Where Southern Victories Tested Northern Resolve On July 21, 1861, two armies clashed for the first time on the fields overlooking Bull Run. Heavy fighting swept away any notion of a quick war. In August 1862, Union and Confederate armies converged for a second time on the plains of Manassas. The Confederates won a solid victory bringing them to the height of their power. The park is open daily from dawn to dusk.
Peaceful and easy day hike. First time hike. Very windy day. Good mix between open meadows and rolling hills as well as some forested sections. Started from the Visitor Center. If looking at the front of the Visitor Center, turn right and walk down the open field towards the tree line. You will see a row of canons. Clear sign indicating where to enter to begin the trail. Very well maintained trails and overall good markings. There were a few intersections that could have been better marked. For instance, after the first clearly indicated section, you walk over a bridge and have two options, right would take you down a trail with a yellow marking, the left leads you down a gravel road towards a main road where you see cars flying by. If you looked at the map you would see that the trail crosses over Route 29. Use common sense. Simply follow the blue markings and follow the "First Battle of Manassas" posts. The only other part that was a little confusing was when you emerge from the last section within the trees at Matthews Hill. Took me a minute, but went with my intuition and walked straight because there is nothing to indicate otherwise. You will then see a row of canons at the top of the hill. Follow the flattened path down the hill and pass through the wooden fences. You're actually just walking down the middle of a big open field with no markers. You will then come to the Stone House. Walk to the right of the house and go to the main intersection. Cross the intersection while still staying on the left hand side and walk over the bridge. You will see the Henry Hill house up above the hill. Follow this and you will see the tall flag pole at the Visitor Center ending the loop.
Not great scenery, marked horribly ,had to back track because if we didn't we would have risked doing over 12 miles in vey exposed to the sun terrain with not enough water. Would have really enjoyed doing the 5 mile loop but just had to turn back after 3 or so miles out of confusion. When in doubt go backwards always :/
A relaxing, relatively easy trail, with interconnected loops to other trails. it is rated easy; however, combined with other trails adds a bit of challenge to its intensity. While the majority of the trail is in a forested area, there are patches of trail that are in sunny, open fields, which can be challenging if it is a hot, sunny day (especially going uphill.) The trail is extremely peaceful, and their is tons of fauna, which you can hear as you make your way (deer in particular). The historical markers serve as welcome distractions, which will take your mind off of f any physical fatigue you may feel. be sure to use the bathroom and fill up with sterilized water at the welcome center before making the trek (and afterwards). Bring plenty of sunscreen and enjoy!!!
This trail is very easy, wide and well maintained. Bring bug spray for ticks in summer. There are many off shoots from the trail, but it has to be given a four star rating simply because of the history there. Highly recommend taking a guidebook with you or another tool that will help you get perspective. The first battle of the Civil War is crucial, saw the birth of the legend that was Stonewall Jackson, and showed the world that this war wasn't going to be so short after all. It is a great place to appreciate that the US does a fabulous job of preserving and honoring its history!