Sunday, September 11, 2011

Beyond the Minuteman: Arlington's Great Meadow

The Great Meadow is neither great, nor a meadow.  It is, however, a pretty good place for some smooth singletracking right off of the Minuteman bikeway.

Just beyond Arlington Heights on the Minuteman trail is a picturesque view overlooking a large marshy expanse.  This great swamp is actually Arlington's Great Meadow.  While most of the area is a marshy trail-less wildlife sanctuary, higher tree-covered ground runs along the meadow's borders to the north and west.  Within these forested areas winds some smooth enjoyable singletrack.  While not a full meal of mountain biking, the trails in the Great Meadow make for a decent snack while travelling along the Minuteman Trail.

The Great Meadow is conveniently located not far from Arlington, however, this also means that it is much busier than the conservation areas off of the more remote Narrow Gauge Trail and Reformatory Branch Trail.  Far from a technical beast, the Great Meadow is a good place to lower your cadence, soak in some surroundings and enjoy the disapproving glares of hikers who hate bikers.  To add some challenge, and get away from the crowds, the Great Meadows trails can be combined with the trails at Whipple Hill and those around the Arlington Reservoir.

While there is one obvious entrance to the trails with a wide fire road and prominent sign, another less conspicuous entrance to the east leads to some of the most interesting singletrack.  This entrance looks almost like a small streambed falling off of the Minuteman and sits almost directly across from a stone bench along the paved trail.

Note that my built-in poison ivy detectors (aka my legs) have indicated the presence of my favorite noxious weed, so keep an eye out for those leaves-of-three, and be sure to let them be.


  1. Nice route! that looks like a nice piece of wilderness in the middle of urban sprawl. Have you ever heard of Zanfel? It gets rid of poison ivy wicked quick/

  2. Sounds like Zanfel and I could be really good friends. My legs have looked like Brundlefly all summer. Just another reason to love winter.

  3. Are you allowed to bike in here? Just solo, easy trail riding style (no bombing around).

  4. The rule in Arlington is that public lands/parks are bike-able unless posted otherwise, but I'm not sure about Lexington. I haven't seen anything to say that biking is prohibited. Not being a dick is usually the best approach on the suburban trails.... and life in general, so kudos for your approach.

  5. Just found this - have been bike commuting in from Lincoln on a CX bike and have a bit of time today and will add this loop in. It will make for a happy day at work!

    1. The trails are in great shape. I was just in there yesterday.