Location: Mount Warner Road, Hadley MA
Elevation Gain: 210 feet
Distance: 2 miles
The Salamander Loop on Mount Warner, in Hadley MA, is a new trail that packs a lot of interesting stuff into 2 miles. It should be at the top of your list if you are looking for a short hike or trail run in the Pioneer Valley.
Mount Warner is a 500-foot hill that stands over the northern section of Hadley, MA. It features vernal pools, a wide variety of plants and variable terrain on 156 acres that is managed by the Trustees of Reservations. Until recently there were no official trails on Mount Warner. Thankfully the Salamander Loop Trail was recently created so visitors can enjoy all of this scenery.
The parking area has space for several cars, is well marked and is easy to find right off Mount Warner Road.
From there the yellow marked trail leads out of the parking lot for a short walk to the start of the loop trail.
Once you are at the loop I think it is easier to go right but you can go either way since it is a loop after all.
The loop follows a visually engaging route that meanders around trees, rocks and through wooded canyons. There is some climbing but it is moderate and short.
It is very hard to get lost since the trail has plenty of yellow markers, arrows and even maps to tell you where you are.
Along the way you will find signs that explain the importance of the vernal pools that can be found on Mount Warner. Even though this is all packed into 2 miles; the windy route makes it feel a little longer and that is a great thing in a place this scenic.
The Salamander Loop is one of my favorite hikes in the Pioneer Valley because it has something for everyone. Casual hikers will enjoy the short distance and signs that help narrate their experience. Trail runners will find a loop that is full of runnable climbs and adrenaline inducing turns. Even mountain bikers seem to like this route.
This hike doesn’t have any views but I think the scenery along the route makes up for it. If you seek panoramic views then head to Mount Holyoke or Mount Sugarloaf where you get plenty of views along with more elevation gain.
If you want to go for a hike but don’t want to be out all day then this is a great choice. Also, the North Hadley Sugar Shack is right near the trailhead which makes it easy to get post hike ice cream!