Washington, DC: South Fork Quantico Creek Loop

Go ahead: Bag work early and swing off the Beltway for a quick 4-mile hike or trail run through the rolling piedmont of Prince William Forest Park.
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Trail Facts

  • Distance: 6.1



Location: 38.5806694030762, -77.3927917480469

Pick up orange-blazed High Meadows Trail heading W. Footnote: In WWII, these forests were used as a training camp for spies


Location: 38.5810394287109, -77.395751953125

Hard L; drop down from ridge draped in white and red oak, and over two streams


Location: 38.5767402648926, -77.3989868164062

Cross wooden bridge in stream-lined hollow and climb over a mound sloping into South Fork Quantico Creek


Location: 38.5742416381836, -77.4018936157226

R onto white-blazed South Valley Trail; dense ferns on path


Location: 38.5738296508789, -77.4041519165039

Head up and away from stream on moderate ascent


Location: 38.5769271850586, -77.4089050292969

Deep cover of young beech and yellow poplar grow in damp creek soils. In 100 yds., cross large wood bridge built by the Sierra Club based on a Michelangelo design


Location: 38.5779991149902, -77.4102783203125

Waterfall rolls from inky-black Lake 5 over small dam; to W are fields and rustic houses of Happy land Cabin Camp 5 (reservable, some year-round); camp and dam built by CCC in '30s. Follow creek N past boulder piles


Location: 38.5851783752441, -77.4124984741211

Turn R onto Mawavi Rd. (gravel track) and ascend


Location: 38.5885200500488, -77.4066390991211

Turn R onto park's Scenic Rd. and wind along plateau


Location: 38.5860481262207, -77.3995513916016

Road curves S on head of thin ridge back to WPT 2; retrace route to car