News & Politics

45 Bikes & Hikes: Bull Run Mountains State Natural Area Preserve

Broad Run, Va
A Real Kick Off Route 66
Bull Run Mountains State Natural Area Preserve

Distance: Five-mile loop

Photograph by Andrew Propp.

From the trailhead—near an old gristmill off I-66—hikers can access ten miles of trails in this nature preserve owned by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. We recommend taking Chestnut Ridge Trail to Dawson’s Trail, then briefly Catlett’s and Quarry trails to the Ridge Loop Trail, which ends at a rocky outcropping where you can sit and marvel at the Virginia countryside below. To descend, follow the gentler Chestnut Ridge Trail down to make a loop. You won’t have this trail to yourself on weekends, and there are frequent public programs, including guided hikes, run by the Bull Run Mountains Conservancy, which protects this land. You’ll be asked to sign a waiver to hike, but it’s worth it. For more, see