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Laurel Hill Park

About

Laurel Hill Park has open spaces, historical buildings, modern facilities and trails. The equestrian facilities are located on the site of the old Lorton Reformatory, on land that was once a dairy farm for the prison. The area is a mix of historical fabric and modern development. The Master Plan for the park calls for  possible additional equestrian facilities as funding is available.

There is no staff onsite. Staffing for Laurel Hill Park for equestrian matters is handled by the Equestrian and Maintenance Manager at Frying Pan Farm Park (703-437-9101) and FCPA's Area Maintenance staff (703-324-8594). Other park oversight is handled by dedicated volunteer groups such as Fairfax4Horses and Clifton Horse Society.

Help preserve the equestrian heritage of Fairfax County and provide a unique recreational activity for all county residents.

  • Beginner through advanced riding lessons
  • Summer camps
  • At-risk youth programs
  • Therapeutic riding
  • George Mason University Equestrian Team
  • Cooperative activities with the Lorton Arts Center
  • 4-H and Scouts Programs

Facilities

Laurel Hill's equestrian facilities include a 200' x 250' multi-use, outdoor riding ring with all-weather footing, stadium jumps and dressage markers. Ring equipment is maintained by Fairfax4Horses and the Park Authority. It is open for public use. The riding ring sits next to a network of multi-use trails than run for more than 5½ miles. The trails are open to horses, bicycles and pedestrians. The parking lot is gravel except for two paved ADA spaces.

Fees, Reservations, & Permits

There is no cost for daily use. Reservations for daily use are not required. Laurel Hill equestrian facilities are open dawn to dusk except for regularly scheduled maintenance, private rentals, horse shows, or inclement weather conditions.  

The facilities are available for private lessons, horse schooling, riding practice and other fee-based activities by permit only.

Permit Application

Payment is due by the date on the permit.

History

Laurel Hill was the site of a prison commissioned by Theodore Roosevelt for the District of Columbia as a city jail and model for a Progressive-Era correctional facility.  Over the years, as Lorton Prison grew to accommodate over 8,000 inmates and practices within the field of corrections changed, the appearance of the facility changed as well.  By the mid-1980s, the Lorton complex consisted of four separate prisons and over a million square feet of space for male and female offenders. Today, amidst all the changes that have taken place, the colonial-style courtyards and arcades built by Lorton inmates from handmade bricks commemorate a rich and diverse history that has inspired the planning for the new park.

Planning for Laurel Hill Park began several years ago for an equestrian facility at the former Lorton Prison site presently owned by the Fairfax County Park Authority. With its scenic vistas, access to trails, and history of agriculture and animal husbandry, Laurel Hill Park offers the perfect location for an Equestrian Center. The facility will be developed where the old Prison Dairy was located.

Planning News

Planning for the Laurel Hill Park is continuing in several different directions. Significant progress is being made toward development of new features at Laurel Hill Park. The Fairfax County Park Authority and the Fairfax County Park Foundation signed an agreement to cooperate with Fairfax4Horses to develop plans for a new Equestrian Center at the former Dairy Farm site. Fairfax4Horses is currently conducting a fund raising campaign and providing their expertise in the facility planning efforts.