Not terribly easy. The markings for the trails are very far apart and I ended up on a different trail than I started. It took a while to get back to parking (but that's my fault) and there aren't maps anywhere besides at the incredibly crowded visitors center. Get there early to avoid boy/Cub Scout retreats.
It not a easy trail.. I get lost end up walk the last little bit on the road... but walk most of the time walk near the river/creek and very peaceful.. I will be doing it again hop I can find the full loop.. it right behind the bathroom on turkey run road it yellow to orange to white blaze..
It is a fun trail, not very strenuous, and runs along the South Fork of Quantico Creek for long stretches. There are numerous different loops, longer or shorter that can be made with the various trails in the park. Great park for the closeness to D.C. **Check the Prince William Forest Park map of trails from the park -- the map here is Not correct**
Two important things to know about this trail: 1. It is within a National Park (Prince William Forest Park) and includes a $7 fee per car, and 2. There is no actual Pyrite Mine Trail Loop. PMTL is a cluster of trails , which grouped together, make up this loop. They call this larger loop made up of trails, PMTL to honor the former mine that was shutdown in the 20s and underwent natural restoration by FDR. There are a number of sites along the trail providing history and certain aspects about the former mine. Make sure to go to the info center to have the park rangers highlight the trails/loop that make-up PMTL. Also, be sure to take a map with you. The paint markings on the trees are for the most part helpful to guide the way; however, there are a few confusing patches where trees don't have markers, and we found the map to be a bit of a lifeline for navigation.The loop itself is delightful. It is entirely covered by a canopy of trees. The forest is lush and green. This is a moderate trail with a number of challenging patches, but completely doable. So far, this has been the best hike we have done. I recommend it to those looking for a bit of a challenge (not major) and who love dogs (tons of people bring their pups out on a hike or run.)
It's actually not a loop but joins up to a few trails and a couple of roads. We did it as part of a big loop, approx 8.5 miles. We parked at Lot A, went up Turkey Run Ridge Trail, joined up with Old Black Top Rd at the TREC, then turned left at High Meadows Trail and took that south to South Vally Trail, turned left and back to Parking lot A for a total of approx 8.5 miles.
We did this trail today, it's actually three trails joined together. We started by parking at Parking lot A and we headed up Turkey Run Ridge Trail. It meets up with Old Black Top Rd. after the TREC. Then the next trail is on the left and it's called High Meadows Trail. It heads south over the Scenic Drive Rd to meet up with the South Vally Trail. Make a left and it heads all the way back to parking lot A. I tracked the whole thing with my Fitbit app and it was over 8 miles total. There are some hilly areas, lots of rocks and roots but it is an easy hike and some of it runs along beside the creek.
A nice and varied trail. There is a park policeman on duty here, however, who is very aggressive, unnecessarily so. Sort of a Barney Fife enforcer. We weren't used to that--normally everyone connected with this park is very friendly and welcoming.
This is a very nice park for the DC area. It wasn't crowded even on the main trail on a holiday weekend. Normally, you feel like you're in a shopping mall the trails are so crowded. There are a bunch of others that are more remote that we are going to go back to hike. There is also tent and car camping areas we will check out. The visitors center is nice and the rangers are helpful in planning your hike. Lots of creek for your dogs to cool off in with a few spots deep enough for swimming. It isn't the most challenging hike and there are no amazing vistas, but in the DC area finding a place that doesn't feel overwhelmed with humanity is truly amazing.
Way more to this trial, but if your looking for a fun (easy) scenic trail to do after work or on the weekend when you only have a few hours, than this is the trail to go to. Ample parking at the start as well as along the first stretch of scenic drive allow flexibility and the network connecting other trails is very nice and easy.