Meander. Explore. Discover. Set your own pace as you try one or all of our self-guided walks and hikes through the Meadow Garden.
The Meadow Boardwalk
Guests can enjoy our fully accessible Meadow Boardwalk, which offers a variety of views from the comfort of a partially shaded, elevated boardwalk and crushed granite path. This walk provides expansive views of the undulating Meadow Garden landscape, the woodland edge, the Meadow Bridge, and nearby grasses and wildflowers. At the east end, the Boardwalk crosses Hourglass Lake to the Hourglass Lake Pavilion.
Distance: 1/3 mile one way (about 20 minutes)
Terrain: Boardwalk and granite path, suitable for all guests. The gentle grade is wheelchair and stroller accessible, and partially shaded.
Habitat: woodland edge, meadow edge, wetland, and ponds
East Meadow Hike
Guests walk past Hourglass Lake, over the Earth Bridge, and stop at Hawk Point for great bird viewing. The Webb Farmhouse is a 10 minute walk from Hawk Point. Return along the northern path, which winds through a scenic grove and over the wetlands at the Beech Forest Boardwalk. Follow an old roadbed next to the shallow creek on the way back to the Hourglass Lake Pavilion.
Distance: round trip approximately 1 mile (about 40 minutes) from the Hourglass Lake Pavilion
Terrain: Varied terrain; uneven grass trails slope upwards with a moderate incline to the Webb Farmhouse and back down toward the creek and roadbed.
Habitat: dry and wet meadow, wetlands, forest, and large specimen white oaks
Meadow Valley Walk
This easy walk starts near the Hourglass Lake Pavilion and continues along the edge of the lake. Take the second left past the lake and stroll the old Route 52 roadbed, which has been transformed into a grassy walking path. After crossing the picturesque creek via Beech Forest Boardwalk, guests return along a slight incline, passing the site of an old quarry, wetlands and spring house before returning to the Hourglass Lake Pavilion via the beautiful Avondale fieldstone Earth Bridge. Along the way guests will see native wetland plants, American holly, and stands of mature beech and oak trees.
Distance: 3/4 mile round trip (about 40 minutes)
Terrain: nearly flat; grass paths and boardwalk
Habitat: creek and wetland, large specimen white oaks
Outer Meadow Hike
This “big loop” hike winds along the outer edges of the Meadow, offering panoramic views of the Brandywine Valley landscape and quiet corners for contemplation. With stops at all the Pavilions, the Webb Farmhouse, Beech Boardwalk, and Meadow and Earth Bridges, guests can explore all points of interest in the Meadow Garden. Journey through diverse habitats, including the transitional woodland edges, meadow grasslands, wetlands, and lake. This hike is comprised of varied terrain, primarily uneven grass trails and some steep areas.
Distance: 1.7 miles round trip
Terrain: primarily uneven grass trails with short boardwalk sections; varied terrain with bridge crossings, rolling hills, and some steep areas
Habitat: dry and wet meadow, wetlands, forest edge