Town of Brighton, Franklin County, New York Facts
Brighton is located in south-central Franklin County, one of the northernmost counties in New York. The town is approximately rectangular in shape, its borders averaging 8 miles east to west and 9 miles north to south, and it occupies an area of about 78 square miles.
The geographic center of Brighton is at approximately 44 degrees 28 degrees N latitude and 74 degrees 14 degrees W longitude, roughly 45 miles east of the point at which Lake Ontario empties into the St. Lawrence River, 38 miles west of Lake Champlain, 34 miles south of the Canadian border and 93 miles north of the Mohawk River. The average elevation of the town is 1,620 feet above sea level. Star Mountain, the Sable Mountains, both heights of Jenkins Mountain, Jones Hill and Buck Hill are all over 2,000 feet.
Most of the land is forested. The State of New York owns about 47% of the land in the town, most of it wild forest. Lands of Paul Smith’s College account for an additional 20% of town acreage.
Much of the remaining area is water. Brighton lies in two watersheds, the Ontario/St. Lawrence and the Saranac/Champlain. In the Ontario/St. Lawrence watershed are the St. Regis lake chain, consisting of Upper St. Regis, Spitfire and Lower St. Regis which together are the headwaters of the middle branch of the St. Regis River, Rice Lake, the source of the east branch of the St. Regis River, and Osgood Pond, the source of the Osgood River. Rainbow Lake, located in the Saranac/Champlain watershed, drains into the north branch of the Saranac River. Other significant water bodies in the town are Jones Pond, the Spectacle Ponds, Black Pond, Barnum Pond, the Forestmere Lakes, Slush Pond, and Mountain Pond.
There are two state highways in Brighton, Route 30 which lies generally north and south, and Route 86 which runs east and west and which terminates at Route 30 at the Paul Smiths intersection. The town has 8 miles of county road and about 21 miles of town road. Off-road trails for skiers, snowmobilers and canoeists pass through the town.
Housing in Brighton is generally clustered along the few roads in town, and the “neighborhoods,” in a loose sense of the term, are normally referred to as McColloms, Paul Smiths, Gabriels, Rainbow Lake and Split Rock Road.