The United States Congress designated the Big Branch Wilderness (map
) in 1984 and it now has a total of 6,725 acres
All of this wilderness is located in Vermont
and is managed by the Forest Service.
Named after Big Branch Stream, this area provides a home for wild turkeys, beavers, and moose. Hunters track the substantial populations of white-tailed deer and black bears, while trout lure anglers to Big Branch Stream and Lake Brook. Approximately 80 percent of the forest leafs out in northern hardwoods--maple, beech, and birch--and straddles the steep slopes and summits of the Green Mountains. Red spruce, balsam fir, and hemlock pretty much fill out the rest of the trees. Elbow Swamp, a large wetland, lies on the eastern edge of the Wilderness, and hikers who intend to wander there should wear rubber boots. The weather is cool from spring through fall, followed by long, snowy winters that attract cross-country skiers. The Appalachian Trail/Long Trail crosses the area for approximately five miles and, with side trails, allows you to explore Big Branch with numerous camping opportunities. Climbing up to Baker Peak is a rewarding view. Bring a map and compass and wander off-trail for a more vivid Vermont Wilderness experience.