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.
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
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.
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 Higlights
We prefer to begin the loop on the BROT. In this direction, the hike begins with long boardwalks over the wetlands 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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
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/$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 or Bull Run Occoquan Trails 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 site or cabin at Bull Run Campground for a front-row seat to the bluebells.
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. Here are more fun things to do in the area near Bull Run Park.
- Manassas National Battlefield Loop Hike and The Winery at Bull Run
- Conway Robinson Forest Hike Through Old Growth Woods in Northern VA
- Prince William County Virginia Sites for History and Hiking
- Fairfax County Scenic Drive on Virginia Byways
- Clifton Virginia Day Trip: A Charming Small Town Near Washington DC
Tackle a longer hike on the Bull Run Occoquan Trail with these segment hikes:
- Northern Bull Run Occoquan Trail Hike in Northern Virginia
- Bull Run Occoquan Trail Hike and Paradise Springs Winery in Clifton Virginia
- Bull Run Occoquan Trail: Fountainhead to Bull Run Marina Hike
Explore more beautiful wildflower hikes in Northern Virginia:
- 8 Great Spring Hikes in Northern Virginia: Outdoor Fun Near Washington DC
- Potomac Hike: Bluebells and Sycamores at Riverbend Park
- Hike Seneca Park and the Potomac Heritage Trail in Northern VA
- 7 Tips for Hiking the Fairfax Cross County Trail
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!