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Exploring Mount Warner Reservation, Hadley, MA

By Tom Richardson

The Mount Warner Reservation is a Trustees of Reservations property in the small town of Hadley, Massachusetts, in Hampshire County. Contrary to its name, the 500-foot Warner is really more of a hill, but its wide, well-maintained, pet-friendly trails make for an easy two-mile hike, mountain bike ride, or trail run, if you’re so inclined.

The Mount Warner Reservation contains three vernal pools.

Along the way, take time to appreciate the property’s massive old maples, which once lined an old cart path. Farther down the trail, you’ll come to the first of three vernal pools on the property. These seasonal pools play a critical role in the lifecycles of many amphibians, including salamanders, newts, and frogs.

Massive old maples line a former cart path.

In late spring, keep an eye out for blooming lady slippers and mountain laurel along the trail. In some place, fields of ferns cover large portions of the forest floor. And of course, birders will find plenty of subjects to train their binoculars on.

Lady slippers bloom along the trail in late spring.

Another noteworthy feature is a massive glacial erratic known as “Lou’s Rock.” Left by retreating glaciers some 12,000 years ago, this boulder is made of “trap rock” not found in the rest of the Mount Warner Reservation, which means it was brought there by a glacier.

"Lou's Rock" is a massive glacial erratic.
Salamanders can be found under logs and rocks along the trail.
Mountain laurel bushes also bloom in late spring.