Camping and Lodging
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 than 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 available at the visitor center.
3. Can I make reservations for camping?You can make a reservation for Turkey Run Ridge Group Campground on Recreation.gov.
From March to November, you can also make a reservation for Oak Ridge Campground on Recreation.gov. For primitive camping, Chopawamsic Backcountry Area use permits are issued on a first/come, first/serve basis at the park visitor center on the day of camping.
4. Where/when can I check in to the campground?Once a reservation has been made, you can head to your campsite at any time after 12:00pm to check in and set up your camp. If you don't have an America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands pass, you will need to stop by the visitor center to purchase a park pass either the day you arrive or the next morning. If the visitor center is closed, you can purchase a pass on recreation.gov.
5. 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.
6. Where can I stay in the park if I'm not camping?Rustic cabins are available by reservation from mid-April through the beginning of October at Recreation.gov. Please call the cabin camps office at 703-221-5843 for more information.
7. 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.
8. 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.
Things To Do In The Park
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 reservation and boaters under 12 must be monitored by an adult
3. Is there any place to swim in the park?Swimming is prohibited in Lakes 1-5, except by permitted cabin camp groups. Swimmers under 12 must be monitored by an adult. 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:
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
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 valid annual or National Parks Pass. For a list of fee prices visit Fees and Passes page. 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.
7. How is the park maintained?Park maintenance staff are outside, on the job, in all kinds of weather. Picnic areas and roadsides are mowed as needed. Since the park is mostly forested, mowing is kept to a minimum. The park is managed as a trash-free area. Visitors are encouraged to pack-out everything they brought into the park. The dumpsters in camping areas are emptied regularly. In snowy and icy winter conditions, parks roads are sometimes closed for safety by management. As soon as conditions permit safe travel, maintenance managers may open roads. Please note, when roads close to vehicle traffic, the roads are also closed to bicycles. If visitors experience a maintenance issue, please telephone the visitor center at 703-221-7181 or contact us for more information.
How Do I Get To The Park?
PlaneThe area is served by Washington's Dulles International, Baltimore/Washington International, and Reagan Washington National airports.
CarFrom 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.
BusGreyhound bus service is available in Triangle, Virginia.
Public TransportationAmtrak and Virginia Railway Express rail services are available in nearby Quantico, Virginia.
Park Resources & Wildlife
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 venomous (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.
Last updated: July 24, 2022