Looking for some peace and quiet? Want to get back to nature, listen to the sounds of the nocturnal world, or simplify your life? Then come experience primitive camping at Prince William Forest Park’s Chopawamsic Backcountry Area. Chopawamsic (chop-uh-WAHM-zik), Algonquian for “small, divided river flats”, consists of about 400 acres of backcountry with a wilderness-like feel in a remote area of Prince William Forest Park. Within this tract of land, there are eight designated hike in campsites available. Campsites are accessible from the two-mile loop trail. Camping is limited to four people or one family unit per site in the Chopawamsic Backcountry Area. Chopawamsic is not designed for group camping, which is available at Turkey Run Ridge Group Campground. Breckenridge Reservoir is accessible by trail from the Chopawamsic Backcountry Area for fishing.
This primitive backcountry camping area is open year-round barring inclement weather. There are 8 hike in campsite spots located along a 2 mile loop trail. Each spot contains a flat area for pitching a tent and a wooden post with the site number and is located a short distance off of the loop trail. There is a parking area at the start of the loop trail that has one vault toilet. Everything you carry with you when hiking to the sites must be carried out with you when you leave.
The vault toilet by the loop trail parking lot is the only toilet facilities in the backcountry area. Please use 'Leave No Trace" practices and dispose of human waste no less than 200 feet from a water source and cover all waste with soil and leaf matter. Please pack out any toilet paper and other litter.
Open fires such as campfires are strictly prohibited. All cooking must be done on camp stoves.
There are no trash cans at Chopawamsic. Please pack out what you packed in.
Pets are prohibited in the Chopawamsic Backcountry Area to preserve a wilder experience, without the impact of domesticated animals on wildlife viewing and the natural soundscape.
Tents must be located within twenty feet of the wooden campsite post marker.
Maximum stay is seven consecutive days and 14 days in one calendar year.
Camping is limited to four people or one family unit per site in the Chopawamsic Backcountry area. Chopawamsic is not designed for group camping, which is available at Turkey Run Ridge Group Campground.
Trenching, leveling, or digging is not permitted in any campsite. Bringing straw, hay, pine boughs, or any vegetative materials to any campsite is prohibited.
Ropes, cotheslines, tent lines, and nails are not to be attached to trees or other vegetation. Hammock camping is permitted with 1 1/2 inch wide minimum staps on trees with a diameter of 6 inches or more.
The following are prohibited in the backcountry: fireworks, swimming, use of power tools, hunting and trapping, and any weapon (except firearms in accordance with Virginia laws).
Campground permits may not be obtained by persons under 18 year of age.
This is only a guide and is not all inclusive. Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations and Superintendent's Compendium apply to the park. For further information, please contact the park's visitor center at 703-221-7181 or see the park website at https://www.nps.gov/prwi/planyourvisit/backcountrycamping.htm
Chopawamsic Backcountry Area is located in Prince William Forest Park, which preserves approximately 15,000 acres of Piedmont forest covering a major portion of the Quantico Creek watershed. The park represents one of the largest parcels of undeveloped land in the area and is the third largest unit of the National Park System in Virginia. The area is the largest example of a Piedmont forest ecosystem in the National Park Service, making it a significant natural resource.
Various geological outcroppings, winding creeks, gently rolling slopes and man-made lakes make wonderful destinations for any adventurous visitor.
The park is home to 46 species of mammals, 22 species of amphibians, 25 species of reptiles, more than 129 species of birds, 26 species of fish and an unknown number of invertebrates.
More than 900 plant species exist in Prince William Forest Park. From the smallest wildflower to the tallest tree, each species has a special role to play in this forest ecosystem. From tree bark in winter, wildflowers in spring, canopy cover in summer and autumn colors in fall, Prince William Forest Park offers beautiful scenery year-round.
Prince William Forest Park is centrally located, with easy access to all of the attractions the Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., area have to offer. From the park entrance, the National Museum of the Marine Corps and the main gate of the United States Marine Corps Base Quantico are just a mile away.
The park is located directly between historic Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park and Manassas National Battlefield Park.
Prince William Forest Park offers many recreational activities, including hiking and fishing. Hikers enjoy exploring the park's 37 miles of foot trails. Since Chopawamsice Backcountry Area is a little remote, campers may access the rest of the park by driving to the park entrance and parking at any of the trailheads along the Scenic Drive.
Chopawamsic Creek and Breckenridge Reservoir are open to the public for fishing. To access the reservior, visitors can hike down Breckenridge Road to Lykes Lane. The most common fish species are bluegill, pumpkinseed, largemouth bass and channel catfish.
18100 Park Headquarters Rd. Triangle VA 22172
For campground inquiries, please call: 703-221-7181
From the park entrance, follow Rt. 619 or Joplin Road for around 2 miles past the American Legion sign. Almost immediately after you pass mile marker 22, the entrance to the backcountry area is the first left at the top of a slight hill. Do not follow GPS applications to Chopawamsic Backcountry Area as they will sometimes take you onto military roads that are not public access.
To get to the main park entrance:
From Washington, D.C., and points north, take I-95 south to exit 150-B toward VA Route 619/Joplin Road. The park entrance is the second right, continue up the road 2 miles to the gravel parking area for the Chopawamsic Backcountry Area on the left near mile marker 22.
From Fredericksburg, Virginia, and points south, take I-95 north to exit 150 toward VA Route 619/Joplin Road. Turn left at the bottom of the exit ramp and continue on VA Route 619 West approximately 1/4 mile to the park entrance.
Washington Dulles International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport are approximately 45 minutes drive-time from Prince William Forest Park. Baltimore/Washington International Airport and Richmond International Airport are 90 minutes away.
There is no bus service near the park. Local commuter buses may be available near the park via the PRTC system. Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express services are available in nearby Quantico, Virginia, approximately 5 miles from the park entrance. There is no public transportation directly to the park.