• dogwood across creek

    Prince William Forest

    Park Virginia

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    Reminder to park visitors. Fireworks are prohibited at Prince William Forest Park.

  • Oak Ridge Campground Site A29 closure

    Oak Ridge Campground site A29 will be closed until safety concerns have been mitigated. Please do not use that site until it has been reopened.

  • Warm Wet Spring = More Ticks

    Please check yourself and your pets for ticks continually during and after your visit. Ticks are less prevelent if you stay on trail or in mowed areas. Wearing light colored clothing helps you spot them before the attach.

  • Firewood

    Outside firewood is prohibited in Prince William Forest Park, unless it is certified USDA 'bug free' firewood. Dead and downed wood may be collected from designated areas for use while in the park. Help us protect the forest from invasive species!

  • Visitor Center Remodel 2014

    Over the next several months there will be new changes coming to the Visitor Center. Presently we are remodeling the bookstore area to give it more of a country theme. Next the exibit area will get all new exhibits. Thank you for your patience and support


Given their somehwat relaxed nature and relatively slow reaction time, turtles are one of the easier reptile species to observe. The shell affords the turtle luxury and is vital to their survival. Coyotes have been known to dig at a box turtle's shell for half an hour, only to give up with the turtle none worse for the wear. Prince William Forest Park is fortunate enough to have a healthy population of turtles. Here are some of the turtles you might come across during a walk in the park.

midland painted turtle walking in grass

Midland painted turtle

Photo courtesy of Andrew Hoffman

Painted Turtles
Pond turtles can be frequently seen at the park’s lakes, basking in the sunshine on either a log or floating at the water’s surface. Usually these will be painted turtles but some other species may be present as well.

turtle in water

Andrew Hoffman

Box Turtle
The Eastern Box Turtle species is declining in most areas due to over development and forest fragmentation. Here in Prince William Forest Park, after a nice summer rain, you may see many of them venturing out on the trails in plain view. Box turtles have a tremendous homing instinct and removing one from its territiory usually proves fatal as they roam the area searching for their home. Along the way, encounters with toads, dogs, and other predators can occur.
snapping turtle in leaves

Jenn Kays

Eastern Snapping Turtle

Did You Know?

View along Farms to Forest Trail.

At over 15,000 acres, Prince William Forest Park protects the largest example of eastern Piedmont forest ecosystem (one of the most heavily altered ecosystems in North America) in the National Park System.