First Battle of Manassas Trail Loop

EASY 209 reviews

First Battle of Manassas Trail Loop is a 5.2 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.

5.2 miles
367 feet

dogs on leash

kid friendly


horseback riding

mountain biking

nature trips


trail running






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.

21 days ago

Great trail. i took my daughters on a weekday expecting to have the trail to ourselves, however there were a surprising number of other hikers and runners. the trail is easy to follow, but not well marked. we did get side tracked a couple of times. there are a couple of benches along the route. LOTS of fallen trees, but the path is well maintained. i don't think fires are allowed, so I brought a little alcohol stove and cooked up some lunch. there were other picknickers along the way as well. we did pass a mountain biker even though there are signs everywhere saying no cycling.

11/10 would visit again.

1 month ago

This isn’t a place to ride bikes at all.

2 months ago

Good trail, easy walk or run with couple of cross main road.

trail running
4 months ago

one of my favorite places I have ever ran.

4 months ago

I really enjoy the trails at Manassas. Great place to take the dog on a weekend.

6 months ago

Keep in mind, the trail is around a historic battlefield. Given that it is a battlefield, it is mostly cleared, with not that many trees. But it is beautiful, hilly, and with the mountains off in the horizon. It can be hard to distinguish the path from the hills because it is a flattened grass trail to preserve the original look. The nearby roads are also unfortunately a bit loud and an eyesore.

7 months ago

Good trail and excellent history along the way. However, signage needs some upgrading. I would have taken many wrong turns ( and took at least one) if I had not stopped to get a trail map. Overall though excellent hike and I will be back.

7 months ago

Pretty cool trail if you like the history behind if. As well as very scenic

8 months ago

this is a great walk or run. I frequently run this loop starting out at the stone bridge and heading out towards matthews hill. Good up and down hills along this stretch. Wooded and open areas. only two street crossings. Several streams, and wild life along this trail. Great during sunset.

10 months ago

nice hike. steep in places. cross major roads in two places.

10 months ago

one of the best in the area. only complaint is a heavy road
crossing at times.

11 months ago

Great hike! We could only go .5 mile and then turn back to make it a total mile. (Rehabbing from 2 hip replacements)

11 months ago

Monday, July 10, 2017

Loved it so much! A great trail for beginners and for those who don't want to do anything too strenuous but still want to be surrounded by nature. The trail is pretty easy and fast paced but so beautiful!

Friday, July 07, 2017

Loved it. If you start going south of the visitors center and end passing the stone house you spend the first 4 miles under good cover. The last 1-1.5 miles are in the sun (of shining). Great hike, not to strenuous and full of good historical landmarks and info boards. Highly recommend.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

good hike, poorly marked. I liked the history.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A very easy trail, not too much elevation, and easy to cut short and customize if you need to shorten it. Some parts are very exposed, but there's more shade once you get away from the visitor center. Bonus for educational content

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Such beautiful nature views, perfect for just walking or even running. Great for beginners (:

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Lots of trails to choose and great history, good place to visit.

Sunday, January 29, 2017


Wednesday, January 04, 2017

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.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

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.

horseback riding
Saturday, November 12, 2016

It was really fun and the ground was great for horses

Sunday, September 18, 2016

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 :/

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Easy trail but has some good hills for running

Friday, September 02, 2016

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!!!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Great loop! Had a blast with our dog Otis as well. A great hike!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Nice easy, well maintained trail. If you like history, you will love this place.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Lots of History. Take hat and water in the summer

Load More