Beautiful Virginia Bluebell Trail Hike in Northern VA

Updated on April 4, 2024 by Julie McCool

Enjoy a beautiful, easy spring hike on the Virginia Bluebell Trail at Bull Run Regional Park in Northern VA. In early April, you'll walk through a sea of Virginia bluebells and spring wildflowers on this loop hike next to two pretty streams.

The level dirt trail is ideal for families with young kids and nature lovers of all ages. Leashed dogs and equestrians are also welcome on the Bull Run Bluebell Trail.

Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links. We will make a small commission from these links if you order something, at no additional cost to you.

Bull Run Regional Park is a true gem in the NOVA Park system. The 1500-acre park offers a range of outdoor activities including picnicking, swimming at a popular waterpark, disc golf, and camping. In addition to the Bluebell Trail loop, other Bull Run hikes include the northern end of the Bull Run Occoquan Trail and trails that circle the campground (see map below).

Virginia Bluebell Trail Loop Hike Details

The Bull Run Bluebell Trail is a 1.5-mile loop hike on a mostly level dirt trail. The easy terrain and interesting nature make this an excellent hike for families with kids, but it's a nice trail for all ages. However, the trail is narrow in places and is often muddy so it is not accessible for strollers or wheelchairs.

The Bluebell Trail connects with the 19-mile Bull Run Occoquan Trail, so It is easy to extend your hike.

See Wheelchair and Stroller Friendly Trails in Northern Virginia for alternate hikes.

Where to Find the Bluebell Trail

Bull Run Bluebell Trailhead
Bull Run Bluebell Trailhead

The Bull Run Bluebell Trail begins near the Atlantis Waterpark parking lot. To find the lot, continue straight after you enter the park passing several small parking areas, picnic pavilions, and fields.

When you see the Atlantis Waterpark sign on your left, park in the paved lot. (Enter “Bull Run Disc Golf” in your GPS to navigate to the lot.) The lot may be full during bluebell season weekends and on hot summer days. In that case, you'll have to park at one of the other lots along the road.

Bull Run Regional Park map by NOVA Parks
Bull Run Regional Park map by NOVA Parks

Since your Virginia bluebell hike is a loop, you have two trailhead options. Most people hike the loop counter-clockwise, beginning at the Bluebell Trail sign. However, we recommend hiking clockwise, beginning at the Bull Run Occoquan Trail (BROT). In either case, cross the street from the parking area and head right to the Bluebell Trail or left to the BROT.

Bluebell Trail Highlights

We prefer to begin the loop on the BROT. In this direction, the hike begins with long boardwalks over the wetlands and then transitions to the streamside areas. You won't see bluebells from the boardwalk, but tiny spring wildflowers, croaking frogs, and the woods turning green set the stage.

BROT boardwalk in spring
BROT boardwalk in spring

In a short distance, the trail reaches Cub Run and some of the prettiest Virginia bluebell patches on the hike. A bench offers a pleasant spot to relax and enjoy a view of Cub Run.

Bluebell Trail bench near Cub Run
Bluebell Trail bench

As the trail loops to the right, you'll see more and more bluebells filling the woods around you and across the stream. Enjoy constant views of the bluebells and peeks of the stream as you follow the trail along Cub Run.

Virginia bluebells at Bull Run
Virginia Bluebells at Bull Run Park

Eventually, the trail reaches an intersection near the point where Cub Run enters Bull Run. Here, the Bluebell Trail loop turns right, while the Bull Run Occoquan Trail turns left heading south for another 18 miles. If time allows, follow the BROT a short distance to a bridge over Cub Run and a nice view of the water rushing into the larger Bull Run.

Bull Run from Bluebell Trail
Bull Run from Bluebell Trail

Backtrack to the Bluebell Trail, which now follows the eastern side of Bull Run. Once again, bluebells fill the woods around you. Keep an eye out for other spring wildflowers, like tiny Spring Beauty and delicate yellow Trout Lily.

Trout Lily at Bull Run
Trout Lily at Bull Run

You may also see signs of the park's wildlife, like this tree gnawed by beavers. The trail can be quite muddy in places, but it's a very pretty walk when spring ephemerals are in bloom.

Beaver-gnawed tree at Bull Run Park in Northern Virginia
Beaver-gnawed tree Bull Run

When you reach the end of the trail, turn right and walk back to the parking lot across the street. You can pick up a snack and a souvenir of your visit at the Camp Store.

Bull Run Bluebell Trail Essential Info

Bluebell Trail loop hike
Bluebell Trail loop hike

Bull Run Regional Park is open year-round but is primarily visited in warmer months. Park roads are lined with holiday lights for the popular drive-through Bull Run Festival of Lights from late November to early January.

  • Bull Run Regional Park is at 7700 Bull Run Drive, Centreville.
  • Visit the park website for more info and special event listings.
  • The park is open daily from sunrise to sunset.
  • There is no entry fee for Northern Virginia residents. Non-residents pay $8 per day or $15 per week when fees are being collected.
  • Park in the Atlantis Waterpark lot to access the Bluebell Trail. Enter “Bull Run Disc Golf” in your GPS to navigate to the lot.
  • There are port-a-johns at the Atlantis parking lot and full restroom facilities across from the Pavilion (see Bull Run Park map above).
  • Leashed dogs and equestrians are welcome on park trails.
  • Bikes are not permitted on either the Bluebell Trail or the Bull Run Occoquan Trail in the park.
  • Bluebell season is a very popular time at Bull Run, so visit on a weekday and arrive early to avoid crowds.
  • Reserve a camping site or cabin at Bull Run Campground for a front-row seat to the bluebells.
Beautiful Bluebell Trail hike in Northern VA
Bluebell Trail hike

Things to Do Near Bull Run Park

This area of Northern Virginia, which borders Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William Counties, makes an excellent day trip or weekend getaway from Washington DC. There are several great hiking areas and quaint towns nearby.

History lovers can hike the First Manassas National Battlefield Loop and relax at The Winery at Bull Run. Or hike through a mix of old growth woods and managed forests at Conway Robinson Forest. You'll find even more interesting places to explore in our guide to Prince William County Virginia Sites for History and Hiking.

On the eastern side of Bull Run, take a Fairfax County Scenic Drive on Virginia Byways and visit the charming town of Clifton Virginia.

If you prefer to tackle a longer hike on the Bull Run Occoquan Trail, these segment guides cover the entire route:

And you'll find more beautiful wildflower hikes by the Potomac River at Riverbend Park, Seneca Park, and our guide to 8 Great Spring Hikes in Northern Virginia.

The Bluebell Trail at Bull Run Park is a nice easy hike at any time of year, but it is an especially beautiful destination when Virginia bluebells fill the woods. Happy hiking!

Follow Fun in Fairfax VA on FacebookPinterestInstagram | Threads | Twitter 

Save it for later:

Enjoy a beautiful, easy loop hike through a sea of spring wildflowers on the Virginia Bluebell Trail at Bull Run Regional Park in Northern VA.
Virginia Bluebell Trail Hike