Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Northern Virginia's Hidden Secret - Prince William Forest Park

Nestled along side of I-95 near Quantico, you wouldn't think of Prince William Forest Park (PWFP) as a place to get away from the politics of Washington, DC. But, it is just that. Located about 30 miles southwest of DC, PWFP is a place of solitude and a hiker/trail runner's haven. Boasting 37 miles worth of trails, you can get creative with the routes you plan through the park. All of the park's trails are well mark with blazes. Are you a cyclist looking for some opens miles with little road traffic? Scenic Drive and its 12 miles is the place for you.

The trails of PWFP are hard packed and fairly non-technical. It's the perfect place to introduce yourself to trail running if you are a newbie. There are some rolling hills, but nothing to shy away from. My favorite trail to run on is South Valley. At just under 9 miles, it's the parks longest trail and in my opinion, the most scenic. The majority of the trail parallels the South Fork Quantico Creek. Hearing the sounds of the babbling creek as you run by is so peaceful and calming. It makes you forget that you are so close to urban life. If you're lucky, you might spot some whitetail deer roaming the park grounds. I even saw a couple wild turkeys the last time I was there.

South Fork Quantico Creek
Few rocks on South Valley to contend with

Foot bridge over the creek
South Valley

Western edge of the South Valley Trail
PWFP is definitely worth your time and a great place to get some good trail running miles in!

Garmin Upload of my favorite loop to run 

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