The NOVA Parks connector trail links the popular W&OD bike trail with beautiful Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. Only 1.25 miles long, the paved trail provides safe and scenic biking and hiking access to Meadowlark for the first time.
Meadowlark Gardens and the Washington and Old Dominion Regional Park are only a mile apart and both are managed by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NOVA Parks). Until the trail opened in 2014, there was no easy way to get from one park to the other, except by traversing narrow streets without bike lanes or sidewalks.
NVRPA came to the rescue with a new connector trail, a 1.25 mile paved stretch of bike lanes and a short street segment that gives bikers and walkers a safe and peaceful way to navigate between parks.
The Meadowlark Connector Trail begins near mile 14.5 of the W&OD, along a nice section of the trail through Reston and Vienna. The closest W&OD parking area, at Hunter Station Road, is less than a mile away from the connector trail.
Enter the Meadowlark Connector Trail near the seating area and the sign marking the entrance. A few hundred feet from the W&OD you’ll cross a bridge then follow an easement through private property.
A short, 1200-foot section of trail follows Meadowlark Road. The remainder of the perimeter trail follows fencing along the back edge of Meadowlark Gardens, with Meadowlark Road conveniently separated from the path.
Views into the park are a nice distraction from the challenging hills along this section of the connector trail. Whether you’re on a bike or walking, you’ll get a good cardio workout (it would be pretty difficult with a stroller or rollerblades). Keep an eye out for the cool and quirky seating area at a private house across Meadowlark Road.
As you round the corner approaching Beulah Road you pass under some really beautiful cherry trees. These trees are gorgeous in the spring, and they are late bloomers so great for a visit during the cherry blossom season. If you’re biking, continue on the perimeter trail around to the front park entrance. If you’re on foot, you can enter the outer portion of Meadowlark Gardens through the gate.
Follow the paved path to the park entrance, or stop and have a picnic at the outdoor seating area. We used to bring our kids here for a picnic and a walk even when we weren’t planning to enter the park.
If you have time (and the modest admission fee) you should definitely visit the park. Meadowlark Botanical Gardens is beautiful year-round and is one of our favorite Wheelchair Accessible and Stroller Friendly Trails in Northern Virginia. In late November, the garden sparkles with displays during Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights.
We are grateful to NOVA Parks and all of the volunteers and agencies who make projects like the Meadowlark Connector Trail happen. We’re lucky to live in an area with so many beautiful and unique parks nearby.
This article was published in 2014 and updated in 2020.