The park and most of the surrounding land was originally part of the Northern Neck Proprietary. This tract was also known as the Fairfax Grant, and was owned by Charles II, the king of England, Scotland and Ireland in the mid-1600s.
While Charles was deposed into exile in The Netherlands, he concocted a scheme, which in part involved this land, to gain the throne after his father's death. He had little idea what was here and had no use for it because he never visited Virginia, but he knew the land had value. He leveraged it to pay off supporters.
Charles’s scheme to restore himself to the monarchy was successful and he reigned as king until his death in 1685.
The land he granted to supporters totaled about 5 million acres, which included all of the territory between the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers. Through a series of bequeathments and sales over many years, the land became divided and sub-divided many times over.
One of the eventual owners of this portion crossed by the trail was George M. Slater, who had been one of Mosby's Rangers during the Civil War.
This particular piece of property continued to change owners several times until 1975, when it was donated to the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The Appalachian Trail was relocated here in 1987 when another 248 acres were added to the park.