The Trail and its History
Warner Trail trail marker
The Warner Trail offers delightful and varied outdoor experiences as it stretches more than 30 miles from Sharon, Massachusetts, to the Diamond Hill State Park in Cumberland, Rhode Island. The trail passes through Sharon, Foxboro, Wrentham and Plainville in Massachusetts and through Cumberland, RI. The possibility of establishing a woodland trail connecting the southerly fringe of the Boston area with the trail system in Rhode Island was first envisioned by Appalachian Mountain Club members, Charles H. Warner and John Hudson, prior to World War II. With the energetic assistance of Ron Gower and a number of other AMC club members residing in the general area, the trail was slowly put together, one section at a time, starting at RT. 128 and going through the Ponkapaug Camp of the AMC. By 1947 it extended south to High Rock in the State Forest in Foxboro. In the early 50's the trail had reached Diamond Hill, RI., but shortly developers caused the loss of the Ponkapaug to Canton Jct. RR station section. Mead Bradner, another active AMC member who spent many years caring for the trail, established the Friends of the Warner Trail in 1994 to ensure that the trail continues to thrive.
The basic philosophy followed in the development of the trail was to maximize the challenges while at the same time providing the greatest amount of enjoyment. Thus the trail wanders considerably from elevated view points to swamp crossings, to brooks and reservoirs. The trail connects a number of State and Town forests, Audubon land, conservation land, and other public land.
Hiking the Warner Trail
This trail can be enjoyed as a series of easy day-hikes, or one of many snow shoe hikes of several miles of uninterrupted quiet woodland, or as a scenic path to one of the many lunch spots. Users are asked to respect the property of private landowners who have generously granted permission for the trail to cross their land.
Private landowners have granted permission for HIKERS ONLY to pass on their property. No permission has been ever been sought, nor has permission been granted for any motorized vehicles or mountain bikes to pass on private property. In many areas, the trail passes through state forest and town conservation land. These public lands have their own rules regarding motorized vehicles and mountain bikes. Users, other than hikers, should contact these agencies for information on allowable trail use.
Please leave nothing but footprints.
Caring for the Trail
The Warner Trail is maintained by the Friends of the Warner Trail, volunteer AMC members from the Boston, Narragansett and South East Massachusetts chapters, State Forest and Mass. Audubon personnel, and other interested people. These individuals take care of blow - downs, marking, brushing, bridges, and relocations. If you would like to get involved in the stewardship of this trail, contact the Friends of the Warner Trail, 1791 West St, Mansfield, MA. 02048.
Information can be obtained at the Moose Hill Audubon, AMC at 5 Joy St. Boston, or the office of the F. Gilbert Hills Headquarters, Mill St. Foxboro, MA.
Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, Sharon
(Massachusetts Audubon; 1984 acres) - Extensive trail network through fields (good bird-and butterfly-watching), woodlands, hills and wetlands. Warner Trail and Bay Circuit Trail coincide for some distance here. Horses, dogs, bicycles prohibited. Visitor center, restrooms, program facilities, and parking lot in center of sanctuary; access via Moose Hill St and Moose Hill Parkway. No parking signs at outer edges of sanctuary are enforced by towing. Trail fee for non-members of Mass. Audubon; trail maps near visitor center. 781-784-5691. www.massaudubon.org/Nature_Connection/Sanctuaries/Moose_Hill/index.html
F. Gilbert Hills State Forest
Mill St., Foxboro (508) 543-5850
Covering 1,027 acres in Foxboro and Wrentham, F. Gilbert Hills is a passive use pine and oak forest. There are 23 miles of trails for various uses, looping through the forest. Mountain Biking is a widely popular activity and there are also trails for ORVs and horseback riding. The forest is named for a dedicated State Forester and park employee. In the 1930s he produced a series of outstanding illustrative maps of many of the Department's properties in existence at the time. www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/southeast/fgil.htm
Trail Markers on the Warner Trail
The following types of markers are used on the trail.
Markers may be missing or hard to see in some places. Trees with markers may have fallen, brush may be obscuring the marker, people may remove markers for souvenirs, or because of the trees growth, it may grow around the marker and "swallow it". Please report any problems you may encounter following the trail to the Friends of the Warner Trail. We need your help!
If you feel you may be off the trail, turn around and retrace your steps to the last marker. Sometimes seeing a marker in the opposite direction will confirm that you are still on the trail.
|From Dedham St. Sharon...
| ...to Moose Hill Audubon Hqtrs||3.8 miles
| ...to Foxboro Conservation Lot||10.9 miles
| ...to High Rock Parking Lot||13.3 miles
| ...to Wrentham Senior Center||20.0 miles
| ...to Wampum Corner||23.6 miles
| ...to Diamond Hill Parking Lot||33.2 miles