Gilbert's Corner Regional Park, Leesburg


24 April 2016

This was my first time here, and what a wonderful surprise. It's about two-thirds meadows and two-thirds woods, with barely-there trails in both environments. In the meadows, you follow essentially deer trails: slight depressions in the grasses, though easy enough to see. In the woods, the trails are marked with small pink ribbons in the trees, but you'd be hard-pressed to see the difference between trail and forest floor otherwise. Fortunately, the trees are scattered widely enough that the ribbons stand out.

What's wonderful about the park is what makes it so unique: it feels like a wilderness that you can wander about in as the whim seizes you. There's no careful demarcation between path and apparently virgin, untouchable forest. On the other hand, there are so many natural landmarks scattered around, like gnarled old trees on hillocks, that it's hard to become truly lost. It creates a feeling of freedom.

This unique attribute is also what makes it a tough park to recommend. While not dangerous, you have to pay attention to your surroundings. The trails are uneven, sometimes soft and sometimes hard, so wear stout shoes, and I'd keep my legs covered. Smaller dogs will have a difficult time in the tall grasses of the meadows, and any animal is likely to come home covered in burrs or other detritus.