This article describes just one of several approaches to the summit of Brown Mountain in Allegany State Park, on which you will find a USGS benchmark and two reference markers, along with a metal witness post.
Mt. Brown is in the southwest corner of the park, bordered by the state line on the south, the Reservation on the west, and the Quaker area on the This approach starts at the North Country Trail (“NCT”) trailhead on Route 346 in Pennsylvania. It follows the NCT to NY-PA border where the NCT joins the beginning of the Finger Lakes Trail (“FLT”) and the Conservation Trail (“CT”). It then follows the FLT/CT/NCT for a tenth of a mile before heading up a ridge on a bushwhack to the summit of Mt. Brown, a total of 3 miles one-way, making for a 6 mile roundtrip.
Click on the map for a larger view. The path to the summit of Mt. Brown (including the portion along the FLT/CT/NCT and the bushwhack portion) is shown by white dashes. The FLT/CT/NCT is shown by orange dashes. The blue dashes depict the illegally marked trail along the northeast side of the Mt. Brown ridge.
Beginning at the NCT trailhead on Rt. 346, it is a steady climb along the NCT of about 1.1 miles to the border of Pennsylvania and New York, which is also the southern border of Allegany State Park and the beginning of the FLT and CT.
After visiting the marker, return to the trail and continue along the combined FLT/CT/NCT for about a tenth of a mile until you come to a hill directly to the north. At this point the FLT/CT/NCT turns due east as it skirts around the base of that hill.
You have a choice – head due north up the hill to the top of the ridge and then follow the ridge to the summit of Mt. Brown (the best way) or follow the FLT/CT/NCT east for 200 feet until it intersects with an illegally marked trail that goes to the summit of Mt. Brown. The illegally marked trail is excessively marked, so much so that it is a clear violation of Leave No Trace principles, obviously marked by someone who has no idea how to mark a trail. Moreover, the path it follows is a poorly chosen path, not well suited for hiker, horse rider, or mountain biker.
This is a picture of the intersection of the FLT/CT/NCT and the illegally marked trail.
This is a picture of the excessive blazes and triangular trail markers on the illegally marked trail.
The bushwhack up to the top of the hill is about 1/4 mile. When you reach the top of the hill, head northwest along the ridge for another 1/4 mile. You will pass through a large rock outcropping filed, like a mini-Rock City, shortly after which the ridge heads northwest (the way you want to go). The illegally marked trail will weave its way back and forth across your path.
Stay on the ridge for 1/2 mile at which point you will reach the base of Mt. Brown. The ridge turns northwest for 1/2 mile, then due north for the last 1/2 mile to the summit of Mt Brown. For the last 1/2 mile you will be following the illegally marked trail as it follows the sane ridge to the summit of Mt. Brown.
At the top of Mt. Brown you will find a witness marker. The USGS benchmark is 3.8 feet south of that witness marker. The USGS elevation is 2,180 feet. There are also two reference marks.
Reference mark 1 is a standard disk stamped” Brown 1935 No 1”, cemented in a drill hole in outcropping bedrock which projects 6 inches above the ground. It is 85 feet east of the metal witness post.
Reference mark 2 is a standard disk stamped “Brown 1935 No 2”, cemented in a drill hole in outcropping bedrock which projects 8 inches above the ground. It is 4 feet north-northwest of a metal witness post.
At the summit you will notice that the illegally marked trail heads in three directions. The first is the direction from which you reached the summit. The second continues north along the ridge, descending to the next hill top at 2,152 feet. I do not where this second illegally marked track leads but I suspect it goes to the border of the Reservation, then Northwest descending to Wolf Run (there was an old wagon trail that ran along this route that is depicted on old USGS topographical maps.)
The third (shown with blue dashes on the map above) heads back toward the FLT/CT/NCT but along the western and northern side of the ridge, eventually splitting into two illegally marked paths, one going north east (and presumably leading to the FLT/CT/NCT near Brown’s Run) and the other heading south over the hill that was first climbed at the beginning of the bushwhack (and back to the point of the intersection of the illegally marked trail and the FLT/CT/NCT.)