• dogwood across creek

    Prince William Forest

    Park Virginia

Frequently Asked Questions

Most of the questions visitors ask in Prince William Forest park fall into one of six categories: camping/lodging and park facilities, things to do in the park, details about the park, directions to the park, park resources and wildlife and safety. Here are some of the questions most often asked of park employees:

 

CAMPING AND LODGING

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1. Where can I park my trailer (or RV)?

Visitors must camp in designated camping areas. campsites with hook-ups are only available at Prince William Forest RV Campground. If you don't need hook-ups, you can camp at Oak Ridge Campground if your RV is less than 32' or trailer is less then 26'.

2. Where can I camp?

There are two developed tent campgrounds in the park, located at Oak Ridge Campground and Turkey Run Ridge Group Campground. The campgrounds provide comfort stations, potable water and grills for cooking. There are also primitive campsites located at Chopawamsic Backcountry Area which require a backcountry permit.

3. Can I make reservations for camping?

Turkey Run Ridge Group Campground is available for reservation on Recreation.gov.

Oak Ridge Campground is available for reservation from April 15th to October 31st on Recreation.gov. The rest of the year it is first-come, first serve.

For primitive camping, Chopawamsic Backcountry Area use permits are issued on the day of camping at the park visitor center (in person).

4. Are there showers in the park?

The only tent campground in the park with showers is Oak Ridge Campground. Showers are reserved for Oak Ridge campers only.

5. Where can I stay in the park if I'm not camping?

Rustic cabins are available by reservation and/or first-come, first served basis from mid-April through mid-october. Please call the cabin camps office at 703-221-4706 x401 for more information.

6. Can I use my cell phone in the park?

Cell phone service is available in the park, but do not depend on it. Signal availability and strength varies depending on your location in the park and the service you are using.

7. Where can I eat?

Food is not currently available at the park. There are, however, many restaurants, fast-food and convenience stores located approximately two miles
outside the park in the nearby town of Triangle. There are beverage machines located at the visitor center and at Turkey Run Ridge Group Campground.

 

THINGS TO DO IN THE PARK

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1. Can we ride horses in the park?

No.

2. Can we bring canoes or kayaks to the park?

Vessel use is allowed by cabin camp groups only with a Certified Water Safety Instructor present. Water safety Instructors must be identified on the camping permit. This certification must be forwarded to the park superintendent prior to water activities.

3. Is there any place to swim in the park?

Swimming is prohibited in Lakes 1-5, except by permitted cabin camp groups with a certified lifeguard present. Lifeguards must be identified on the camping permit. You can wade in the streams.

Swimming at the Prince William Forest RV Campground pool is restricted to registered guests only.

4. Can we fish in the park?

Visitors who have been issued a valid Virginia state fishing license may fish. Live bait is not allowed in any of the lakes. Fishing is permitted at Carter's Pond, however, it is catch and release only. Fishing is in accordance with Virginia State fishing regulations with the following exceptions: Cabin Camp 1 frontage on Lake 1; Cabin Camp 2 frontage on Lake 2; Cabin Camp 4 frontage on Lake 4; Cabin Camp 5 frontage on Lake 5. Visit the Fishing Page for more information

5. Where can I see wildlife?

Much of the wildlife in the park is active at dawn and dusk. These are prime times to look for deer, fox, and beaver. North Valley Trail is especially good. The park's scenic drive is a great place to catch a glimpse of deer, and is good for birding throughout much of the year. Do not feed any wildlife in the park.

 

DETAILS ABOUT THE PARK

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1. Where do I pay my park fee? Do I have to pay a fee? How much is the fee?

Most people do have to pay a park entrance fee, unless they have a Golden Age Passport, Golden Access Passport, or National Parks Pass. The fee is $5 per vehicle and is valid for seven consecutive days. These passes may be purchased at the park's entrance station and/or visitor center. Commercial Tour Fees apply to commercial groups.

2. How long is the scenic drive?

The loop is nine miles.

Starting/stopping at the entrance station is twelve miles.

3. How many visitors come to the park each year?

In the past few years, Prince William Forest Park has had between 215,000-250,000 visitors annually.

4. How big is Prince William Forest Park?

15,000+ acres.

5. Is this a National Park? When did it become a unit of the National Park System?

Yes, Prince William Forest Park was authorized by the U.S. Congress on November 14, 1936. The park was originally named Chopawamsic Recreation Demonstration Area, and later renamed its current name in June 22, 1948.

6. When is the park's busy season?

For the park’s geographic location (32 miles south of Washington, D.C. and many nearby suburban communities), the park is relatively uncrowded for much of the year. Visitation is highest during the Summer months. The park receives higher levels of visitation during weekends as opposed to weekdays. Visitation is lowest in January and February.

 

HOW DO I GET TO THE PARK?

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Plane

The area is served by Washington's Dulles International, Baltimore/Washington International, and Reagan Washington National airports.

Car

From Washington, D.C.: Take I-95 south to exit 150-B to Joplin Road (Va. 619 west). The park entrance is the second right.

From points south: Take I-95 to exit 150 to Joplin Road (Va. 619 west). The park entrance is the second right.

Approximate driving times: From Washington, D.C., 45 minutes; from Fredericksburg, Va., 20 minutes.

Bus

Greyhound bus service is available in Triangle, Virginia.

Public Transportation

Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express rail services are available in nearby Quantico, Virginia.

 

PARK RESOURCES/WILDLIFE

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1. Where is the best place to hike?

The answer's simple, it depends. The park contains 37 miles hiking trails, which wind through many unique and picturesque locations. Whether you prefer hiking in a flat lowland along the water's edge, or the more hilly upland terrain, the visitor center can recommend a circuit hike to suit your needs.

2. Are there many snakes in the park?

Prince William Forest Park has 17 species of snakes, only two of which are poisonous (the timber rattlesnake and the Northern copperhead). Snakes, like all other animals in the park, are protected. Please do not harass or harm them.

3. Do I have to worry about black bears?

Although there are confirmed bear populations in the area, spotting this elusive creature in the park is very rare. Report any sightings to the visitor center, and practice standard safety procedures concerning black bears.

4. How clean are the streams that run through the park?

Because 80% of the Quantico Creek watershed runs through the park, Quantico Creek has been classified by several studies as one of the highest quality and most biologically diverse streams in the northern Virginia area. Although the water is clean, we strongly discourage the drinking of the water without properly filtering it of impurities first.

Did You Know?