45 Bikes & Hikes: Prince William Forest Park

Triangle, VA
Chill Out in a Shady Forest
Prince William Forest Park

Distance: Seven-mile loop

Photograph by Ann Hennessy.

The small waterfalls on the north and south forks of the Quantico Creek swell with spring runoff, but by midsummer low water invites streamside toe-dipping and sunbathing. The park’s 37 miles of trails offer countless options, but this hike gets you the most waterfall action: Begin with a gentle descent along the Laurel Trail Loop (near the visitors’ center), then make a loop using South Valley Trail upstream to Turkey Run Ridge Trail with a return via Mary Bird Branch, Quantico Cascades, and North Valley trails. Throughout, a resurgent hardwood forest of beech, hickory, and oak provides shade on mostly level footpaths. There are plenty of connecting trails to extend or shorten the hike to suit your time and energy. For more information, see nps.gov/prwi.

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