Meadowood Grand Tour
ElevationAscent: 463' 141 m
Descent: -497' -152 m
High: 145' 44 m
Low: 15' 5 m
GradeAvg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 11% (6°)
Current trail conditions
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“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.
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 atmore-mtb.org.
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.
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!
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!
Local Club: Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts (MORE)
Land Manager: Bureau of Land Management, Lower Potomac Field Station