Prince William Forest Park

Prince William Forest Park

Quick Facts

Prince William Forest Park

Virginia

(302) 684-8419

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Established in 1936, Prince William Forest Park, Located in Prince William County, Virginia, is the largest protected natural area in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan region at over 14,000 acres. Today, The park serves as a window into the past, of what much of the east coast once looked like centuries ago. The park is an example of the increasingly uncommon Piedmont forest and its ecosystems and protects the Quantico Creek watershed. It is a sanctuary for numerous native plant and animals species. The park offers a variety of recreational opportunities, including wildlife viewing, 37 miles of hiking trails and 21 miles of bicycle accessible roads and trails. Several tent camping options, including family, group and backcountry camping are available as well as rustic cabin camping, and a full-service, concessionaire-operated RV campground, are available. The park's cultural resources are also varied. They include the remnants of Joplin and Hickory Ridge, two small communities existing prior to the park's establishment, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), who built the facilities, roads and lakes during the 1930s and the U.S. Army's Office of Strategic Services (OSS) who used the land exclusively for training spies and radio operators between 1942 and 1945, just to name a few.

Map of Prince William Forest

Latitude, Longitude: 38.583063, -77.384262

READ MORE

Activities

  • Bicycling

    The park Scenic Drive is a beautiful, quiet place to bicycle. For the on- and off-road cyclist, Prince William Forest Park is a favorite place for bicyclists. Over twelve miles of paved roads and 9.2 miles of gravel roads are available. Three miles of the park Scenic Drive are a dedicated bike lane providing a paved, relatively flat surface ideal for beginning bicyclists. More experienced cyclists with mountain bikes have the option of off-road biking on any of the ten fire roads in the park.

    Bicycle racks are located at Pine Grove picnic area, Turkey Run Ridge Education Center parking lot, and Oak Ridge Campground.

    Bicycles are allowed on paved roads as well as designated unpaved "fire roads." Bicycling is prohibited on all hiking trails and in the Chopawamsic Backcountry Area for the safety of hikers and to prevent trail degradation.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    Auto/motorcycle touring is permitted.

  • Camping

    Prince William Forest Park has 3 frontcountry and 1 backcountry campgrounds and 5 cabin camps.

    Frontcountry Camping Oak Ridge Campground (tents & RVs) is a 100-site campground with bathrooms, grills and picnic tables, and drive-up campsites. Leashed pets are welcome. Both tents and RVs are welcome in Oak Ridge Campground, though there are no hook-ups for RVs and length restrictions exist.

    Turkey Run Ridge Group Campground (tents only) is a 6-site campground with bathrooms (no showers), grills and picnic tables. Sites hold from 25 to 40 people and parking is readily available. Alcohol is prohibited at Turkey Run Ridge Group Campground.

    Travel Trailer Village (RVs only) is a concessionaire-run campground with full hook-ups for RVs, a pool, and laundry facility.

    Backcountry Camping Chopawamsic Backcountry Area (tents only) is an 8-site, hike-in/hike-out, backcountry campground. Each campsite holds only 2 tents and no campfires are allowed. Pets are also prohibited.

    Cabin Camps Cabin Camps 1 through 5 host groups of 70 to 200 people for group camping. Cabin Camp 3 allows individuals and families to rent single cabins. 4 of the 5 cabin camps are on the National Register of Historic Places.

  • Fishing

    Prince William Forest Park protects the North and South Fork of the Quantico Creek as well as 80% of the Quantico Creek Watershed. Within the park's boundaries are approximately eighteen miles of streams and two impoundments which are open to the public for fishing. The water quality of Quantico Creek is generally healthy and supports numerous fish species and other aquatic life. Most commonly found species include bluegill, pumpkinseed, largemouth bass, and channel catfish.

    Fishing is permitted anywhere along the South Fork and Quantico Creeks. Two small lakes, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the 1930s, are also great fishing spots. These lakes sit adjacent to the park's cabin camps (unless you are renting a cabin camp) and can only be reached by foot.

    Visitors may also fish at Breckenridge Reservoir though, again, this area can only be reached by foot and no watercraft is allowed. To access the Breckenridge Reservoir from Prince William Forest Park you will need to receive a backcountry permit from the visitor center.

  • Hiking

    37 miles of hiking trails meander through the 15,000 acre Prince William Forest Park. The Scenic Drive provides access to virtually all trails and features in the park.

  • Picnicking

    Prince William Forest Park offers a wide range of picnic options. Larger groups might prefer to reserve Telegraph Picnic Pavilion or one of the park's historic cabin camps.

    Pine Grove Picnic Area is available on a first-come, first serve basis. Located adjacent to the visitor center and less than 1 mile from the park entrance, this picnic area is the perfect place for a quick picnic lunch on your way into DC. This picnic area has a pavilion, picnic tables, bathrooms and grills.

    If picnic tables are all you need, you can also picnic at Parking Lot "E" on the park Scenic Drive. This small picnic area consists of a few picnic tables. It is well situated to work as a mid-point for many hikes in the park.

    To find out about more about these picnic options, please call the visitor center at (703) 221-7181. Prince William Forest Park is a trash-free park, so please plan to pack-out all of the trash and recycling that you bring into the park.

  • Wildlife Watching

    There is a large variety of wildlife that can be found in the park. Some of the larger mammals in the park are the American beaver, black bear, white-tailed deer and coyotes. Songbirds are ubiquitous and additionally woodpeckers, water king fishers, great blue herons, barred owls and geese all call the forest home. Frogs, toads and salamanders and not uncommon along the water. Even snakes, turtles and lizards hang out in or around ponds.

  • Winter Sports

    Winter sports include crosscountry skiing and snowshoeing.

Seasonality/Weather

Spring and fall are generally comfortable with precipitation possible.

Summers can be hot and humid with average temperatures in the high 80s and with sudden thunderstorms possible. July and August are the hottest months.

Winters can be cold with average temperatures in the winter of 41 degrees with variable precipitation.

Park Partners

Friends of Prince William Forest Park

Friends of Prince William Forest Park is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization that was formed in 1989. Their mission is to advocate for the preservation and enhancement of the natural and cultural resources of Prince William Forest Park, a unit of the National Park Service, in Triangle, Virginia.

(703) 791-2282

Travel Trailer Village

This private-concession operated campground offers paved pull-through sites, 35' long with single car parking areas beside them. Limited extra car parking is also available. The facilities include heated restrooms with free showers, a small playground, laundry, swimming pool. Tour bus service available.

(703) 221-2474

Directions

Driving

From Washington, D.C.: Take I-95 south to exit 150-B to Joplin Road (Va. 619 west). The park entrance is the second right. From points south: Take I-95 to exit 150 to Joplin Road (Va. 619 west). The park entrance is the second right. Approximate driving times: From Washington, D.C., 45 minutes; from Fredericksburg, Va., 20 minutes.

Flying

The area is served by Washington's Dulles International, Baltimore/Washington International, and Reagan Washington National airports.

Public Transportation

Bus - Greyhound bus service is available in Triangle, Virginia.

Public Transportation - Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express rail services are available in nearby Quantico, Virginia.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(302) 684-8419

Links