The Prince William Forest Park established in 1936 has 37 miles of trails on it's 15,000+ acres, and is the largest protected natural area in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan region. The circuit hike we have mapped here is just one of many possible combinations in it's vast trail system.
In 0.1 miles past the road pass the Taylor Farm Road Trail on your left, then going underneath Scenic Drive in another 0.2 miles. Continue along the white blazed trail following the stream for 0.3 miles where the trail ascends a small hill for the steepest part of the hike. The remaining section of the white blazed South Valley Trail is the busiest portion of the hike as the trail is easily accessible from three parking areas on Scenic Drive.
In 0.7 miles the white blazed trail crosses Scenic Drive again, and in 200 yards, and just before a small wooden footbridge, turn left on the blue blazed trail. There is no concrete trail post here. Immediately turn left uphill on the blue blazed Turkey Run Ridge Trail. In 0.6 miles cross Scenic Drive for the last time and follow the blue blazed trail for the remaining 0.7 miles back to the Turkey Run Education Center and parking area.
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Calculate roughly how many calories you could burn on the Prince William Forest hike:
Reviews For The Prince William Forest Hike (5 Most Recent)
Did the variation of this hike found in AMC's "Day Hikes in the Washington, DC Area", where we started the visitor's center and looped back down along Quantico Creek past the Pyrite Mine. It was roughly the same length (8.0 miles or so), so I would recommend that one too. Took around 3.5 hours. I loved PWFP, it was a gorgeous place so close to DC. It was a great half day in the woods, will definitely be back in other seasons (would also like to do trail running there, the trails seem great for that)
Date of Hike: Sunday, March 22, 2015
We did this hike today. Weather was a bit cool, but OK. This is a very good hike. Was our first time hiking in PW Forest Park. Enjoyed it a lot. Nice change of pace from the typical mountain hikes in Shenandoah. It's a pretty easy hike, with just a few fairly short steep parts. The rest is either flat, or gently rolling. The trails are well maintained, and mostly smooth (rock free). Saw very few people.
Will do this one again!
Date of Hike: Friday, March 13, 2015
Great hike with variety, and surprisingly empty. It seemed we had the entire forest to ourselves. The river was a highlight. Not too strenuous but certainly a good workout. Will definitely go back to explore other areas.
Date of Hike: Sunday, May 25, 2014
Hiked, biked and explored the Prince William Forest Park in 4 hours with a 15 min. lunch. The convenient location in Northern Virginia was a plus. Great tips and images from the day trip experience:
Date of Hike: Saturday, April 19, 2014
Wife and I decided to do this one as our first hike (as in ever). Thanks to National Park Week, today was free entry. Temps at 9am were in the upper 40s and it was partly cloudy.
Took along a copy of Hiking Upward's map and grabbed an NPS map at the Visitor Center. I want to say the (HU) map and verbose instructions were great! Never got lost and no wrong turns. The extra info about confusing junctions and "busiest portion of the hike" were spot on. There were some challenging spots climbing over rocks and in one (wet, rocky) spot a couple volunteers were rebuilding the trail (South Valley Trail just south of High Meadows Trail junction).
Even though it took us 5+15 to complete, we both enjoyed the hike. We may walk this again in the fall, maybe in reverse. We'll certainly attempt it yearly.