Why the Sitgreaves National Forest named this the Meadow Trail is anybody's guess. There's only one spot that might pretend to be a meadow, and even that is a real stretch. I prefer to call it the Sidewalk Trail, because that is essentially what this is. Forest signs indicate its length to be 1.8 miles, but my maps and my GPS couldn't come up with a step over 1.5, and I hiked it out-and-back and measured both ways.
So, here's what this trail is good for: It is a nicely paved trail (yes, bring your wheelchair, strollers, tricycles, rollerblades, etc.) that leads from the Woods Canyon Lake boat ramp/store area to the Woods Canyon Vista point adjacent to the Rim Road (FR300). The trail parallels the Woods Canyon Lake road (FR105), which all summer long will keep you no more than 50 feet away from trucks, motorhomes, and diesel-exhaust-spewing boat trailers. Peace and serenity are not what you'll find on this trail during the summer months! However, if you are enjoying a camping weekend with your family at the lake, this trail is ideal for your young ones or those who don't have a great deal of hiking experience. It keeps you off the road, and except for the very short hill up from the lakeshore is a virtually flat hike through a nice Ponderosa Pine Forest.
The reward is the view from the Woods Canyon Vista at the end of trail. I think it might make a nice evening/night hike with headlamps. Since its a paved trail, its very easy to follow, and the footing won't be a problem even in the dark.
There are plenty of trails in the area, and the Meadow Trail ends at the Woods Canyon Vista, where you can continue hiking on the Rim Vista Trail. A proper loop can be accomplished by connecting Meadow, Rim Vista, and a portion of the General Crook Trail, which intersects the Meadow Trail about halfway between the Lake and the Vista. A long loop using the General Crook Trail would take you to the parking area at the Rim Road and Hwy 260 and add about 6 miles, though there's a 3 mile loop that cuts to the Military Sinkhole Vista/Trail that is another option for would-be loop hikes.
My description focuses on summer hiking because the Rim Road is closed in winter due to snow, so access to the trailhead requires hiking, skiing, or snowmobiling. Though access in the winter when the road is closed makes this area much more peaceful! - Mar 08 2009 chumleyOne-Way Notice:
This hike is listed as One-Way. When you hike several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example