Spend a day hiking through history on the Bull Run Occoquan Trail. This natural surface pathway follows the Occoquan River from Bull Run Regional Park to Fountainhead Regional Park. Travel through a mature forest that includes hemlock, beech, pine, oak, maple, and more. On your way, you'll see a variety of wildlife in the protected watershed area. The route includes stream crossings and some steep hills. Expect to get a workout when you visit. If you live in the NOVA Parks jurisdiction, parking is free. Otherwise, there's an $8 fee for day use.
The north trailhead for this pathway is near the campground in Bull Run Regional Park. Follow the path as it winds along the shoreline of Bull Run. The furrific route cuts through four area parks as it tracks up and down over ridges, on a mile-long boardwalk, and over a platform bridge. There are historical landmarks and interpretive signs along the way to point out historic sites dating back to the Civil War. Look for blue heron, white-tail deer, hawks, bullfrogs, painted box turtles, and more during your trek.
You and Spot can explore this trail if your buddy is on a lead. There are some long stretches between potable water sources. Bring refreshments and snacks with you for your hike. Remember to pack in and pack out any waste so that you leave no trace other than footprints in this natural area.
The Bull Run Occoquan Trail is a pawmazing course that's sure to challenge you and your four-footed friend. You'll hike over hills and along the stream as you follow the blazed pathway. Along the way, there's a cemetery, a strategic Civil War crossing point for both armies, and part of a wagon trail used during the Revolutionary War. In addition to living history, the protected watershed hosts a variety of wildlife and some beautiful wildflowers.