The beginning of the trails pulse with possibilities. This is an explorer’s paradise, where at any moment you may be surprised by the lively burble of a rain-fed creek, a fox crossing the path just around the next turn, or an unfamiliar birdcall beckoning you to follow. You may even return to a favorite pond, only to find it transformed by rippled reflections of autumn colors or silent winter snows. To bicycle these trails is to feel the changing rhythm of the land as it rises and dips beneath you. And a companionable journey on horseback will carry you past the varied colors and textures of bark and leaves, across gently sloping meadows, and to an “enchanted” pond where turtles come and go. With its many different trails, Meadowood is always ready to show you something new.
Open seven days a week year round, sunrise to sunset.
(Note: Many places fill to capacity on busy, nice weather days, especially holiday weekends. Please call ahead or visit the official website to get the most up-to-date information before visiting.)
Admission and parking are free.
The Meadowood Special Recreation Management Area offers 13 miles of hiking trails and 7 miles of horseback riding trails, and 6.6 miles of mountain biking trails, and 800 acres of forest and meadows, and 2 fishing ponds.
Meadowood offers environmental education programs for homeschoolers, public and private schools, local 4-H groups and community youth agencies. Programs consist of bird identification, fishing, habitat hikes, tree identification, Urban Leave No Trace, tracking, invasive weed removal, clean-up days, and many other outdoor environmental education activities.
Trails: With so many distinctive trails, Meadowood offers a rich diversity of experiences for visitors who want to hike, jog, mountain bike, or ride horses. Hiking is allowed on all trails except approximately 6.6 miles of intermediate mountain biking trails, which are specifically designed to build skills in maneuvering over obstacles and to offer challenges for mountain bikers. Mountain bikers can access these trails from the South Branch Loop. Another, universally accessible trail leads to Hidden Pond, where fishing is allowed. Many trails in this 15-mile system interconnect, providing visitors with easy access to changing scenery and varied wildlife. A connector trail also leads to neighboring Pohick Bay Regional Park. Threading through this 800-acre mosaic of meadows, mature hardwood forests, freshwater ponds, creeks, streams, and riparian wetlands are two national trails with historical significance—the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail (7.2 miles), and the Washington- Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail (1.6 miles).
Wildlife Habitat: With its diverse habitats, Meadowood abounds with wildlife. Look for white-tailed deer, red fox, coyote, beaver, raccoons, hawks, eagles, migratory songbirds, reptiles, amphibians, butterflies, dragonflies, and more.