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The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission

Meadowside Nature Center Trails

Trails and Maps

The nature center has more than eight miles of trail that explore habitats including meadows, woods, ponds, streams, a lake, and areas of historical interest. Below are some of the points of interest that you can find at Meadowside Nature Center. Remember to abide by the park trail regulations when entering Montgomery Parks.

Lake Frank & Meadowside General Trail Map (pdf) 

Lake Frank & Meadowside Topographic Trail Map (pdf)

Points of Interest

Rocky Ridge (0.30 mile) – This is a flat trail through the Oak-hickory upland woods. These woods are representative of the most common woodland habitat in Montgomery County.

Study Pond (0.50 mile) – The Study Pond was once a tributary of the North Branch of Rock Creek that has since been dammed creating this wetland habitat. The trail meanders through the meadows maintained by mowing and gives ample opportunity for hikers to spot wildlife. Approach the pond quietly and you might see and hear frogs. #3 on map.

Pioneer Homestead (0.75 mile) – This historic site includes two log cabins, a smoke house, a corn crib, gardens, and an orchard. The site is intended to reflect a small family farm after the Civil War. #3 on map.

Valieant Bridge (0.75 mile) – This covered bridge was built by students from Rockville High School and Montgomery County Student Trades Foundation in memory of teacher and environmentalist, Joan Valieant. #7 on map.

Muncaster Mill Site (0.75 mile) – Also called “Miltons Mill”, this grist mill was built in 1820, and burned to its foundation in 1935. It was the last mill on Rock Creek to close. A large dam about 0.5 miles upstream provided the water power. Three millstones once ground corn for animal feed; wheat, barley and oats for coarsely ground grain; and buckwheat and wheat for fine flour. Today, only the ruins from the grist mill remain. #5 on map.

Lake Frank (1 mile) – Lake Frank, is a 54-acre reservoir named after Bernard Frank, a wilderness activist, environmentalist, and a co-founder of The Wilderness Society. The lake is a great place for viewing migratory birds, enjoying wildflowers, or fishing along the shoreline.  NOTE: Swimming, boating, and ice skating are prohibited.

Self-guided Trail

Meadowside Tree Trail
This 0.50 mile trail winds its way along portions of the Rocky Ridge, Connector, Muncaster Mill, and Backbone Trails through second-growth eastern deciduous forest. The forest once covered much of the eastern part of the country. Today only fragments of the forest remain. On this trail, you will learn about 11 of the park’s common trees.

Meadowside Tree Trail map ( pdf)

Chronolog – Environmental Time Lapse Photographs Created by Hikers

Chronolog is an environmental monitoring project that uses images submitted by the public. Chronolog stations are set up at four different locations along Meadowside Trails. You are welcome to participate in this citizen science program by submitting your own pictures at the different stations.

To learn more about this project or steps on how to submit your own picture, visit the Chronolog website.