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Prince William Forest Park - Triangle, Virginia

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
7.1 mls
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
4 hours plus a half hour for lunch
620 ft
Prince William Forest Park (National Park) $5 per car fee
Printable Topo Hike Map (PDF)
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e.g. 12000 Government Center Parkway 22035 or Fairfax VA
Park at the T.R.E.C parking area just past the campground. 38.58248, -77.37336

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.

From the parking area start up Black Top Road (path) for 0.2 miles before turning left on the orange blazed High Meadows Trail. The parks trail junctions are marked by concrete posts similar to the posts used in the Shenandoah National Park.

Follow the High Meadows Trail for 0.2 miles before crossing the first of many small streams over a wooden footbridge. Immediately after crossing the footbridge turn right at the concrete post, and trail junction, continuing along the orange blazed High Meadows Trail. In 0.2 miles cross over the blue blazed Taylor Farm Road (path) staying on the orange blazed trail. In 100 yards pass a very small cemetery on your left.

Follow the orange blazed High Meadows Trail for another 1.0 miles and cross Scenic Drive. From the other side of the road the High Meadows Trail continues for 0.8 miles where it ends the junction of the South Valley Trail and south fork of Quantico Creek. The concrete post trail markings at this junction are confusing, just continue straight on the now white blazed South Valley Trail, shortly turning left up wooden stairs then continuing along the left bank of the creek for 1.7 miles before re-crossing Scenic Drive.

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:

Hiker Reviews For The Prince William Forest Hike (5 Most Recent)
Review the Prince William Forest hike here!   Average Rating:   Share Hike: 

By: 2 Hikers Rating: 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!

By: Donna Adams Rating: 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.

By: Rating: 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:

By: Jim H Rating: 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.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, February 17, 2014
The Prince William National Park was free today so I decided I would save a whopping $5.00 and do this hike.  By the amount of cars parked I was not the only one who thought it would be fun to go hiking in 30 degree weather and a half foot of snow.  We all must've went in different directions since I saw no one during the whole 7.1 mile hike.  Which was great.  Overall this was a good hike.  The snow cover ground and the stream were running high.  Saw one wildlife (a deer).   

    View all 25 reviews for the Prince William Forest hike
Late January
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