Mary Bird Branch Trail, Little Run Loop–Prince William Forest Park

June 8, 2012

2012-05-29 17.19.01

Distance: Mary Bird Branch –0.5 mile one way, Little Run Loop 0.6 loop. Total -1.7 mile loop

Difficulty: Mary Bird Branch –Easy, Little Run Loop –Easy to Moderate

The Mary Bird Branch Trail and Little Run Loop, together, form a nice loop through the middle section of Prince William Forest.  The Mary Bird Branch begins across the street from Parking Lot “E”. The trail takes hikers through a thick forest filled with active wildlife. While hiking, we spooked 6 individual doe white tails in this section of the hike.

2012-05-29 17.08.082012-05-29 17.08.182012-05-29 17.09.402012-05-29 17.17.08

As the trail slowly descends, it reaches a very moist valley covered with lush green ferns in the spring.

2012-05-29 17.17.402012-05-29 17.18.252012-05-29 17.18.332012-05-29 17.20.152012-05-29 17.27.572012-05-29 17.30.052012-05-29 17.30.17


The trail then crosses over Mary Bird Branch Creek (pictured above) before descending up a small hill and intersecting with the gravel bike path, Old Blacktop Road just behind the Turkey Run Education Center.

2012-05-29 17.22.41

Take a right along the gravel road for approximately one hundred yards, and the yellow blazed Little Run Loop Trail is on the left.

2012-05-29 17.38.532012-05-29 17.41.23

The loop trail confusingly intersections with High Meadows Trail and has connections to Taylor’s Farm Road, but concrete sign posts do provide clear directions on their metal bands.

To complete the loop and return back to Mary Bird Branch and the parking area, I recommend making a right at the first loop intersection with High Meadows.

From here, the trail will begin a slight climb through open forests with more wildlife, such as deer.

Once atop the hill, watch for the left leg of the trail to branch off and then begin a descent down to a small creek side in a small ridge valley.

2012-05-29 17.41.322012-05-29 17.42.182012-05-29 17.42.412012-05-29 17.42.47

Then trail then continues to the right along the creek bank before making a left up and along a steep hillside.

2012-05-29 17.44.532012-05-29 17.46.27

The trail loop ends behind the other side of the Turkey Ridge Education Center. 2012-05-29 17.49.05

To get back to Mary Bird Branch, walk through the two buildings opening, across the parking lot, and make a left back onto Old Blacktop Road. Mary Bird Branch will be on the right side of the road just a few hundred feet down. Follow Mary Bird Branch back to Parking lot “E”.



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 first road on left, Scenic Loop Road

3. Mary Bird Branch is located across the street and up 50 feet or less from Parking Lot “E”.


Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *