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New Trails at Doves Landing Park, Manassas, VA

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On Wednesday, June 23, 2021 it was a beautiful day outside. Since I hadn't been to Doves Landing Park in Manassas, VA for awhile, I thought that I would go there and hike some of the recently added trails.

I got to Doves Landing Park in Manassas, VA around 11:00 AM. The goal was to hike the recently expanded orange trail in that park. Prince William County, VA Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism aquired

an additional 75 acres for this park

in 2020 and expanded the orange trail into this new area. So I started off in a counter clockwise direction along the orange trail within this park.

First of all, I commend PWCPRT for taking the initiative to expand this park. They also placed a number of directional signs in the park and updated the map on the kiosk at the entrance. Secondly, I would like to commend Sharon and John A for the wonderful job of volunteering to help maintain this park. The county is still in charge of a number of items here. But Sharon and John keep the trails looking good and report any issues.

OK, I got the attaboys out of the way. I started this counter clockwise loop and went west for a mile or so, south for about a quarter mile or so, east for about a mile, north for about a mile and west again for about a half mile. The trail was wide and well blazed until I got to the confluence of Broad Run and Cedar Run. The orange trail used to end here. But now it turned east and would follow along the banks of the Occoquan River for about a mile.

When this trail was initially blazed two or three years ago volunteers used oil based paint to paint the blazes on this trail. They also scrapped the bark where the blazes would go and used a template so that the blazes would be uniform. As soon as I got on the area along the Occoquan River, the blazes were faded and not uniform. They were painted with water based enamel and looked worse than the old blazes after only a year. The correct way to blaze a trail is

Here.

It looked like the county and the HOA that controlled this land came to an agreement to let hikers hike along the banks of the Occoquan River. At least I hope that they did. The trail didn't look bad for the first half mile or so. I noticed a number of high water trails that would branch off to the left and then come back into the main trail about fifty feet or so down the trail.

Then came the first of the two times that I got lost on this trail. It was about half way across the southernmost west to east section of this trail. There was a stream crossing. It wasn't bad but there were some confusing things at this intersection. There was an orange blaze right before the stream crossing but nothing warning you of a right turn nor any blazes going the opposite way. There was also a faint trail going north along the west side of this creek. It went about two hundred feet north, crossed the dry creekbed and just petered out. This is the way that I took. Thank God for Google Maps. It pointed me back to the Occoquan River and back to the orange trail. I had crossed the creek bed and had to bushwhack back to the orange trail.

The trail was getting narrower now. I guess that some people gave up and just hiked back the way that they came in. So I kept going east on the orange trail. Because of the foliage I did not see the intersection with the pink trail. The trail would get very narrow now in spots as there was no tree canopy and the foliage would just grow like crazy.

I finally reached the power line right of way that I would be returning on going north. The grass along this ROW was very tall. I'm glad that I wore long pants today. There was some signage here. Thanks, PWCPRT. Blazing was far and few between and very faded. At a point where the powerline ROW turned slightly left, the orange trail made an abrupt left.

This section of trail had a lot of water on it. One had to walk along the edges of the trail as the entire trail bed was water logged for long sections. Then came the second time that I got lost.

The trail went west for about a quarter mile, then was supposed to turn abrupt left and basically backtrack for a few hundred feet. However, when I got to this intersection, there were no orange blazes. There were some streamers on trees on both sides of the trail. What were they supposed to mean? So I kept walking on the trail and past that intersection. I could see the ROW to the right coming closer and closer. I thought that the abrupt left would be coming up soon. It never did. I again intersected with the ROW.

What do I do now? Do I backtrack a quarter mile to that trail with the streamers? How do I know that is the correct trail? And it seemed to backtrack before it turned west and got to the entrance trail. So when I got to the ROW again, I just walked it out to to the road.

I was worried about someone giving me a rough time about walking what looked like a driveway out to where Doves LA became Wild Acres Way. But no one bothered me. So I turned left and walked about a mile along Doves LA and back to my vehicle parked within the Doves Landing park lot.

This was an interesting hike. The new area needs a lot of work as far as the trail bed itself and blazing. And you may even be able to launch a canoe from this new area one of these days. An adventure it was. And I survived it.

Mike C


Map of where I hiked
   Map of where I hiked.
   By Mike Calabrese
Directions to parking lot
   Directions to parking lot
   By Mike Calabrese
Along the orange trail
   Along the Orange Trail.
   By Mike Calabrese
Sloppy blaze on new section
   Sloppy blaze on new section
   By Mike Calabrese
Blowdown near confluence
   Blowdown near confluence.
   By Mike Calabrese


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