Chopawamsic Backcountry Camping Permits

Prince William Forest Park

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.

Need to Know

Natural Features

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.

Nearby Attractions

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.

Contact Information


18100 Park Headquarters Rd. Triangle VA 22172

Phone Number

For campground inquiries, please call: 703-221-7181

Rental Options

Learn more about gear rental options for your trip

Driving Directions

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.

Available Campsites

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