Editor’s Note: This series focuses on local hiking and nature trails visited by the author with his wife, 2-year-old daughter, and family dog to feature family-friendly outdoor excursions and / or comfortable for someone who identifies as a novice hiker. However, this particular property does not allow dogs.
HAMPDEN – Whether you’re looking for the chance to see wildlife up close, hike for exercise, or just take a stroll through a scenic area, the Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary is perfect. .
Located on Main Street in Hampden, it is easily accessible from Springfield and the surrounding communities as well as northern Connecticut, making it a perfect place for a nature adventure when you just have a little time, much like the Mazas last month. .
All in all, Laughing Brook has about four miles of trails, but the interconnecting paths are interrupted with some as short as 0.8 miles, making this a place that truly has something for everyone.
Laughing Brook, of course, lives up to its name with the Mort and Helen Bates Trail, which joins you at the entrance to the sanctuary, and the adjacent East Brook Trail along East Creek, a tributary of the Scantic River.
The ‘laughter’ and ‘babbling’ of the stream, even in a drier season, provided a calming backdrop as well as pleasant scenery and opportunities for bedbugs to take pictures of nature.
Well known as a place where Thornton W. Burgess drew inspiration from some of his most memorable storybook characters, Laughing Brook has a mix of forest areas, meadows and old rock walls as well as a pond and creek. . With what the Audubon Society says are over 400 species of plants as well as a variety of fungi, the sanctuary is home to a wide variety of animals. In this particular endeavor, the birds were plentiful and extremely active, making it a great place for bird watching. Just listening to the different calls arouses curiosity – what could they be saying to each other?
The trails themselves are mostly dirt and well cleared, although some areas are covered in leaves with roots and larger boulders, so care is advised.
One thing that is not likely to happen is to get lost. The Mazas taught the 2-year-old to find and identify trail blazes and yell when she sees them to make sure we’re going the right way. With the frequency and importance of the flames on these trails, we started to wonder if teaching him was a good idea.
Overall, Laughing Brook is the perfect place for a family excursion to explore nature right in our own backyard.
For more information, visit https://www.massaudubon.org
/ going out / wildlife-sanctuaries / laughing-brook /. A trail map can be downloaded from https:
Laughing Brook is located at 789 Main Street in Hampden.