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Meadowood Grand Tour

 51 votes

7.0 Miles 11.3 Kilometers


100%

Singletrack

586' 179 m

Ascent

-586' -179 m

Descent

146' 44 m

High

12' 4 m

Low

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

11%

Max Grade (6°)

All Clear

18 days agoUpdate

This route is best way to link up all of Meadowood's mountain bike trails into one rad ride!

Ryan Delaney

Bureau of Land Management Treasures

One of the Bureau of Land Management's "Backyard to Backcountry" treasures, this trail was developed between IMBA and the Lower Potomac Field Station, VA BLM office to provide world-class riding experiences.

Check out the top 20 BLM Backyard to Backcountry rides!


Overview

Meadowood is a hidden gem nestled on Virginia's Mason Neck, a peninsula on the Potomac River rich in natural and cultural resources. The Neck is comprised almost entirely of public land, making it a great playground for riders, hikers, paddlers and history buffs of all ages. Combine a ride at Meadowood with a visit to historic Gunston Hall, or a paddle up Kane Creek from Mason Neck State Park at the tip of the peninsula for an all-day outdoor adventure.

The mountain bike trails at Meadowood wind their way through some of the best mature hardwood forest on the Mason Neck peninsula. Woody plants common to the woodlands, forests and forest edges at Meadowood include red and white oak, beech, sweet gum, Virginia pine, even persimmon and paw paws! The trails at Meadowood pass through a wide variety of terrain and vegetation types, providing riders with constantly changing seasonal experiences.

Portions of the South Branch Loop form a segment of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, and the Washington-Rochambeau Route historic trail, and work is underway to connect Meadowood via the Potomac Heritage Trail to Laurel Hill, the Cross County trail, and ultimately, Fountainhead Regional Park! For advocacy updates and ways to get involved, check with MORE at more-mtb.org.

Need to Know

You can begin this ride from any of the three trailheads at Meadowood. For big groups/multiple cars, parking at the large Mason Neck Gateway lot on Gunston Road will be your best bet. If you have a smaller group, parking at Belmont Boulevard will let you start your ride with a rip down the Belmont Connector downhill.

While the more technical trails on the interior of the loop are bike-specific, riders share South Branch Loop with hikers and trail runners, and this trail crosses Meadowood's equestrian trails in several places. Please be courteous and ride under control when you come to these well-signed intersections and shared trails.

Description

Starting from the new Mason Neck Gateway parking area, head down the Gunston Road Connector trail from the kiosk to the South Branch Loop and turn right, taking the trail counterclockwise. You'll ride rolling singletrack through mature hardwood forests, crossing a Dominion Power gas line, before reaching your first intersection. Bear left to continue on South Branch Loop.From here, turning right will put you on the Old Colchester Connector and a small parking area.

Climb the hill from the intersection, passing the exit to Boss Trail. Just after you crest the hill, you'll see the entrance to Boss Trail. Turn left and up onto the boardwalk that starts Boss and hang on for a good time!

Once you climb the hill at the end of Boss Trail back to South Branch Loop, head left to continue counterclockwise on the loop. Ride past the entrance to Boss Trail and cross the old fire road to start the longest sustained downhill of the ride, dropping from this high point to South Branch Loop's stream valley. This downhill is fast, tight, and fun. However, it's also open to two-way traffic, so yield to those poor folks slogging up the climb! 3/4 of the way down, you'll cross the equestrian trails via a gravel and rock-armored intersection, give a friendly shout or bell ring and be prepared to yield to horse traffic.

The downhill empties out onto the boardwalk crossing South Branch Loop. From there you begin a series of short climbs and rolling singletrack. The boardwalk comes equipped with benches, and is a great spot for a food stop. You'll pass the exit of Yard Sale Trail and climb a series of bermed turns, before passing the exit of Stinger Trail and topping out on a bluff over the stream valley marked with a stone cairn. The entrance to Stinger Trail is just around the corner.

Turn left onto the Stinger Trail and enjoy the tight, bench cut singletrack, a series of short descents and climbs bring you back to South Branch Loop below the bermed climb. Turn left to continue counterclockwise and pass the exit to Stinger Trail this time. You'll cross the fire road and a small stream before reaching the entrance to Yard Sale Trail.

Turn left off of South Branch Loop to start your run down Yard Sale. You'll run into South Branch Loop just after the boardwalk over the stream valley, head left at the intersection, climbing past both Stinger Trail and Yard Sale Trail to continue your lap on South Branch Loop.

After clearing the large, armored stream crossing, you'll hit a three-way intersection. Turn right for an optional out-and-back on the Belmont Connector. This trail accesses the Belmont Boulevard trailhead, and is a leg buster of a climb, but a fun descent back to South Branch Loop. It's definitely worth the extra few minutes.

Back on South Branch Loop you'll cross the gas line cut again on a paved stone causeway, and have roughly a mile to go to get back to the intersection with the Gunston Road Connector. Turn right to head back to your car at the Mason Neck Gateway lot, or head left to start a second lap on South Branch Loop!

While this route is the most efficient way to hit all of Meadowood's trails on one trip around the loop, it's only an introduction to the system. South Branch Loop flows great in both directions, and riders often session the three bike-specific trails and the Belmont Connector multiple times before continuing on their way. While not the most physically demanding trail out there, Meadowood's smiles to miles ratio is through the roof!

History & Background

Meadowood is one of the few BLM properties in the East, and it began life as a private farm and equestrian area. BLM acquired the property in 2001, with the goal of providing open space for recreation, environmental education, and wild horse and burro interpretation.
In 2011, BLM began planning a mountain bike trail system and enlisted the help of MORE, the local club and IMBA chapter, for help with fundraising and volunteer work.

After a nearly 5 years effort, the trail system is now fully built out, and offers area riders a virtual buffet of singletrack flavors, from rolling singletrack through the woods, to jump lines and progressive wooden features. One of the newest trail systems in the region, it's quickly become a favorite. This is in part due to the awesome wooden features on Boss Trail, and that it's easily accessible from DC, the northern Virginia suburbs, and Reagan National Airport. Consider checking it out on your next trip to the DC area!

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Nov 25, 2017
Glen Thomas
Nov 18, 2017
Justin Figel
Oct 25, 2017
Pamela Foster
Oct 11, 2017
Joey Atkins
Oct 10, 2017
April Moss
14mi
Oct 7, 2017
Ryan Stancil
4.5mi
Oct 1, 2017
Brian Hart
Sep 16, 2017
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10mi

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  4.4 from 51 votes

#65

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  4.4 from 51 votes
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#65

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Conditions


All Clear 18 days ago
Dry - South Branch Loop, Yard Sale and Boss Trail all very dry and clear.
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Getting forecast...


 
Spent the weekend camping at Pohick Bay and rode this trail system all three days I was there. Amazing! Hats off and a huge thanks to the people who contributed to this awesome gift of a place to ride! Only odd thing I found though...I was literally the only person I saw all weekend who rode it as described above, counter clockwise. I thought I was doing something wrong and on my last day there rode it clockwise and upon finishing, promtly rode it again counter clockwise...I found it much more enjoyable riding it as intended. Odd...anyway, I'm making a trip again this weekend to ride it again! Fantastic. Aug 17, 2015
Ben KB  
This trails is a lot of fun. The South Branch loop is very easy, and doable for every rider. It takes you to Boss and Yard Sale, which is where this trail shines. Boss and Yard Sale are short, but very fun. The difficulty is a function of how fast you go. So, it's fun for kids or experts who want to get air. This is a multi-use trail which is very well maintained, but low traffic. Nice! Aug 29, 2017
I went with a few friends who all had MTBs. I was on a hybrid with no shocks (Cannondale Quick 4), and I don't necessarily recommend that kind of bike for these trails. I would think you'd need at least a "gravel bike" with shocks, but I did ok...it was just a rough ride in some sections and I did scrape the ground with my pedals a few times as I didn't have enough clearance. Oct 9, 2017

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