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Dumfries, Virginia, United States

Pyrite Mine Loop - Prince William Forest Park

Ruins, waterfalls, deers + much more!

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    This guide contains photos
 (5 votes, 2 reviews)
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 7.6 miles / 12.2 km
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly • Dog Friendly
 
Overview: Come explore the Pyrite mine ruins!

..and catch some terrific waterfalls, wildlife, and a good hike.

Not for hiking? Put on the bathing suite and bring an innertube and float away on the river (nice and slow).

The trail is approximately 8 miles, it is rated moderate for the length.

The trail starts out with small steep sections, and plenty of bridged water crossings. The trail gets muddy after rains, so bring a hiking stick as necessary, and bug spray. Most of the hike is along a river or stream.

Along the Pyrite mine section of the trail, you can see and explore ruins with interpretive signs.

At the Pyrite mine overlook boardwalk, you can take the GPS route (for extra exploring and more views to an actual mine piling and overlook) or stay on the boardwalk until you meetup with the GPS data detour at the next bridge. The GPS data detour crosses the stream (possible to get a little wet) and goes along the area where the strip mine was, now a marshy area. There is a broken trail there that takes you to the mine piling on a hill where you can get a great panorama photo of the entire mine location. There is no danger from ruins or artifacts here, its all open fields and grassy areas.

Meeting up with the next bridge, we find the majority of the ruins to explore.

The next leg takes us up along the river for the prime wildlife viewing spot, with an everyday deertrail running through. To the right we have plenty of unique waterfalls.

Turning back towards the forest, we hike through beaver areas where small tributaries have formed.

Going back along the trail to our starting point, we have unique water views and general trail flatness.

This hike is one of the best and most well-rounded in the area... something for everyone.

Pack a lunch and have it on the rocks by the waterfalls (approximately halfway).

Do NOT take any artifacts, I found an old shard of a plate in the ruins areas past the bridge.


Tips:

  • pack a lunch to have at the waterfall area halfway on the rocks
  • bring bugspray and a hiking stick, if rain recently then its muddy
  • bathing suit and tubing!

Points of Interest

Parking
map

parking lot by picnic area

trailhead begins at circle of parking lot at picnic area.

stop in the ranger station for a trailmap!
Viewpoint
map

trailview

trailview in april after a fresh rain!

the trails are in great condition, however after a rain there are steep sections of mud, suggest a hiking stick.
Water
map

stream bridge

cross the bridge and goto the right to do this one counter clockwise.

(the pyrite mine is on the right)
Water
map

small bridges

more small bridges
Water
map

great water views and swimming

great water views, and yes you can go tubing or swimming here!

the stream is very slow
Viewpoint
map

bridge

big bridge over the stream
Viewpoint
map

a little steeper here

a little steeper here, for small kids a muddy trail is bad.

so bring hiking sticks.
Viewpoint
map

flat high road

flat high road before you reach the boardwalk area overlooking pyrite mine on the left
Viewpoint
map

boardwalk area overlooking pyrite mine

boardwalk area overlooking pyrite mine

you can continue on boardwalk here and meet up with the GPS track at the next bridge that crosses over the water (1/4 mile)

or you can follow the GPS tracks OVER the stream starting at the pyrite mine information sign on the boardwalk. IT GETS MUDDY crossing the river!! The marsh area on the other side is muddy too.

Theres a lookout piling up on the side of the hill to stand on and take a picture. You can still see attachment bolts in the piling (looks like a square rock).

The GPS data goes over the river, along a marsh trail which is over grown on the other side. It then joins up at the next bridge in 1/4 mile (with the boardwalk).
Viewpoint
map

pyrite mine information sign and stream crossing

boardwalk area overlooking pyrite mine

you can continue on boardwalk here and meet up with the GPS track at the next bridge that crosses over the water (1/4 mile)

or you can follow the GPS tracks OVER the stream starting at the pyrite mine information sign on the boardwalk. IT GETS MUDDY crossing the river!! The marsh area on the other side is muddy too.

Theres a lookout piling up on the side of the hill to stand on and take a picture. You can still see attachment bolts in the piling (looks like a square rock).

The GPS data goes over the river, along a marsh trail which is over grown on the other side. It then joins up at the next bridge in 1/4 mile (with the boardwalk).
Building
map

Pyrite mine piling and overlook

ok so you have crossed the stream and gone up the hill to the square looking rock on top.

thats the piling! youll see two anchor bolts in the top of it.

great place to take a panoramic picure here.

this whole area had the flumes of the mining operation covering the river (now open fields)
Viewpoint
map

steep area through the woods

if not traveling on the boardwalk route, follow the river on this side of it through the forest and youll meet up at the bridge down the river.

You really dont have to follow the GPS data at this point, any line through it will do, and its not dense forest.

There are several broken paths through at this point for service reasons.

be careful of steep routes. Leaves collect and will slide you all the way down.
Building
map

bridge meets boardwalk and GPS route

meetup at the bridge both the boardwalk and the GPS route.

Take the trail to the right, but 1st checkout the ruins at the bridgehead.
Building
map

more ruins of the pyrite mine

more ruins here of the pyrite mine
Water
map

waterfalls

great waterfalls here!

very muddy going down to them near the small bridge crossing.
Viewpoint
map

deer crossing!

this is a very common area for deers.

3 crossed right in front of me so fast, they almost ran me over!!!

you will see a natural ridgeline where the deers cross on your left.

I know they cross here everyday going to the watersource on the right.

dont get run over!

i was not fast enough with the camera.
Water
map

beavers

lookout for beavers!
Viewpoint
map

a little steep stretch then flat

gets a little steeper here, we head back into the brush
Junction
map

road crossing

small forest road crossing

turn left on the road (counter clockwise loop) and go down until you see the trail on the right.
Viewpoint
map

flat again

flat again, check for beavers on the tributary
Information
map

more beavers

watch for more beavers on the tributary that runs through here!
Information
map

turn left on the road

turn left on the road, keep going past the ranger station until you see the road crossing markings (in white) thats where the next trail junction is.
Junction
map

trail junction for turkey run

trail junction for turkey run

turn left here at the crosswalk ( in white on road )
Junction
map

road crossing

road crossing
Water
map

trail views - small waterfall

trail views and small waterfall
Viewpoint
map

bridge

bridge
Pictures in this guide taken by: indiana_jones
Reviews
dsw3700
Got confused about which trails to take when I got to Prince William Forest Park and ended up hiking a different route, but I definitely plan to go back. This is a great park for hiking -- trails are well marked and well maintained. As recommended, get the trail map when you enter the park. To do this hike, from the Pine Grove picnic area, take Laurel Trail Loop to the South Valley Trail. At the pyrite mine, you'll change to the North Valley Trail. At the waterfalls, take the Quantico Cascades Trail. At Lake One Rd, switch to Mary Bird Branch Trail, and at the Ranger Station, switch to the Turkey Run Ridge Trail. Go left at the T-intersection and the trail will take you to N. Orenda Rd. Then, you're back at the South Valley Trail and the Laurel Trail Loop. Trail blazes are easy to follow and waist-high concrete pillars mark important junctions. This park really is a gem! Well worth a visit (take exit 150B off I95).
Visited on Apr 05, 2013

by dsw3700 on Apr 07, 2013
indiana_jones
5 stars for an everything hike! waterfalls, deers that run you over, mine ruins, great scenery, good trail length!
Visited on Apr 23, 2011

by indiana_jones on Apr 27, 2011

Pyrite Mine Loop - Prince William Forest Park Trail Map


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About the Author

indiana_jones
indiana_jones
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2 year Iraq vet / volunteer / electrical engineer / mechanic / explorer father / ex-husband / friend. my...

Pyrite Mine Loop - Prince William Forest Park 3 Day Forecast

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