Explore the best trails in Virginia with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
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My girlfriend and I did this as a day hike. Totally doable if you start early enough and are in somewhat decent shape. We took about 6 hours including a couple breaks. There are also a healthy number of established campsites along the way if you want to break it into a multi-day trip. I would also come back in the summer just to play around in the water on the Mau-Har Trail.
I loved this trail and will be going back. Despite this National Park being almost in my backyard, I have never been here before and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
One thing you should know is that the Prince William Forest Park has a lot of trails in it. Korie (below) is right - it's really a series of trails that make up the Pyrite Mine Trail Loop. The trails are well maintained and are a mix of flats and moderate hills. Trail markers are a combination of typical color markings on trees and at trail intersections there are [sometimes] easy to read indications as to which direction to go on. It's easy to get turned around and on the wrong trail so I would highly recommend stopping at the visitor center and getting one of the good trail maps they have.
The Pyrite Mine placards were very informative and reveal quite a bit of history about the area that I was completely ignorant of. It was fascinating to see a new forest grown over what had been an environmental blight. But the mine served its purpose and with help from mankind the forest has reclaimed the area.
The Visitor Center was great and there are some excellent displays of local wildlife, a relief map (which was very cool) and some supplies and t-shirts and such to buy. The Ranger we met there was super-informed, very friendly and really seemed to know what she was doing.
BTW - if you're interested in orienteering, there's an orienteering kit you can get at the Visitor Center and a log-book so you can record your tracks.
I would definitely recommend this and will be going back again. Great trails.
This trail is part of several loops all of which are well-maintained and with a good mix of flat, hills and a beautiful walk along the Shenandoah River. When my boys and I were there (2/20/17) there were virtually no other hikers so we had the place to ourselves.
The Overlook Trail is actually shorter than shown in the description above - it's about .6 miles and goes from the very nicely done Visitor Center to the Overlook Parking Lot. It hooks up to the Campground trail which is a moderate descent on good paths to the campground area (which is great for trailers, RVs and people wanting to stay in a few quaint cabins).
From the campground, work your way down to the river (there's a road and a couple of short trails) and use the stairs to get you right to the riverbank. We didn't know there were stairs there and went down a relatively steep short path that has been used by a lot of people. The stairs are about 100 feet from there - they're useful. :)
Heading back to the Visitor Center we took the Bluebell trail which is flat as a board and follows the river. It's a very easy walk and the river looks just beautiful. The entire path is shaded.
We ended up taking the Hemlock Valley trail back up to the visitor center where our car was parked and it was a fairly steep incline but not particularly difficult.
If you're not particularly in shape or have ambulatory issues but still want to walk in this beautiful scenery, park in the lower lot (past the Visitor Center) and take the Bluebell trail to the campground. It'll be a nice flat walk of about 1.2 miles in one direction.
I have to say that the Visitor Center here was surprisingly nice. There's an excellent display of animals found in the area and some interactive displays where you can pick up binoculars and look out over the Shenandoah River valley. The Rangers that were there were very friendly, knowledgeable and seemed to enjoy what they were doing.
I'd definitely recommend this set of trails for a short day-hike.
Billie Jean C. on Angel's Rest on the AT
Parking is very limited, if you park at the entrance behind DQ. I hike often, I run daily and this trail was one of the most difficult trails I have encountered. Very steep incline the entire way. According to my fitbit it was a little over 3 miles up. Views from the top were beautiful.
Scenic peaceful 4.2 mile walk. Southern section prettier than the northern. We started north end and had trouble finding access as we saw no signs. Directions on here took us couple hundred yards too far north into a residential neighborhood. Park at the VFW as you can access trail from either end of parking lot via athletic field. All paved and flat.
I didn't have time to do even half of this trail so will have to come back, but the part I did do was great.
From Rt. 56 to the Harper's Creek campground was not very hard. A gradual upward climb to a ridge, then down to the campground. The section after the campground was steeper and much rockier, but doable.
Once you reach the ridge that runs up to the summit there are endless views on both sides. This ridge has several knobs, with the last one covered in large boulders, and the steepest part I climbed.
Parking lot was not crowded, and I saw maybe 10 people at the campground, but nobody along the trail.
Arrive early. I parked at 8am in the White Oak lot and by 8:30am, 15-20 cars parked. When I finished the hike at 1pm the place was packed.
I did the Cedar Run to Hawksbill Peak to the horse trail down to White Oak Canyon. I thought White Oak was much more scenic, but a lot busier. A lot of peole were hanging out along the banks of the waterfalls and there were several people fishing.
The trails are steep in spots, with lots of rocks, but I saw kids all along the trail.