Curtis Memorial Park, VA Recon
When I do these recon hikes things most of the time go OK. Then again, sometimes there are 'opportunities'. Even though this 3.1 mile Orange Trail that I hiked today was fun, it did have it's opportunities.
After calling this park in March, 2020, I received a map in the mail from a very nice lady named Diane. She said that the Orange Trail was basically the trail for their Frisbee Golf Course. Right after I got the map, COVID-19 hit and I had to shelter in place. The order to shelter in place was relaxed on May 15, 2020 so I went to this park on May 19, 2020 to hike this trail.
The park is located in Hartwood, VA and is off of US17 between Falmouth and Goldvein, VA. There are about 5.5 miles of trails within this park. This Stafford County, VA park shares Lake Curtis with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Admission to this park was free. You need a day pass, hunting license, fishing license or boat registration to get into the VADGIF side. The pavillions, tennis court and pool were still closed due to COVID-19.
Now, I did not know that the Orange Trail within this park was signed such that you were supposed to hike it counter-clockwise. So I started hiking it clockwise and just looked at the signs pointing the other way. This worked for awhile. After about a mile the Blue Trail and the Orange Trail split. I missed the turn for the Orange Trail. I stayed on the Blue trail for another quarter mile until I hit the main road of the park. I then saw on the map that I missed the turnoff. I had to walk another quarter mile back and make a right turn.
The trail itself was dual track and was in good shape. There were nice, pristine woods, a few family cemeteries and a number of Frisbee Golf lanes. There were signs warning you to watch out for flying discs. Around mile 2 I again encountered a signing issue. The angle that the sign for the Orange Trail was facing made it look like I had to take a trail to the left and south. I took it and a half mile later, had to turn around again because it was not correct. What was really frustrating was that there were faint orange blazes on a few of the trees along this stretch. So I initially thought that I was on the correct trail. I walked a half mile back to the previous intersection, turned left and was back on the Orange Trail.
I hiked another half mile and got back to the main road, which was called Jesse Curtis Lane. At this point I had hiked over two hours. It was looking like rain. And since I had not hiked much since March, 2020, I was tired. So I hiked the main road back to my vehicle and called it a day. I may come back at a later date and hike the roughly three quarters of a mile northern loop of this trail. I emailed the park office and offered my pros and cons as well as suggestions for improvements to this trail. I think that when the hiking group does this one, we will do it counterclockwise and start from the parking lot as opposed to the start and stop points that are on the main road with no place to park close by.
So I had a nice hike. There is a winery called Hartwood Winery just down the street from Curtis Memorial Park. And I discovered that one can make it from Manassas, VA to this park if they drive Aden RD from Independent Hill, VA; take a left onto Fleetwood; a left onto Brent Town, a right onto VA612 which initially is Aquia RD for about 500 feet, left on Tackets Mill for about 2 miles, right on Heflin for about 2 miles. Then, take a right onto Poplar and then an immediate left onto Hartwood, which remains VA612. Travel time is only about 40 minutes as opposed to 1 to 1.5 hours traveling VA28 to US17 from Manassas, VA.
Curtis Memorial Park, VA Trail Map