a wider forest road that curved to the right. We then turned left onto a newer logging road which descended the ridge in a hardwood forest. (We did go off trail to explore the cliffs to the west, but there were no notable views). We explored some ledges and outcrops to the south of this road. The road then stopped and became a trail. Again, many trees were painted with red marks, indicating this area may be logged. The trail descended the ridge between Stony Brook and Mehoopany Creek, passing ledges and rock outcrops. The trail crossed a newer logging road, marked with a cairn, and continued downslope until it veered into an meadow area and ended right where we began the hike along Windy Valley Road.
We really enjoyed the hike with its diverse forests and scenery. The loop was perfect and Red Brook is such a beautiful place. If you’re an experienced hiker looking for a new place to explore, be sure to take some time to hike Red Brook.
We parked at about 41.466841, -76.161737. This loop is about 5.5 miles long.