The Piedmont Forest Trail is the only wheelchair-accessible hike in Virginia’s Prince William Forest Park and, with its numerous curves, looks something like an amoeba or an octopus on maps. Situated steps from the Visitor Center and Pine Grove Picnic Area, it is an easy and convenient walk in the hardwood forest for which the trail is named. Trail waysides offer information on the forest’s three layers: canopy, understory, and forest floor.
The Piedmont Forest Trail is situated about halfway up the road leading to the Pine Grove Picnic Area, just west of the Visitor Center and across the street from the “comfort station” in the wooded picnic area. Look for a sign with a large photo of a monarch butterfly; this is the trailhead. (Note: There are a handful of parking spots at the trailhead.)
The smooth trail, made of old tire material, begins by descending gently to the right, then left, and quickly splits in two. Head either way at the fork, though taking a right offers a slightly better option (steeper downhill, more gradual uphill). Walking in a counterclockwise direction, the trail crosses a small wooden bridge at 1/10 mile, then round a bend and head south, beginning a long boardwalk at 0.13 mile.
At 2/10 mile, the trail descends a hairpin turn and reaches another boardwalk and spacious sitting area, which overlooks a brushy ravine. (Note: Off to the right is the unpaved South Orenda Road.)
From here, the trail climbs gradually as it parallels the streambed to the right then rounds a series of back-and-forth bends, eventually reaching the initial trail fork. Take a right and climb the remaining steps back to the trailhead and parking area.
Allot between 15-30 minutes for this quick and easy walk.
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