1.Calamity Brook Trail from Upper Works to Flowed Lands
2.Around Flowed Lands
3.Ascend Marshall via Herbert Brook Herd Path
4.Descend via Cold Brook Pass (aka Iroquois Pass)
This peak was climbed in 2001. The ascent of Marshall via the traditional Herbert Brook route is strenuous due to elevation change and distance hiked.
Trail Surface: firm ground, often along a brook (Herbert Brook). Complete absence of trail erosion at this time. Trail not muddy even during this week of steady, gentle rain. Nearing the summit, past the beaver pond, terrain becomes difficult with a few awkward twists and turns in the trail which will require careful foot positioning and a few long reaches.
Elevation Change: 1600 ft.
Distance: 1.9 miles to the summit from start at the RED trail intersection with Herbert Brook.
To descend from Marshall back to our camp at Flowed Land we (as per usual) followed a herd path we found at the summit that led us straight to TRAIL #72, COLD BROOK PASS. as easy as can be. The descent from Marshall to the starting point of this hike, following the herd path that connects to the Iroquois Pass Trail and then Iroquois Pass Trail itself down to Lake Colden then on to the starting point, is strenuous due to trail surface, distance, and elevation change.
Trail Surface: variable, becoming steep, generally firm, then becoming very rocky
Elevation Change: 1600 ft.
Distance: 2.5 miles back to the starting point at Herbert Brook
To get to Mt Marshall from the highway we used the UPPER WORKS trailhead and hiked in on Calamity Brook Trail. We rate Calamity Brook Trail strenuous with packs due to its length combined with the rocky, sometimes sloppy nature of this trail. It is moderate with day-packs.
Trail Surface: alternating between smooth and firm on the level areas to rocky and very rocky on the inclines. Not generally muddy even though it had rained gently and almost continuously for at least 3 days and nights.
Elevation Change: 1000 ft.
Distance: 4.4 miles
Some consider Marshall to have very good views. The McMartin guidebook states that if you prowl around through the brush you might find some views to the South or West. We did not find them nor did we find any herd paths that might lead to them. The views to the East and views of Iroquois to the NE were very uninspiring. We therefore rate Marshall low on views based on the probability that most hikers will not do the scouting about that Marshall appears to require in order to nail a view. See our View Rankings page for an impartial comparison of views from the peaks.
Ascent via Herbert Brook (McM #41) and Descent via Cold Brook Trail (formerly Iroquois Pass Trail) (ADK #72, McM #45):
The ascent of Mt Marshall is an excellent hike; one of the best hikes of the twenty so-called untrailed peaks. In the case of Marshall, the pleasure comes in the heavily shaded, almost church-like, woodland scenes coupled with the beautiful waterfalls and impressive rock slabs that Herbert Brook offers.
Being an untrailed peak, the herd path is not formally marked or maintained by DEC and does not appear on most trail maps, most significantly, the ever-popular ADK map. Usually, status as an untrailed peak implies that the hiking will be difficult, that there may be a number of tangled herd paths to sort out, and that many of these may be so crude and meandering that they just go in circles. In the case of Marshall, however, we found the trail clear of debris and blow-down, easy to discern, and in better condition than most DEC maintained trails. Why? We'd say it's a combination of overuse of the DEC trails and the modest traffic on the untrailed peaks. It is obvious that someone is doing some good maintenance on Marshall. We have received a reliable report that, in fact, it is the 46'ers that are at work. The result is that the hiking is in itself a very nice accompaniment to the beautiful woodland scenery to be found during most of the ascent. Hats off to the 46'ers!
We chose to descend by the herd path that runs NE from the summit to Iroquois Pass. While a change of pace, we do not recommend this route to anyone expecting an easier, quicker, or more scenic route down than the route up. Compared to the ascent, this trail is very minimal, more difficult, longer overall, and annoying from start to end. The conifers are close and dense; significant stretches of this path require you to keep an arm out in front of you just to protect your face from branches that press in on all sides. There is a not-very-troublesome bog in a saddle along the way. There are almost no views; often you can't see a much as 20 feet ahead. It is slow going, despite being a shorter route to the DEC Iroquois Pass Trail. The only positive was the single view that is obtained just before intersecting the Iroquois Pass Trail, of Shepherd's Tooth on the side of Iroquois Peak (see photos below). You will intersect Iroquois Pass about 45 minutes after leaving the summit.
When we reached Iroquois Pass Trail, we found a very rocky, steep, and long descent ahead of us. It was little better when we hiked it back in the 1960's. Frankly, this trail is best avoided, but we followed it down to Lake Colden in the vicinity of the Interior Outpost. Overall, Iroquois Pass is a foot-pounding, steep, rock-hop following Cold Brook.
Calamity Brook (ADK #121, McM #39):
We hiked in to Mt Marshall via Upper Works trailhead and the Calamity Brook Trail (ADK #121, MCM #39). The trail starts off at Upper Works is marked RED and YELLOW, but very quickly the yellow and red split. The yellow trail heads north toward Indian Pass. You follow RED to the right. At about 1.5 miles, you cross a bridge and reach an intersection where red ends. The BLUE Bypass Trail (ADK #126, McM #44) heads left and the now BLUE Calamity Brook Trail goes right. 4.4 miles and an 1000 ft elevation increase, this is the shortest route to Flowed Lands or Lake Colden from a trailhead. We rate Calamity Brook Trail strenuous due to the rocky, eroded condition of the trail over most of its length and its modest length. Also, we were fully loaded for 4 days in the woods which was approximately the situation of every hiker we met. Without a pack or with just a day pack, we would upgrade the hike to moderate.