Pyrite Mine Loop Trail is a 7.6 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Triangle, Virginia that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
Ruins, waterfalls, deer + much more! Explore the Pyrite mine ruins and catch some terrific waterfalls, wildlife, and a good hike. Not for hiking? Put on the bathing suite and bring an innertube and float away on the river (nice and slow). The trail starts out with small steep sections, and plenty of bridged water crossings. The trail gets muddy after rains, so bring a hiking stick as necessary, and bug spray. Most of the hike is along a river or stream. Along the Pyrite mine section of the trail, you can see and explore ruins with interpretive signs. At the Pyrite mine overlook boardwalk, you can take the GPS route (for extra exploring and more views to an actual mine piling and overlook) or stay on the boardwalk until you meetup with the GPS data detour at the next bridge. The GPS data detour crosses the stream (possible to get a little wet) and goes along the area where the strip mine was, now a marshy area. There is a broken trail there that takes you to the mine piling on a hill where you can get a great panorama photo of the entire mine location. There is no danger from ruins or artifacts here, its all open fields and grassy areas. Meeting up with the next bridge, we find the majority of the ruins to explore. The next leg takes us up along the river for the prime wildlife viewing spot, with an everyday deertrail running through. To the right we have plenty of unique waterfalls. Turning back towards the forest, we hike through beaver areas where small tributaries have formed. Going back along the trail to our starting point, we have unique water views and general trail flatness. This hike is one of the best and most well-rounded in the area... something for everyone. Pack a lunch and have it on the rocks by the waterfalls (approximately halfway). Please do NOT take any artifacts.
Easy trail with awesome creekside stretches. Perfect for pups. Decently crowded even in winter months.
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.
Perfect for a fairly flat relaxing hike
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.)
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.
We enjoyed this park/trail. Not a lot of people which makes it very peaceful.
I couldn't find any of the attractions