Muschette Trail Loop (Prince William Forest Park, VA)

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Muschette Trail, Prince William Forest Park, December 2016

The Muschette Trail is one of a pair of very short loop hikes that take off from the Pine Grove Picnic Area in Virginia’s Prince William Forest Park (the other is the wheelchair-accessible Piedmont Forest Trail). There’s not much to it – except an opportunity to stretch your legs and explore the area’s piedmont forest. It’s also the park’s only true mountain bike trail (all others are paved or graveled roads).

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Map of Muschette Trail loop, Prince William Forest Park; created using National Geographic Maps/AllTrails, alltrails.com (Check out the PDF version, interactive map, and MapMyHike track)

The hike

Start the 0.4-mile loop hike at the northern end of Pine Grove Picnic Area, situated just west of the Visitor Center. Here a multi-acre clearing unfolds before you, rimmed with a variety of deciduous trees. Take a left at the sign reading “South Orenda Road Connector.”

Plunging into the woods, stay straight on the connector trail, which drops sharply to a wooden fence meant to slow bikers. Continue through the small fence clearing, then stay right at the junction. (Note: Heading left connects with the Piedmont Forest Trail and provides access to an elevated pavilion overlooking a brushy ravine.)

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Connector trail to South Orenda Road

By now you are on the wide and graveled South Orenda Road, which bears north down a minor gully. Stay straight on the road for about 100 yards, then look for baby blue blazes on the right, marking the start of the Muschette Trail.

The Muschette Trail bobs and weaves in and out of minor depressions, gradually climbing around 50 feet in elevation over the course of 2/10 mile. At the hike’s ¼ mile mark, the north-bound trail rounds a corner and heads south, hugging a woody ridgeline. Before you know it, you’re back at the initial clearing; take a left and return to the picnic area.

Allot around 15-20 minutes for this short hike.

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Muschette Trail

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