Thursday, April 19, 2007

Great Meadows, Lexington/Arlington, MA

Great Meadows is an area of meadows, woods, and low hills that sits within the town of Lexington, but it actually owned by Arlington. Nearly 200 acres in size, much of Great Meadows is inaccessible, as it has no real trails and is mostly wetlands (see photo). There is, however, as series of trails mostly around the perimeter of Great Meadows, and it is possible to use trails and side streets to complete a loop around the area.

A trail starts from the Minuteman Bike Path, in East Lexington just behind the intersection of Routes 4/225 and Massachusetts Avenue. This trail shifts between level boardwalks (see photo) and hilly dirt trails, going counter-clockwise around the west side of Great Meadows. Following the main trail, it eventually goes past some beautiful strands of birch (see photo below) for a short time before going up a hill with scenic views of the meadows as well as Lexington.

From the top of the hill, the main trail drops into some deep woods, then skirts a school and eventually ends at a side street. By following a series of side streets back toward the bike path, the loop can be completed. One option is to take a right on a side trail off one of the side streets, which leads to a remarkable view of the meadows from its eastern edge. That trail then continues south to the bike path.