First Battle of Manassas Trail Loop is a 5.3 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Manassas, Virginia that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
First Battle of Bull Run. This was the first major land battle of the armies in Virginia. On July 16, 1861, the untried Union army under Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell marched from Washington against the Confederate army, which was drawn up behind Bull Run beyond Centreville. On the 21st, McDowell crossed at Sudley Ford and attacked the Confederate left flank on Matthews Hill. Fighting raged throughout the day as Confederate forces were driven back to Henry Hill. Late in the afternoon, Confederate reinforcements (one brigade arriving by rail from the Shenandoah Valley) extended and broke the Union right flank. The Federal retreat rapidly deteriorated into a rout. Although victorious, Confederate forces were too disorganized to pursue. Confederate Gen. Bee and Col. Bartow were killed. Thomas J. Jackson earned the nom de guerre "Stonewall." By July 22, the shattered Union army reached the safety of Washington. This battle convinced the Lincoln administration that the war would be a long and costly affair. McDowell was relieved of command of the Union army and replaced by Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, who set about reorganizing and training the troops.
Good variety between woods and fields with a couple stream crossings. Add the historical context and it's easily 4 stars. Trail easy to follow except in farm area so watch for blazes in distance. Good birding.
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.
It was really fun and the ground was great for horses
David and Max G.
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 :/
Easy trail but has some good hills for running
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!!!
Great loop! Had a blast with our dog Otis as well. A great hike!
Nice easy, well maintained trail. If you like history, you will love this place.