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Bull Run Trail

HARD 147 reviews
#1 of 3 trails in

Bull Run Trail is a 17.4 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Centreville, Virginia 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.

17.4 miles
1,387 feet
Point to Point

dog friendly


horseback riding

nature trips

trail running


bird watching




wild flowers


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.

trail running
bridge out
private property
washed out
11 days ago

This was my first time on this trail. I picked it up under Route 28 and went roughly east for about two and a half miles. Recent bad weather made parts of it pretty muddy and about two miles in, one of the streams crossing the trail was about hip deep. I found a decent crossing point further upstream, but had to do some bushwhacking to get there. All-in-all, it’s a good trail with a nice mix of rugged, technical terrain and relatively easy straightaways.

trail running
2 months ago

I started from the north end of the trail at Bull Run. The trail was still quite flooded from all the rains. I went the first couple miles and the silt and mud made the trail so slippery as to be not run-able. The area will need a couple weeks to dry out before it is enjoyable again.

2 months ago

Great hike for my kids (11, 10, 8) at least the first first few mails out of the Fountainhead trailhead, and for our Labrador. The trail is wide and well kept. It rolls up and down but the footing is flat and easy.

5 months ago

We only hiked a short distance- picked the trail up off Balmoral Greens in Clifton. It was a little soggy from all the rains but a great time. Only saw two other people. We loved the rocks crossing the stream. A nice, easy hike!

6 months ago

Great trail normally. Tried to hike it yesterday from Bull Run Park. The boardwalk when you initially start the trail was heavily damaged. You can get around the damaged sections without too much difficultly. The stream crossing beside route 28 was impassable.

7 months ago

This is a great day trail to take kids and pets on. Its fun and easy. And its beautiful.

9 months ago

Beautiful trail through an interesting part of our country, but I didn’t get far before the hoards of mosquitos turned me back. Bring bug spray and cover up.

trail running
Monday, January 29, 2018

This is my home trail. I run it weekly. Love it!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Nice trail through the woods

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Love the outdoor experience along the water in the heart of urban northern Virginia. Doing the trail in segments.

trail running
Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Started at fountainhead on the blue blazes and hiked in 10 miles and turned around. Nice trail. Loved the hills. Wish people would keep dogs on leashes.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Man was this a great trail. It was my first one but I thoroughly enjoyed my 4 mile hike. I'll save the other part oh this trail for another time.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Regularly enjoy hikes along this trail, be they a short two-hour jaunt w my dog, or something longer. Have paddled half of Bull Run as well.

trail running
Saturday, July 01, 2017

Great for runs, hiking, or simple walks. Easy trail and is well marked.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

It was an awesome trail. We set out to walk from Bull Run Regional park to Fountain head. We actually only made it to Bull Run Marina. From Buil run park to Hemlock park the trail was extremely muddy which we expected but the trail was not marked well, lots of down trees we had to climb over, go under but due to there massive size most we had to go around by then we were bush whacking and had a hard time relocating the trail. Alternate routes were posted and we found out in order not to back track we had to ford a creeks that were waist deep. At least it cooled us off. Once we got about 1 away from Hemlock Park the trail was very well maintained until we bailed at Bull Run Marina. We had a great time our dogs had a good time. Word of caution be prepared for dogs off leash.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

ran this today for about 4 miles. missed the blaze and it turned into a loop back to bull run road. It was ok because of the storm last night. Trail was like a swamp. met a huge turtle at the begining. I will return and finish this trail with 5 -6 mile out back runs. Not interested in this as a full hike.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

I hiked 5 miles (total, out and back) with my dogs and it was shady and quiet. (Started at the Compton Rd entrance.) Not challenging at all, except at the trail entrance. Narrow trail at times where the dogs were walking one behind the other. Mostly grassy trails with several spots to let the dogs play in the water.

Friday, April 28, 2017

This trail is billed as the longest natural surface trail in Northern Virginia. I wouldnt rate it as hard, but there are some taxing areas. I have done the whole thing once, but usually start at Fountainhead trailhead, hike to Bull Run Marina, 6.5 miles, and then turn around. I enjoyed it more when it was colder and there were not many people out there. A great spot for a hike if you dont feel like driving 1.5 hours plus.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

I would say that this was a pretty easy trail. We didn't do the entire 17 miles, but the wildflowers were beautiful! I do with the path was a bit wider, and I could have done without the horse turds

Saturday, February 11, 2017

tough trail to attempt to complete all at once. from several egress points you can shuttle out and back for short distances. great hills and water views. bicycles now are welcome also.

Friday, October 07, 2016

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.

Monday, July 04, 2016

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.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Love it

Monday, June 20, 2016

Nice and peaceful .

Monday, May 30, 2016

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.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

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.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

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.

Monday, March 28, 2016

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.

trail running
Sunday, October 25, 2015

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!

trail running
Wednesday, September 02, 2015

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.

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