Quantico Cascades Trail – Prince William Forest

June 6, 2012
By

 

Quantico Cascades Trail at Prince William Forest

Distance: 0.8 miles one way with short lollipop loop on North Valley Trail

Difficulty: Easy to moderate (short steep section during lollipop loop.

The Quantico Cascades Trail is a short, somewhat easy hike down to Quantico Creek.

Quantico Cascades Trail at Prince William ForestQuantico Cascades Trail at Prince William ForestQuantico Cascades Trail at Prince William ForestQuantico Cascades Trail at Prince William Forest

The upper ridge of the trail (providers overlook in the winter) denotes with signage that this section of the forest is where the Quantico Creek’s elevation changes rapidly enough to make it no longer navigable by boat. This change is elevation is the cause of the cascades as well.

The trailhead begins in a grassy picnic area near Parking Lot “E”. From the end of this field, a short, narrow section of trail connect with the Lake One Bicycle Path. After taking a left, and travelling a few hundred yards, the trail once again picks up on the right.

The turning point is indicated with a concrete post with a metal band at the top. While traveling along the trail, hikers will also notice several geology trail signs providing some information on the formation of the ridge and valleys of Prince William Forest.  After traveling through 10 to 15 minutes, be sure to stay straight on the trail, hikers will reach the top of the aforementioned ridge.

One may notice the sound of thundering falls. Unfortunately, these falls can only vagugely be seen from the ridge top. The sound is coming from a dam blocking the lake at the end of Lake One Road.

We asked the ranger if there was a way to view these falls, and she suggested that many bushwhacked up the creekside below.

Quantico Cascades Trail at Prince William ForestQuantico Cascades Trail at Prince William Forest

Taking a right from the top of the ridge, the trail winds down a small switch back to the trail’s namesake cascades and Quantico Creek. After hearing the roar of the bigger falls, these cascades, while picturesque, are a little disappointing.

Quantico Cascades Trail at Prince William Forest2012-05-22 18.19.08

At the bend in the creek, where the cascades are really forming, one can just make out where others may have attempted bushwhacking back to the left along the creek. At the time we visited, there was significant growth and we were not prepared to attempt that hike.Quantico Cascades Trail at Prince William ForestQuantico Cascades Trail at Prince William Forest

Instead, we turned right and followed the actual trail along Quantico Creek to its intersection with North Valley Trail. At this intersection, North Valley takes one direction straight along the creek bank, and takes another as it joins up with Quantico Cascades Trail heading up the short, steep hillside back to the ridge top. From here, hikers return back down their original path towards Parking Lot “E” and Lake One Road.

Quantico Cascades Trail at Prince William ForestQuantico Cascades Trail at Prince William ForestQuantico Cascades Trail at Prince William ForestQuantico Cascades Trail at Prince William Forest

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 first road on left, Scenic Loop Road

3. Quantico Cascades Trail is located on the right, backside of the grassy field in front of Parking Lot “E”.

Share

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

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