Family Hike: White Rocks Overlook at Bull Run Mountain
Living in Occoquan, our family is surrounded by parks– Occoquan Regional Park, Fountainhead Regional Park, Mason Neck State Park, Pohick Bay Regional Park, Occoquan Bay Wildlife Refuge, Veteran’s Park, Julie J. Metz Wetlands Area, Leesylvania State Park, all within striking distance of a family adventure. We even have Prince William Forest National Park just 10 miles south of us. But sometimes… sometimes I miss the mountains. As luck would have it, with a 42 minute drive, we can be at Bull Run Mountains Conservancy. It’s probably my favorite hike in the Northern Virginia area.
All our trips there have been accompanied by children. We’ve hit up the Quarry Trail and the Chestnut Ridge Loop Trail which are pretty in their own right.
But the cream of the crop is a loop made with the Ridge Loop Trail and the Chestnut Ridge Trail. The top— White Rocks Overlook/High Point, which is just stunning.
For the most part, the trail is well maintained and wide, so great for the little hikers.
You do climb roughly 800 feet to get to the overlook. If you want an easier grade, I would recommend going up the Chestnut Ridge Trail. The Ridge Loop Trail is steeper (but still do-able– we carried Sagan up that trail in 2012).
There are tons to see on all the trails – mosses, wildflowers, mushrooms.
One hike I got to see Chestnut Oaks demonstrating their “oak-i-ness” — making acorns!
Up near the top, an extra bonus. American Chestnut trees still exhibiting hope and trying to grow.
We’ve seen the usual squirrels and deer and variety of birds. One time, we got to visually confirm the reptiles are in the mix as well. : )
It may not be as close as some of our other hikes, but the Bull Run Mountains Conservancy hike is one of our favorites.
More photos of our Bull Run Mountain hikes can be found on Flickr here and here.
|White Rocks Overlook Via the Chestnut Ridge Trail
Bull Run Mountains Conservancy
Length: ~4.2 Round Trip
Elevation Gain: Roughly 800 feet