From Washington, D.C., and points north, take I-95 south to exit 150-B toward VA Route 619/Joplin Road. The park entrance is the second right. The Telegraph Picnic Area is located behind the visitor center, approximately 1.5 miles from the park entrance. From Fredericksburg, Virginia, and points south, take I-95 north to exit 150 toward VA Route 619/Joplin Road. Turn left at the bottom of the exit ramp and continue on VA Route 619 West approximately 1/4 mile to the park entrance. Washington Dulles International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport are approximately a 45 minute drive from Prince William Forest Park. Baltimore/Washington International Airport and Richmond International Airport are 90 minutes away. There is no bus service near the park. Local commuter buses may be available near the park via the PRTC system. Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express services are available in nearby Quantico, Virginia, approximately 5 miles from the park entrance. There is no public transportation directly to the park.
BIKING, HIKING, PICNICKING, VISITOR CENTER, WILDLIFE VIEWING
Telegraph Picnic Pavilion is a covered pavilion with twelve picnic tables located in Prince William Forest Park, 35 miles southwest of Washington, D.C. The park’s land was set aside during the Great Depression, and in 1935 the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) began restoring the previously over-farmed acreage, converting it to recreational lands for public use. The CCC built trails, dams and cabins, making the park a wonderful place for recreation and relaxation.
The park offers many recreational activities, including hiking, biking, orienteering and fishing. Hikers enjoy exploring the park’s 37 miles of foot trails. The South Valley, Oak Ridge and Farms to Forest Trails all begin at the campground entrance. Bicyclists will find 21 miles of paved roads within the park, including the 12-mile Scenic Drive. Little traffic and a 25 m.p.h. speed limit make this a popular biking spot. A 3-mile, family-friendly paved bike lane leads to the campground. Mountain biking is also available on 10 miles of gravel fire roads. The park boasts 30 orienteering courses with picturesque settings. Orienteering is a 19th century Scandinavian sport primarily used as military training. The courses were developed in 1972 and continue to provide hours of entertainment and exploration for park visitors. Approximately 18 miles of streams and two small lakes are open to the public for fishing. The water quality of Quantico Creek supports numerous fish species and other aquatic life. The most common fish species are bluegill, pumpkinseed, largemouth bass and channel catfish.
The Telegraph Picnic Pavilion is a thirty foot by twenty foot, roof-covered pavilion with twelve picnic tables (six of them wheelchair accessible), six cooking grills and electric outlets. The pavilion can accommodate 30-40 people. It is adjacent to a comfort station with food-service sinks and flush toilets, and there is wheelchair access to the pavilion from the picnic area’s 73 parking spaces. There are approximately twenty additional picnic tables scattered throughout the adjoining woods of Telegraph Picnic Area, most with grills. A short path leads to spacious William’s Ballfield (available first-come, first-serve), which is suitable for softball, Frisbee or other activities. The ballfield has a backstop and softball field, posts for a volleyball net, and horseshoe pits. Recreation equipment including balls, bases and horseshoes can be signed out at the visitor center during business hours. Please note, your reservation is for the picnic pavilion only; the restroom, adjacent picnic tables, and ballfield can be used by other visitors.
Prince William Forest Park preserves approximately 15,000 acres of Piedmont forest covering a major portion of the Quantico Creek watershed. The park represents one of the largest parcels of undeveloped land in the area and is the third largest unit of the National Park System in Virginia. The area is the largest example of a Piedmont forest ecosystem in the National Park System, makes it a significant natural resource. Various geologic outcroppings, winding creeks, gentle rolling slops and man-made lakes make wonderful destinations for any venturing visitor. The park is home to 38 species of mammals, 24 species of amphibians, 27 species of reptiles, more than 100 species of birds, 23 species of fish and an unknown number of invertebrates. More than 700 plant species exist in Prince William Forest Park. From the smallest wildflower to the tallest tree, each species has a special role to play in this forest ecosystem. From tree bark in winter, wildflowers in spring, canopy cover in summer and autumn colors in fall, Prince William Forest Park offers beautiful scenery year-round.
Prince William Forest Park is centrally located, with easy access to all of the attractions the Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., area have to offer. From the park entrance, the National Museum of the Marine Corps and the main gate of the United States Marine Corps Base Quantico are just a mile away. The park is located directly between historic Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park and Manassas National Battlefield Park.