Hike the Bull Run Occoquan Trail

Rate this Adventure 13 miles  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Alex D

A heavily wooded trail steeped in history with a water feature and ample parking just a few minutes from a bustling suburb of Washington, DC.

The Bull Run Occoquan Trail is located in Fairfax County, Virginia and is 50 miles outside Washington, DC and runs along the Bull Run waterway for 6.5 miles from Bull Run Marina to Fountainhead Regional Park. The blue blazed trail undulates for a total ascent of 1,510 ft and descent of 1,526 ft, although the elevation is only 332 ft. The trail markers are lettered from A to G, and generally a mile apart.

Park across the street from the Bull Run Marina in the large parking area. The trailhead begins at the end of the parking lot on an asphalt trail which quickly becomes dirt. At the sign “Fountain Head Park 6.3 mi”, turn left. The trail is shared by hikers, trail runners, bikers, and horses, and is maintained by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club. There are several one-track bridges crossing small streams. During the summer months, you’ll see a fern grotto, tall pines surrounded by a “carpet” of small conifers, and a thick green forest which shades the trail well. In places, the trail has muddy patches, broken red bricks, red rocks, many tree roots, and sandy soil. According to the website https://www.novaparks.com/parks/bull-run-occoquan-trail , this area played a vital role at different times in our history from the Revolutionary to the Civil War. There’s a cemetery near the Fountainhead parking area, and a plaque for a 1781 wagon route.

Out and back, the trail is the perfect distance for a half marathon trail run. Bring your own water and sustenance. I didn’t see any facilities. Leave a change of clothes, towel, and extra food and water in your car for when you return. Mobile phone service is spotty. Use bug spray and a hat to ward off the occasional biting deer fly.

The trail can easily be hiked in the reverse direction because there’s also a large parking area at Fountainhead Regional Park. 

Read More


Mountain Biking


Have you done this adventure? Be the first to leave a review!

Stay Nearby

Triangle, Virginia

Turkey Run Ridge Group

Overview Turkey Run Ridge Group Campground has nine wooded group campsites which can accommodate a maximum of 25 to 40 people per site. Located in Prince William Forest Park, 35 miles southwest of ...

Triangle, Virginia

Telegraph Picnic Pavilion

Overview Telegraph Picnic Pavilion is a covered pavilion with twelve picnic tables located in Prince William Forest Park, 35 miles southwest of Washington, D.C. The park's land was set aside during...

Triangle, Virginia

Oak Ridge Campground

Overview Oak Ridge Campground is a 100-site, wooded campground located in Prince William Forest Park, 35 miles southwest of Washington, DC. The park's land was set aside during the Great Depression...

Indian Head, Maryland

Beaver Heights

This beautiful backcountry site is on the river! With beautiful views and an abundant wildlife, this is what camping is all about. You will be sharing the area with gorgeous bald eagles and plenty ...

From $40/night

Nearby Adventures

  • Explore Burke Lake in Fairfax

    Burke Lake Park has something for everyone. Whether you enjoy trail running, hiking, fishing, canoeing, Frisbee golf, or just having a picnic with your family, you can do it all at Burke Lake. Those who want to be active or exercise can run, hike ...

    4.7 miles 0 ft gain

  • Trail Run at Bull Run

    Great spot for a run! Very accessible for those in the DC region.  A good starting point is the Henry Hill Visitor Center. If you want to avoid any crowds, start early.  From the Henry Hill Visitor Center, you can't really go wrong (as far as dire...

    4 miles

  • Hike and Explore Bull Run Battlefield

    Located about 40 minutes from D.C. just off I-66 in Manassas, VA. Henry Hill is the starting point and headquarters that can lead you to multiple trails ranging from 1-5 miles depending on the route you choose here. Ample parking at HQ as well as ...

    1.2 miles

  • Hike the Woodmarsh Trail

    Just at the entrance to Mason Neck State Park is the Woodmarsh Trail. The entire loop is about 3 miles. This is a pleasant easy hike that is relatively flat with no rocks to speak of. The trail wanders through a forest and passes by a large swamp ...

    2.95 miles 100 ft gain