By Angela Hazuda Meyers
The Meadowood Special Recreation Management Area (SRMA) is an 800-acre tract managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Meadowood’s 15 miles of interconnected trails, combined with 5 parking locations make all trails easily accessible and allow for a multitude of trail combinations and lengths. The terrain varies greatly and includes open meadows, hardwood forests, ponds, streams, and wetlands. Formerly a horse farm, the converted farm roads and equestrian trails are dog-friendly and open for hiking, equestrian, and mountain biking.
This article provides an overview for each area with trail notes on terrain, sights and parking. All trails are very well maintained and well-marked. The area has multi-use trails, so if your pet is fearful of horses or bikes, select the trails marked accordingly and make adjustments to the loops listed to avoid trail segments that permit horses or bikes. This little known gem is a great escape. With few visitors, it’s easy to enjoy the solitude of this gorgeous setting.
Loop 1: South Branch Loop: 4.7 miles (dirt). Park at 10110 Gunston Rd. There is a map and information kiosk, as well as restrooms. 3 Paws
This hike has the greatest elevation change of all the hikes, though not strenuous. This wooded trail has many small stream crossings – though they are small and fairly easily crossable, on wet days, boots are highly recommended. It’s the perfect loop for a hot, sunny day as you’ll remain shaded for the duration. No horses are allowed, but the trail is shared with Mountain Bikes. You’ll enjoy brief views of the biking terrain parks as well as wildlife and streams.
Loop 2: Thompson Creek Loop: 1.9 miles (dirt & gravel) + .7 Mustang Loop to Enchanted Pond (grassy). Park at the Field Station Office which is the best place to pick up a map, as well as use the restroom. 2 Paws
This hike is a total of 2.6 miles with both loops. Thompson Creek Loop has nice bridges and runs along the stream for about ½ of the loop. Again, especially after a rain, boots are suggested. You will enjoy a wetlands walk around ½ way as well. Thompson Creek loop is mostly wooded and shady, Mustang Loop is open meadow. Both of these trails are also equestrian trails.
Loop 3: Meadowood Connector: 1.4 miles each way (dirt & gravel) + 1.1 Wood Thrush Loop. Park at 10324 Belmont Blvd. 2 Paws
This hike is a total of 3.9 miles. Out of the parking lot, cross Belmont Blvd. to take this trail. Meadowood Connector runs along gorgeous moss covered streams and past mossy trees. It’s a mostly flat scenic trail. You can circle Wood Thrush Loop in either direction. On Wood Thrush you’ll enjoy meadow views and a boardwalk trail through a wetlands. Both trails are wooded, contain stream crossings and are also equestrian trails.
Loop 4: Hidden Pond: .4 miles (dirt & gravel) return via Coyote: .2 miles (dirt & gravel). Park at 10705 Belmont Blvd. 1 Paw
This short hike’s main feature is the wooded fishing pond. Planning a relaxing day by the pond might be the best option on a hot summer day. There is a small pier, complete with a bench. Bring your pole, a picnic lunch and cast away. The nearby trails offer a short walk if you choose. Hidden Pond trail is hiking only, Coyote is also equestrian.
About Your Guide:
Angela Meyers is the owner of both NOVADog Magazine and a lovely pup named Maggie.