|Hiking Trail Conditions Report
|Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary (Hampden) , MA
|Mort and Helen Bates Nature Trail, Burgess Trail, East Brook Trail, Neff Loop
|Date of Hike:
|Sunday, May 28, 2023
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
|Large dirt lot east of center Hampden and just west of where the road splits. Room for more than a dozen cars but maybe just a half dozen or so when I arrived and left at 11:15am and 12:45pm.
|Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant
|Water Crossing Notes:
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
|Trails in the area seemed to be marked with small circles tacked to trees. I don’t recall the color of the circles or if there were any on Mort and Helen Bates Trail (I don’t think there were) but Burgess Trail was marked with blue, Neff Loop with yellow, and East Brook Trail with yellow circles I believe. Markings seemed regular and I didn’t find the trails difficult to follow. Signs at major intersections. Debris blocking paths they don’t want you to go on (some shown on Gaia). Not much in the way of blowdowns other than maybe some widow makers or trivial stepovers.
|Pets are not allowed on the sanctuary.
|I used 25% DEET at the start as a tick precaution but the bugs didn’t seem that bad. Maybe a bit annoying once you stopped.
|Lost and Found:
|2nd full day in Monson MA on a little vacation with the parents. Too tired to bike, they informed me they’d headed to this Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary to bird. Once I dragged my lazy butt out of bed and ate, I joined them, right as they were finishing! I hiked the loop clockwise, the opposite of the way described in the guidebook, just to catch them. Not much of a difference either way.
Not much in the way of wetlands that we noted which surprised us. The most scenic parts of the trail in my mind were at the start as it passes by a pond and crosses over East Brook, and then the east side of East Brook Trail as it walks along the brook. Beyond that, it’s just a woods walk. The trail was mostly dry with a few muddy spots, usually with well placed rocks to hop on; lots of side paths down to the stream which seemed rather low. This was mostly it all on East Brook Trail as it walked along the loop. Note that the unlabeled 0.1mi section of trail on Gaia just north of the pond is brushed in; I believe the section labelled as Mort and Helen Bates Trail shortly after the loop splits is also brushed in.
Afterward, we enjoyed the picnic benches by the parking area. Gaia had me at about 4mi with 325ft of gain, most of which felt like it was on the Neff Loop; overall grades were quite easy/flat.
Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.