Huntley Meadows Walk

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Huntley Meadows Walk

Length: 1.6 miles

Surface: paved, gravel, and boardwalk

Exposure: sun and shade

Surroundings: wetlands, woods

Huntley Meadows is exercise for the eyes as well as the feet. The boardwalk across the wetlands allows access to animals and plants that will not be seen elsewhere. The number of people who were familiar with the wildlife inhabiting the park impressed us. One person we met was a retired biology professor. Several people were carrying very professional photography equipment with powerful telephoto lenses. But we also met families with children that delighted in seeing the ducks, frogs, turtles, and other creatures. Each week in the spring there is some new curiosity to be observed.

The area is primarily intended for walkers and jogging is not permitted on the boardwalk. Bicycling is not permitted except on the hiker-biker trail which has a separate entrance to the park. Consult the literature in the visitor center for information on accessing the hiker-biker trail. The visitor center hours vary according to season and may be checked by calling (703) 768-2525. The park is open during daylight hours. There is no fee to visit the park

  1. The walk starts on the asphalt trail at the end of the park access road off of Lockheed Blvd.
  2. The visitor center appears fairly soon on the left. Take the trail to the right that changes from asphalt to gravel. This is known as the Cedar Trail.
  3. The trail winds through the woods. During mid-April the woods are carpeted with the wildflowers shown.
  4. At the next trail intersection the Cedar Trail turns to the left. Stay to the right to follow the Heron Trail/Boardwalk.
  5. The gravel path connects with a boardwalk. The boardwalk enters the wetlands.
  6. Railings appear along the boardwalk at selected observation points. Photograph 6b shows a frog hidden in the grass. Click on the photograph to find the frog. Photograph 6c shows how the frog loses its camouflage when it wanders from the grassy area.
  7. This is the intersection with the return loop of the boardwalk. Keep to the right.
  8. After a short while and some turns the boardwalk is raised and railings appear. This is an excellent spot for viewing some of the water creatures at a distance. Photograph 8b shows an area filled with turtles. Photograph 8c pictures a red-winged blackbird hunting for food next to the boardwalk. This bird frequents wetlands of this type.
  9. The boardwalk returns to normal level and twists through the wetlands.
  10. This is the intersection with the return loop of the boardwalk. You may wish to do a full loop of the boardwalk and return to this point to visit the observation deck but that is not included in the mileage shown for this walk. Turn to the right to continue the walk to the observation deck.
  11. The boardwalk meets a short section of gravel trail. Continue on the gravel trail.
  12. The boardwalk quickly resumes and another intersection is encountered. The trail to the left is the return loop of the Deer Trail. Stay on the boardwalk to the right to visit the observation deck.
  13. The observation deck appears along the boardwalk. Climb a flight of steps to get a clear view of the surrounding wetlands. Near the observation deck a beaver dam can be seen stretching 400 feet in a straight line. This beaver dam is responsible for much of the wetlands at Huntley Meadows.
  14. Return to the boardwalk and continue in the same direction as before. Photo 14b shows a portion of the beaver dam perpendicular to the 400-foot section that controls the flow of water into Dogue Creek.
  15. The boardwalk connects to a gravel trail known as the Deer Trail. This is the end of the series of boardwalks. Continue walking on the Deer Trail.
  16. The trail forms a loop and heads back towards the observation deck. A wide gravel trail appears on the right and the Deer Trail appears to narrow. Take the trail to the right (known as the Cedar Trail). The Cedar Trail winds through the woods to avoid the main wetlands.
  17. The Cedar Trail meets the Heron Trail that you took to reach the boardwalk. Go to the right towards the visitor center.
  18. At the visitor center take the asphalt trail to the left to reach the parking area.
  1. The observation deck pictured is at the end of a hike-bike trail. This trail is reached via a separate entrance to Huntley Meadows Park at South Kings Highway near Telegraph Road.
  2. The picture of the egret landing was taken from the boardwalk at point 9 on the map. A number of egrets were seen.

Next - Driving Directions To Huntley Meadows Park

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