Here's an outing that combines two of our favorite ways to enjoy Fall—a nice hike and a relaxing glass of Virginia wine. Tackle Bull Run Mountains on a crisp, clear day in October when the foliage peaks, then visit the Winery at La Grange, and you have a perfect Fall outing.
UPDATE: High Point Area Closed Permanently
The High Point cliff area on the Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve is closed permanently for ecological restoration. You can still hike on other trails at Bull Run (Friday – Sunday) but there is no access to the overlook described below.
The Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve is maintained by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. They maintain a parking area on Beverly Mill Drive, which is the trailhead for most of the trails at the preserve.
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There are 7 miles of trails at the Bull Run Preserve. To reach most of the trails you'll begin your hike by entering through the gate and crossing the railroad tracks. Note that dogs and bikes are not allowed on the trails.
Bull Run Mountains Hike to White Rocks Overlook – CLOSED
Numbered posts mark the start of each trail segment with colored dots, but you will not see colored blazes on the trees between posts. Just check your position at each post to ensure you're on the trail you wanted.
On our ascent, we followed the white Mountain Road trail then turned left on the blue Bull Run Ridge Trail. This was a well-traveled and popular route with some moderately steep sections over rocky terrain.
Once you reach the ridge, the hike is more level and you begin to catch glimpses of the view. Fight the urge to climb through the bush for a look; amazing views are just up ahead. You'll know you've reached the White Rocks Overlook when you see wooden fenced paths to your left.
Elevation at the White Rocks High Point is 1311 feet, but we felt on top of the world with the beautiful hills of the Virginia Piedmont rolling west to the Blue Ridge Mountains.
We descended on the yellow Hickory Trail, which was a steep but enjoyable wooded trail that borders the Catlett's Branch stream. At post 7 we connected to the blue Bull Run Ridge Trail for the return to the parking lot.
Next visit we'll avoid the Mountain Road, which is eroded and not as nice as the more wooded trails, and try an alternate ascent. The green Quarry Trail passes Chapman's Cemetery and the quarry trench, and the Fern Hollow Trail passes closer to Chapman Mill (all marked on the map).
If you visit on the weekend, parking may be crowded. If you can't find a spot, head back out Beverly Drive and park near post 16, where you can begin on the green Laurel Trail and take a longer approach to the overlook.
The Winery at La Grange
You're hot, you're tired, and you've earned a little relaxation. Lucky for you, there's a lovely winery just a few miles away. With eight acres of vineyards and a restored 1790s manor house, The Winery at La Grange is a beautiful setting inside and out.
We enjoyed a glass of wine on Adirondack chairs facing the vineyard while other groups gathered at picnic tables, the outdoor tasting bar, and the stone fireplace. Down the hill, families played catch and corn hole, with plenty of space for the kids to run around. Indoors, another tasting bar and an enclosed sun porch offer space for cooler days.
A beautiful hike, a delicious glass of wine, a perfect Fall day.
The Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Reserve is at 17405 Beverly Mill Drive in Broad Run, Virginia 20137. Find more information on the Virginia Outdoor Foundation website.
The Winery at La Grange is located at 4970 Antioch Road in Haymarket, Virginia, about 4 miles from the preserve.