North Valley Trail

Burma Road bridge and adjacent foot bridge
Burma Road bridge and adjacent foot bridge

National Park Service

2.6 miles, 4.2 kilometers

North Valley Trail is a beautiful, moderately-difficult hike that follows alongside Quantico Creek. The trail can be reached from many different areas. To take the trail from north to south, follow Burma Road down from Scenic Drive for about 10 minutes until you reach a road bridge and an adjacent foot bridge. Go over the road bridge and the trail head will be to your immediate right. Follow the light blue blazes to remain on North Valley Trail.

Footbridge on North Valley Trail

National Park Service

North Valley Trail is one of the park's longer trails with many opportunities to connect up with other trails and fire roads. These include Burma Road, Lake One Road, Quantico Cascades Trail, Cabin Branch Mine Trail, Pyrite Mine Road, and South Valley Trail.

Not too far down from Burma Road, you will come upon a small footbridge crossing over Quantico Creek.

Two photos of moss growing on a downed log
Moss and Fungus on the edge of Quantico Creek

National Park Service

As you travel down the path you will notice the many different types of plants and trees. This particular part of Prince William Forest Park is heavily populated with mountain laurel, different oak species, and birch trees.

Near the creek's edge, the moist environment and many downed logs provides wonderful conditions for moss and fungus to grow. This not only provide good habitat for moss and fungus, but also habitat for many of the park's animal life.

As you travel back in the woods you will cross over Lake One Road and Quantico Cascades Trail. About 20 minutes after leaving the creek's edge, you will meet back up with Quantico Creek and pass the end of Quantico Cascades Trail.

Shortly after meeting back up with Quantico Creek and passing Quantico Cascades Trail for the second time, you will come upon Quantico Falls. Though small, the falls make for a great view and resting point. After the falls, the trail levels out and remains relatively flat for the remainder of the hike.

Old Foundation near Pyrite Mine
Pyrite Mine Foundation

National Park Service

About 20 minutes south of Quantico Falls, you will come upon a series of old foundations. These are the foundations of the Cabin Branch Pyrite Mine's three main buildings. The Boiler Room supplied power to run the mine. Machinery in need of repair would travel on a spur of a railway track to the Machine Shop and Engine Room.

(Above) Old Pyrite Mine Foundation
(Below) Old Pyrite Mine Site
Old Pyrite Mine Site

National Park Service

Just after the boardwalk ends, the foundation of the Cabin Branch Pyrite Mine's Commissary building can be seen on the left.

From here it is only a short walk to the Pyrite Mine Road bridge, where the North Valley Trail trail ends. From here you can access Pyrite Mine Road or South Valley Trail.

After passing the foundations, cross over a small bridge on the left towards the Old Cabin Branch Pyrite Mine viewing platform. About five minutes down the trail, you can look across the creek to see the open hill side where the mine use to operate. One foundation still remains on the hillside.

During the mine’s operation, more than 200,000 long tons of pyrite was brought to the surface and processed into sulfuric acid and used in making soap, fertilizer, and gunpowder.

Last updated: September 28, 2017

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