Cabin Branch Pyrite Mine Trail, Pyrite Mine Road – Prince William Forest

June 5, 2012
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Distance: Approximately 2.1 mile loop

Difficulty: Easy

Beginning on Pyrite Mine Road, a gravel bike trail, hikers will travel for about 10 minutes before reaching the beginning of the Cabin Branch Pyrite Mine Trail on the left. Look for the concrete post with a small metal band containing directional arrows on it.

 

Along this trail, hikers will initially begin to see foundations of parts of the Mining Camps where workers dynamited in search of Pyrite.  After around 10 minutes, the trail intersections with the North Valley Trail and Quantico Creek.

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After crossing over the footbridge, hikers should take a right along the board walk that parallels the creek. As one walks, look across the creek for areas of barren and near-barren hillside. These locations were once the main site of the Pyrite Mining operations. While the mine’s operations can no longer be seen here, there effects, large section of “missing” forest are clear.

Also, we were told this section of the creek has also been the site of recent beaver activity, though we were unable to see any.

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At the end of the boardwalk, another footbridge crosses back over the creek just at the border of the National Forest. There are several very serious looking “No Trespassing” signs to the left of the trail, and just at the bend before the footbridge. I’d suggest paying heed to those warnings.

Once back over the footbridge, the trail becomes the gravel Pyrite Mine Road again. After one steep, short ascent the trail flattens back out and leads to the main road.

 

Directions:

From I-95:

1. Take exit 150-B. The Prince William National Forest is the second right on Joplin Road.

2. After entering park, take the first road on the left, Scenic Loop. Nearest parking for the trail can be found at Parking Lot “D”.

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