Hike in Prince William Forest Park: A Moderate 6.8 Miles: The Beaver Loop!
Approximate driving times for this hike: From Washington, D.C. - 45 minutes; from Fredericksburg, VA - 20 minutes; from Manassas, VA - 20 minutes
PLEASE NOTE WE MEET AT TURKEY RUN CENTER, NOT VISITOR CENTER. TURKEY RUN IS 15 MINUTES INTO PARK FROM ENTRY STATION.
"This may have just become my favorite local hike. It's a very pretty hike, following a creek for a good bit of the way. The path is narrow and rustic, but level enough that you can look around as you walk. No long uphills." - Tom- A Member of The Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group!
Roughly 100 miles inland from Virginia’s coast, a geologic boundary called the fall line marks a change in the landscape. Here, the sandy soil of Virginia’s coastal plain segues into the bedrock underlying the Piedmont. The effect is pronounced on rivers, where waterfalls and rapids form. Historically, these acted as barriers to ocean-faring vessels. Towns formed up and down the fall line to handle commerce between inland farmers and traders. Prince William Forest Park, a small national park straddling the fall line in Prince William County, is tied to this history through the tobacco farmers and miners who used the nearby port town of Dumfries to ship their goods. Today, the park still receives heavy use, but now hikers, cyclists, and nature lovers are drawn by the cascades, wildlife, rare plants, and historic ruins.
A dense and heavy canopy keeps the sun and rain out! An amazinging beautiful creek runs along entire length of South Valley Trail and hiker feedback says this makes this hike worth a drive from anywhere!
This is a fantastic transition hike for anyone looking to progress from easy level hiking to a more moderate level as there is just the right amount of elevation gain/change, but with no long hills.
This hike will be led at the pace of an average hikers, between 2.5 - 3.0mph.
Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Triangle, VA
Length: 6.8 total miles
Elevation Gain: 611 feet (Some hills, but none too steep or long)
Trail Type: Loop
Skill Level: Moderate 2.5mph pace
Duration: 3-4 hours
Trail Surface: A combination of dirt forest paths, dirt roads, and paved roads lead through hardwood forests and along streams to small cascades, rock outcrops, and waterfalls
Season: Year round; limited winter camping
Trailhead Elevation: 100 feet
Top Elevation: 300 feet
Local Maps: USGS Quantico, Joplin
Topo Map: Prince William Forest Park Topographic Map
Guide Book: Hiking Virginia (Burnham) Guide Book
Special Winter Gear Note: (Only When Conditions Are Icy/Snow)
Traction gear is a must in icy or snowy weather to hike in the winter with our group for safety and so we can hike all four seasons! The most dependable/reliable gear in our opinion is either Kahtoola Microspikes or STABILicers Originals( Stabilicer "Originals" and not the "lites" as too many "lites" have snapped while out on the trail) and YakTrax are highly discouraged. Traction gear/ice cleats come in handy for getting the mail or walking the dog, in addition to any other outdoor activity where there is ice involved! You can run on the ice with them on and many runners do just that!
We hike rain, snow, or shine! Click here for up to the minute weather information for the trailhead.
Here are some suggestions for what to wear and what not to wear for our hikes.
Baltimore Area Carpool
To carpool or caravan, people can arrange to meet a Savage Station. you should post that in the Comments section. Click here for directions to Savage Station.
If you can drive or want to carpool from another location, please post the location in the comment section below. For those who need a ride, reach out to the drivers. Make friends, and support the environment - by just offering a ride!
Directions to the Trailhead
Click here for directions to the trailhead.
Hike is at 11:00 a.m.
Carpool from Baltimore area is 9:30 a.m.
Park Entrance Fee
The fee is $5 per vehicle and is valid for seven consecutive days. You must drive to the Visitor Center to pay, just follow the signs.
Please remember we are a social hiking group that values fellowship and camaraderie and practice good hike etiquette. We take breaks as necessary and have at least one guide in the front in addition to a "sweeper" in the back which means that no hiker is left behind. If you get upset because someone has to rest at the top of a hill etc. then please find another group! We are very supportive, encouraging, and focus on safety while getting or staying fit on the trail and practicing leaving no trace.
A Leashed Fido is Welcome on This Hike
Please take the hike leaders number with you and enjoy the hike!