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Old 09-23-2020, 07:30 PM   #2
DSettahr's Avatar
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 5,047
There's plans in the Vanderwhacker UMP for a network of mountain bike trails near The Branch, north of where it crosses Blue Ridge Road. However, none have been built yet (and if I were to guess, it will be years if not decades before they are constructed).

There is, however, an existing logging road that follows The Branch for a bit and provides a pleasant (if short) hike. The trailhead is the same as the trailhead for the northern end of Hoffman Notch; there's a sign and a new parking lot here. The road parallels The Branch closely for the first mile or so, and there's some nice spots to walk down to the stream and take in nice scenery. Eventually the road turns uphill and away from The Branch, and continues for maybe another mile before it ends at a gate at the boundary between State Land and the Elk Lake Preserve. Public access beyond this point is not permitted.

There's 5 or so well-established, nice campsites along The Branch also- but none are designated and all are technically illegal sites (all are less than 150 feet from the river). They clearly pre-date state acquisition of the property; likely they were used for lease hunting camps when the land was privately owned. Naturally, the Vanderwhacker UMP makes zero mention of these sites despite how obvious and well-impacted they are; so IDK if they will ever become designated sites or not.

There are plans for a new snowmobile trail running south and west of Palmer Pond, but again I believe it will likely be years before it is constructed (especially given the outcome of the tree-cutting court case that involved snowmobile trails). There's a very short segment of trail around the outlet of Palmer Pond that crosses a nice bridge before dead-ending abruptly on the south side of the outlet.
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