Bull Run Trail is a 17.4 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Centreville, VA that features a river and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.
Follow blue blazes. There are mile post markers every mile. Trail proceeds east about 1/2 mile to Cub Run then south to Bull Run. Trail remains north and east of Bull run for 18 miles to the main parking lot in Fountainhead Regional Park. Watch for old Confederate artillary position near mile 4. Most of the trail follows the river bank but where the bank or feeder streams are impassable, the trail ascends into the hills. Trail can be seasonally muddy and there can be problems with stream crossings. There are side branches for horses in places where the trail is too rocky or steep for horses. Trail is very well maintained by PATC.
Great hike with dogs. Plenty of spaces to stop for a quiet break along the way. Easy to forget you're in the heart of NoVa.
We did the 13 miles from Fountainhead to Hemlock round trip. The trail was moderately challenging, with changes in terrain and wonderful scenery of the water and wildlife. The trail is very well marked with the exception of 6.3 miles in. If you want to keep going to Hemlock the path turns left with no sign, but the end of that section of the trail goes straight. We ended up asking a friendly passerby and he directed us across back to the path which crosses the two-lane road. If you find yourself there, it's the 6.3 mark where the path turns to pavement. Look for the left turn. The midpoint of our journey was spent at Paradise Springs Winery which I highly recommend! I might not have enjoyed the hike as much without it, as I found myself wanting breathtaking views after that distance.
Nice and peaceful .
Did a 13 mile section from Fountainhead Regional Park to Hemlock Overlook. Trail is well maintained but keep your eyes on the Blue Blazes as there are a number of feeder and side trails. Some decent ups and downs as you leave Fountainhead for about 5 miles until the trail makes it's way closer to the river. We ended this section by heading up at the "Yates Ford Road / Hemlock Overlook" sign posted on the trail. It is an uphill climb for about a half mile but the reward is Paradise Springs Winery! Not a bad way to end the hike.
So there is really two trails here. This is really a spot for Blue Bell trail, which is about a mile or so long, and easy. Bull Run trail connects and is much longer, but still pretty easy trail wise.
It costs $7.50 to get into the park at the trail head. I think that's per car, but not sure it was just me. There was definitely a lot of horse dung and mud on this trail. It was also fairly busy for a cold day, but it was nice.
It was very muddy, poorly marked so to speak as far as trail markings go. I wouldn't consider it difficult, maybe moderate. Nice views along a river most of the way.
Great trail. Secluded enough and with enough hill climbs and rocks to make it scenic and a work out. Only competed part of it around Hemlock, will definitely be back to complete the entire trail.
Tested out this trail today & I have to say I walked out of there feeling accomplished! Started out at Bull Run & stopped at the 5 mile mark & turned around back towards Bull Run. It was very tiring but in the end, it was worth the trouble! The trail consisted of flat terrain & some rocky parts as well. There are also elevation changes that offer a challenge to some. I do suggest packing alot of water & snacks if you are trying to reach Hemlock or beyond as well as taking breaks. Overall, it was a pleasant experience can't really complain about it! I highly suggest this trail!
We started at Bull Run Regional Park and ran to Ocaquan Regional Park. I expected this trail to be more interesting then it turned out to be. There really wasn't any scenic views, all woods. It starts out relatively flat, but gets really hilly from about mile 11 through 18. There is also no water fountains along the way so you have to carry your water. We parked at Atlantis Water Park which is near the trail head on the Bull Run Side.
I drove 30min out of my way to test out this trail. Started run at Fountainhead and turned around at 6 mi marker. Kind of disappointed as I expected better riverside scenery and trail marking. After a short rain storm the trail was dangerously slick, but still not very technical. I can totally see where this would be a go-to, preferred trail if you live nearby; however I will stick with PW Forest, which IMHO is way better and includes numerous watering points.
Good hike. Not as much of a hard slog as parts of the AT, but still enough of a challenge to feel like a good day's work. It is a beautiful place, especially in the spring when the bluebells are all abloom, and in late October or whenever the leaves are at peak colors.
In reading the comments here, I believe some may be confused as to the start point. Bull Run park is a municipal park and is separate from the National Battlefield Park, which is administered by the Federal Government. This trailhead is actually south of US 29 and a little bit east of Sudley Road, which is where the National Park Visitors Center sits. Bull Run Park includes a water park, and the parking area for the trailhead is also the parking lot for that water park.
My boyfriend and I came here recently. There didn't really seem to be any official trail head, but we drove around the area and checked out the civil war stops before finding a solid parking lot at a winery. We caught a trail from there. It was an easy hike, mostly just walking through fields of these old civil war battlegrounds. The nature and sunset were nice. Not as exciting as we had hoped, but still a nice low-key time.