Prince William Forest is unlike any other park in Virginia. Beautiful and lush, this park is the largest protected natural area in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. The park occupies over 15, 000 acres.
Located in Prince William County, Virginia, (32 miles south of Washington, D.C.) Prince William Forest was established in 1936. This park serves as the biggest example of eastern piedmont forest in the National Park System.
Quantico Creek Watershed
Prince William Forest protects approximately 30 miles of Quantico Creek watershed. A watershed is "a valley between ridges and the network of streams flowing through it." Quantico Creek watershed is made up of creeks and springs that form a drainage basin. That drainage basin deposits runoff water into the Chesapeake Bay. But water is not the only thing that makes up this watershed. Vegetation, rocks, and more environmental factors framework the ecosystem of this watershed.
Also known as Prince William County Park, Prince William Forest is the perfect park for a camping excursion. There are four main areas in the park where you may camp, each open all-year round.
Chopawamsic Backcountry. Located in a quite, remote spot of the park, this area is great for backpackers and hikers. You must acquire a free permit at the Visitor Center to camp here.
Travel Trailer Village. Located on the north side of the park, this campsite is a private, full-service RV campground area. Campers have access to hot showers, laundry, a swimming pool, and more.
Turkey Run Ridge Group Campground. This site is specifically for group tent camping. It provides grills, tables, and plenty of space to parties of seven or more. The sites are $40.00 a night and reservations are required.
Oak Ridge Campground. If campers choose to camp here, there is a $15.00 fee. This campsite provides tent and RV camping. Flush toilets, tables and grills, nearby showers, and parking spaces are all provided.
Hike through Prince William Forest for relaxation, nature visits, or exercise. Whatever your pleasure, 37 miles of hiking trails await you at Prince William Forest. There are too many trails to mention each one, but here are some of the hiking trails that stand out:
Mary Bird Branch Trail. If you are interested in spying on the beaver community of the park, take this easy trial.
North Valley Trail. Follow this beautiful trail along the Quantico Creek and view the small waterfalls.
Pine Grove Forest Trail. This is a paved trail that includes a viewing platform to watch wildlife.
Turkey Run Ridge Trail. If you like moderately difficult hiking, choose this trail. It is located between the Turkey Run Environmental Center and the South Fork of Quantico Creek.
The lakes and rivers of Prince William Forest's are dreams come true for local fishermen. The lakes contain many fish, including catfish, bass, bluegill, pickerel, crappie, and perch. But, remember, if you fish in Virginia, you must have a Virginia fishing license. It is required by law.
Lovers of nature unite! At Prince William County Par, you have the opportunity to see various mammal, reptiles, and birds. Come to the park around dawn and dusk to see deer and beaver. If you are lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of a rare star-nosed mole.
Reptiles are also aplenty in the park. Skinks and other common lizards are known to bask on trials and roadsides. Watch out for venomous timber rattlesnakes and Northern copperheads, though. Although rarely seen, they have been found in Prince William Forest hiding behind rocks and inside crevices.
Prince William County Park is open from dusk until dawn. This is a superb park to visit no matter what time of year. It has camping, hiking, nature trails, and gorgeous views of streams and lakes. What more could you ask for in a park?