Prince William Forest Park - Cycling

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About

Summary

Prince William Forest Park has 11 miles of paved roads and is ideal for both outdoor enthusiasts and wildlife watchers

Written by

Jason Devaney

Distance

21.0 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

29.5 miles

Difficulty

2 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

1 hours

1-2 hours.

Seasonality

All Seasons

Dog Friendly

Yes

Fees Permits

Yes

The park charges $5 for cars to enter, while riding a bike through the parks gates costs $3.

Review

Intro

Prince William Forest Park is like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow that starts in the nation's capital and ends about 30 miles south along the I-95 corridor. The park has 11 miles of paved roads that are perfect for a relaxing and enjoying day in the saddle. Wildlife is everywhere, so soft pedal your way around Scenic Drive and look for the more than 35 species of mammals and dozens of species of birds and other animals.

What Makes It Great

Prince William Forest Park isn't far from D.C., making it easily accessible if you live in or are staying in the area. The park as a whole contains more than 150 historic structures, such as cabins and bridges. Also, between 1942-1945, the Office of Strategic Services — an early form of the CIA — trained American spies in the park before sending them to Europe for World War II. Today, the park borders the U.S. Marine Corps Reservation in Quantico, Va.

The park's 11-mile Scenic Drive is mostly flat, gaining a few hundred feet in elevation. From the park's entrance in the southeast corner, the road travels four miles before hooking up with the 7.3-mile Scenic Drive loop that brings you around the park. Cars and bikes share the road, although car traffic is usually light.

The trees lining the road help block some of the summer heat. The road is curvy, however, so be sure to keep an eye up ahead while staying to the right.

Prince William Forest Park is a fantastic place to enjoy nature's wildlife. You may run into a deer or, on rare occasions, a black bear (yikes!). Keep that in mind — especially if you stop to rest or have something to eat at the picnic tables in parking lot E on the eastern side of the Scenic Drive loop. There are other picnic areas as well, including two near the park entrance.

Who is Going to Love It

Cyclists who want to ride around on relatively flat roads while enjoying what nature has to offer. One section of Scenic Drive has a dedicated bike lane, a good place for beginners to get comfortable on two wheels.

Serious cyclists also enjoy Prince William Forest Park for doing some speed training on the windy roads. But keep in mind, the speed limit on most parts of Scenic Drive is 25 MPH.

Wildlife enthusiasts with access to a bike — any kind of bike, really — will love what the park has to offer.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

From the north, take I-95 south to exit 150B. The entrance to the park is the second right. From the south, take I-95 to exit 150 and take a left off the ramp. The park is a quarter mile down the road.

The park charges $5 for cars to enter, while riding a bike through the parks gates costs $3. There are other passes available; visit nps.gov/prwi for more information.

Location

Prince William Forest Park - Cycling

VA,
38.585278, -77.379722

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