About Laughing Brook

Meadow at Mass Audubon Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary © Richard Johnson

Fans of Thornton W. Burgess are no strangers to the setting at Laughing Brook—the children’s author wove his tales around the wild animals that live here.

The landscape has changed since Burgess called this land home. The "laughing" brook has at times become a roaring river depositing sand used later by turtles, and strong winds have downed trees leaving behind new shelters for salamanders.



Trail Mileage

4 miles
Details & map >

Sanctuary Highlights

  • Home to more than 400 plant species, found in or around fields, streams, and meadows.
  • Pavilion on the Mort and Helen Bates Trail that overlooks the pond, where one can watch for kingfishers and orioles, signs of beavers, and water striders on the surface.
  • Burgess’s former home viewable from Main Street, now on the historic register and currently occupied by staff; exterior photographs are encouraged.
  • The Neff Trail, a longer hike to a beautiful New England hemlock forest.
  • Programs offered through Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary.


Main Street, Hampden, MA
Get directions or contact us >

Hours & Admission

Trails: Open daily, dawn to dusk
Free, donations appreciated

Property Regulations

All of the land at our wildlife sanctuaries is protected. By conserving these open spaces, Mass Audubon, along with our members and partners, is able to fulfill its mission of protecting the nature of Massachusetts.  

  • No dog walking or horseback riding; please leave all animals and pets at home (service animals welcome
  • No walking off trail  
  • No collecting or picking natural items.  
  • No bike riding or operating motorized vehicles; day passes are available for powered mobility devices   
  • No running, swimming, or camping 
  • No operating drones or other remote-controlled vehicles   
  • No fishing, hunting, trapping, or releasing of animals   
  • No feeding wildlife   
  • No smoking