Family Hike: White Rocks Overlook at Bull Run Mountain

April 14, 2014 at 2:00 pm 3 comments

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.

Bull Run Mountain - Creek Off Quarry Trail
Creek Off the Quarry Trail

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.

Bull Run Mountain - Happy Family at Top
White Rocks Overlook/High Point – September 2012

Bull Run Mountain - Rocks and View at High Point Overlook
White Rocks Overlook/High Point – November 2013

Bull Run Mountain - Evergreen at High Point Overlook
Changing Leaves

Bull Run Mountain - Ryan and Sagan and View
Ryan and Sagan Take in View of Mountains!

For the most part, the trail is well maintained and wide, so great for the little hikers.

Bull Run Mountain - Sagan Runs After Carl
Sagan Hikes

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).

Flora
There are tons to see on all the trails – mosses, wildflowers, mushrooms.

Bull Run Mountain - Leaves, Rock and Moss (By Ryan Somma)
Moss on the Chestnut Ridge Trail (By Ryan Somma)

Bull Run Mountain - Yellow Wildflower (By Ryan Somma)
Yellow Wildflower

Bull Run Mountain - Mushrooms (By Ryan Somma)
Mushrooms (By Ryan Somma)

One hike I got to see Chestnut Oaks demonstrating their “oak-i-ness” — making acorns!

Bull Run Mountain - Acorns on a Chestnut Oak
Chestnut Oaks Doing What Oaks Do – Making Acorns!

Up near the top, an extra bonus. American Chestnut trees still exhibiting hope and trying to grow.

Bull Run Mountain - American Chestnut - Blighted Bark and New Shoot
The Blighted Bark of a Dead Chestnut and Its New Shoot

Fauna
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. : )

Bull Run Mountain - Lizard on Tree Bark (By Ryan Somma)
Lizard on Tree Bark (By Ryan Somma)

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

Trail Map

Bull Run Mountains Conservancy
17405 Beverley Mill Dr
Broad Run, VA 20137

Length: ~4.2 Round Trip

Elevation Gain: Roughly 800 feet

Entry filed under: Bull Run Mountain, Hiking, Uncategorized. Tags: .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. anomadlife  |  April 14, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    This looks great! Will have to give it a try sometime this spring.

    Reply
    • 2. tgaw  |  April 16, 2014 at 11:53 am

      It’s a great hike… and bonus– there is pretty good tree coverage over the trail, until you get to the overlook. : )

      Reply
  • […] been a while since I’ve done a Season Compare! Here’s one from our Bull Run Mountains Conservancy hikes. On the Chestnut Ridge Trail, between the Mountain Trail and the Quarry Trail, there is a […]

    Reply

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