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Prince William Forest Park Hiking Review

Prince William Forest Park Hiking Review
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Prince William Forest Park Hiking Review
  • Length
  • Elevation
  • Historical Value
  • Scenery
  • Terrain
  • Trail Markers

Summary

The Prince William Forest Park is a great place to hike, learn about history, take photographs of the scenery and see wildlife. You could spend a full weekend hiking all of the trails so don't try to do it all in one day. I was impressed with how big the park is. Make sure to bring plenty of water and good hiking shoes or boots with you.

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User Rating: 5.0 (1 votes)
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Park Information

Prince William Forest Park Trail Map
Prince William Forest Park Home Page

Address

Prince William Forest Park
18100 Park Headquarters Rd
Triangle, VA 22172

Hours

Sunrise – Sunset

Entrance Fee

$7.00




Prince William Forest Park is located at 18100 Park Headquarters Rd, Triangle, VA 22172. There is a $7.00 park entrance fee and the park offers 37 miles of hiking trails. Prince William Forest Park is managed by the US Park Service.

The History

The park was founded in 1936 and called Chopawamsic Recreation Area until 1948 when it changed over to it’s new name. The land was inhabited by American Indians (Algonquian) for many years and there have been several towns located on the land over the years. They were named:

  • Hickory Ridge
  • Batestown
  • Joplin

During the Revolutionary War, General George Washington and French General Comte de Rochambeau marched through what now is the Prince William Forest Park area.

You’ll notice almost immediately that there are grave sites all over the area and you get a quick realization that this area is very historic. I found many headstones while hiking out to the waterfalls and Pyrite mining area that once existed (1889 – 1908). I spoke with a park ranger that said there are over 40 cemeteries in the park so if you like historical hiking, you’ll love this area.

The Trails

There are about 28 trails in Prince William Forest Park and all are available for hiking and some include biking as well. When I visited the park, I spent most of my time on the designated hiking trails. The park is 25+ square miles and offers 37 miles of hiking trails. I found all of the trails to be clean and very easy to navigate. The 2 geological trails I hiked can be challenging due to the up and down elevation. Here is a list of what’s available. I’ve split them out based on hiking and biking.

Prince William Forest Park Hiking Trails Include:

  • Birch Bluff Trail (1.7 Miles)
  • Cabin Branch Pyrite Mine Trail (0.4 Miles)
  • Chopawamsic Trail (2.2 Miles)
  • The Crossing Trail (0.5 Miles)
  • Farms to Forest Trail (1.0 Miles)
  • Farms to Forest Trail Loop (1.7 Miles)
  • High Meadows Trail (2.1 Miles)
  • Laurel Trail Loop (1.4 Miles)
  • Little Run Loop (0.6 Miles)
  • Mary Bird Branch Trail (0.5 Miles)
  • North Valley Trail (3.1 Miles)
  • Oak Ridge Trail (1.8 Miles)
  • Piedmont Forest Trail (0.4 Miles)
  • Quantico Cascades Trail (0.7 Miles)
  • South Valley Trail (8.7 Miles)
  • Turkey Run Ridge Trail (1.4 Miles)
  • Muschette Trail (0.2 Miles)

Hiking & Biking Trails Combined Include:

  • Burma Road (1.4 Miles)
  • Lake One Road (0.4 Miles)
  • Liming Lane (0.9 Miles)
  • Mawavi Road (0.9 Miles)
  • North Orenda Road (1.0 Miles)
  • Old Black Top Road (1.6 Miles)
  • Pyrite Mine Road (1.0 Miles)
  • South Orenda Road (0.5 Miles)
  • Taylor Farm Road (0.9 Miles)
  • West Gate Road (0.6 Miles)
  • Muschette Trail (0.2 Miles)

Wildlife

There is a ton of wildlife to see while hiking Prince William Forest Park. The days I was out, I saw a very large beaver damn. It was along the Quantico Creek. The beaver population is big in this area. I did see one deer and found a dead ring neck snake by the creek. Here is a list of some of the wildlife you may see in the park:

  • Black Bear
  • American Beaver
  • White Tail Deer
  • Coyote
  • Northern Copperhead
  • Timber Rattlesnake

The Hiking

This is a very big park with up and down terrain. Making it to some of the mini waterfalls can be a challenge if you’re not in mountain hiking shape. I found it to be a good challenge hiking to these locations. The trails are very well marked and clean as I found my way around just fine. Make sure to stop in at the visitor center and get a map. This will help if you are just visiting for a day as the I could spend a whole weekend here and not be able to see everything. I enjoyed my visits as I’ve been here on a number of days in Winter and now Summer. My favorite part of hiking this area is hiking along the Quantico Creek and being near the water. Speaking of water, bring a lot to drink if you plan on hiking on a really hot day. You’ll go through a lot but make sure you stay hydrated. I also enjoyed the historical points in this park very much and they included the cemeteries, various grave sites from previous land owners/workers and the Pyrite Mine Trail that had remnants of the old mine. I also hiked along 2 geological trails that had great views of rock in and out of the creek. It made for some nice photos.

Prince William Forest Park Hiking Suggestions

  • Bring a lot of water (I use a Camelbak)
  • Good hiking shoes
  • Bug spray
  • Snacks (This can be a calorie burner)
  • Camera (Great trails with historical points)

 

Christopher

Chris spends his time photographing and taking video of wildlife and nature. He spent 2 years in high school studying forestry (Gainesville, FL) and is currently studying to be an Advanced Master Naturalist at the University of Florida. His mission is to inspire others to get outside and learn.

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