In my search to find free places to boondock and just enjoy the outdoors I came across Wildlife Management Areas! The East coast doean’t even come close to the BLM lands out West so this is definitely a challenge.
WMAs are public lands geared more towards hiking, hunting and fishing but some allow primitive camping and that’s what I’m after. Today’s adventure was strictly a nature hike. There is no camping allowed but there are some beautiful, peaceful woods. As of January 1, 2012 there is a $4/day fee or free access with certain permits including a freshwater fishing license which I have.
My main resource right now for finding free places to go is http://freecampsites.net/. They list all kinds of places from state lands to private land to parking lots!
The website has a lot but not all of the details from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Merrimac Farm website. Additionally, users can star rate and comment on an area.
I started at the North parking lot where I hiked a short trail to a gravel/grass road down to a rather large pond with a hunter’s shack at the bottom end. The walk was nice but lots of farm land off to the side and not extremely secluded. I don’t think I followed the whole road and turned around after the pond.
Then I drove down to the Cedar Run entrance and walked to the Stone House and followed the trail to the left. The trail head had an olde timey refrigerator that just looked like a stone structure with water running through. Have to lookup exactly how this kept items cooler. The first jaunt was over platforms mostly covering the marshy areas. After crossing a platform about 10 feet across some water I turned left and was met with a creek on the left in a ravine and deep green grass around that looked almost like another world.
A little farther down I ran into the river and the trail is sorta near the bank. Sometimes I went off the trail to see the water and eventually ran into a bench overlooking the river. The trail winds through the woods with no sounds of traffic…so peaceful!! The trail loops back to the right and up through a marsh where Troop 1195 was rebuilding the walkways so I didn’t take any more pictures. After the platform walkways there are grass roads heading back out towards the Stone House. Along those roads is an old abandoned red barn!
Unfortunately, there is no primitive camping allowed without permission so this is a day hike only kinda place. The North trail looks big on hunting and fishing can be done on either trail I guess.
It took a couple hours to walk both trails and was an awesome, peaceful, relaxing place! I’d recommend the Cedar Run Stone House trail for an hour+ hike of relaxing nature sounds! Just make sure it’s been dry unless you want to slip-and-slide in some places!
Found some more information on this location:
Prince William Conservation Alliance
The Occoquan River runs by the property