In this case, the bonus site is a second sweet loop option at Wendell State Forest. The one profiled in the book, as Site #32, is a fantastic run that begins and ends in the Ruggles Pond / Park HQ area of the property. This loop is located just to the northeast, and can be accessed either from below at a small, very inconspicuous parking spot near the east end of Davis Road off of Farley Road, or from a more prominent (though not much larger) parking area by the boat launch at the north end of Wickett Pond. Beware that Wickett Pond Road can be extremely muddy in spring.
The loop combines portions of four trails: the Mormon Hollow Trail, the Nipmuck Trail (not to be confused with the one in northeastern CT where the Nipmuck Trail Marathon takes place), the Maple Leaf Trail, and the Hannah Swarton Trail. The running is really good on all of them. There's a lot of swooping and curving and climbing/descending on switchbacks. The loop can be run just as easily in either direction and from either end, though the Nipmuck Trail portion is probably more fun to descend. There is one section of the Nipmuck Trail, just north of Baker Road, that can be a bit challenging to follow in late fall or early spring when the leaves are down, but it's much easier in summer. While there are no scenic vistas along the completely forested route, short side trips can take you to Wickett Pond and Whale's Head, a large boulder just uphill from the trail.
|Hannah Swarton Trail at Davis Road|
|Whale's Head at Wendell State Forest|
|Maple Leaf Trail along the edge of a wetland at Wendell State Forest|
If you have any comments, complaints, corrections, praise, or suggestions about this bonus site or anything related to the Trail Running Western Massachusetts guidebook, please comment below or drop me an email with your thoughts!