Huntley Meadows Walk
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
- The walk starts on the asphalt trail at the end of the park access road
off of Lockheed Blvd.
- 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
- The trail winds through the woods. During mid-April the woods are carpeted
with the wildflowers shown.
- At the next trail intersection the Cedar Trail turns to the left. Stay
to the right to follow the Heron Trail/Boardwalk.
- The gravel path connects with a boardwalk. The boardwalk enters the wetlands.
- 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.
- This is the intersection with the return loop of the boardwalk. Keep to
- 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.
- The boardwalk returns to normal level and twists through the wetlands.
- 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.
- The boardwalk meets a short section of gravel trail. Continue on the gravel
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Cedar Trail meets the Heron Trail that you took to reach the boardwalk.
Go to the right towards the visitor center.
- At the visitor center take the asphalt trail to the left to reach the
- 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.
- The picture of the egret landing was taken from the boardwalk at point
9 on the map. A number of egrets were seen.