Monday, July 11, 2011

Prince William Forest - A DC Hike Worth Taking

The adventure for this last weekend was a hike through Prince William Forest, a mere 30 minute* drive from our house. Being so close to DC, I wasn't expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised.

The hike was around 7 miles (though, Shira's GPS claimed 9 - not sure what's up with that), and covered a nice range of terrain. Much of the hike is along a picturesque creek, which means that water wasn't ever too far away should we need it.

There was also plenty of canopy cover, which meant that while it was a humid hike, it wasn't a scorcher. In fact, I accidentally left my sun hat a home, and even though we hiked for 7 miles, never actually needed it.

The hike was relatively kid friendly. Our little guy did the vast majority of it in our Kelty backpack. I was appreciative of the fact that while there were some steep uphills, none of them were long enough to bother me. And for the first time, our little one actually did some real hiking. We were passed by a bunch of trail runners, so he thought that was actually what he should be doing. Watching him emulate the runners as he made his way long the trail was absolutely precious.

It's true that there was no breath taking view, or awe inspiring waterfall. But, between the proximity to DC and how completely tucked away one feels, I'd say it was a winner.

We used Hiking Virginia by Bill Burnham, and found it did an impressive job of marking out the trail. Given that the book is a few years old now, it's amazing how well all the details matched up with what's there. And for the few differences present in the trail, there are enough additional details to more than make up for it.

As fun hikes in DC goes, this is one you should take.

*That's 30 minutes at 7am on a Sunday - nearly any other day or time, and with traffic you're talking a 45 minute to hour trip easily.

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