Bull Run Mountains State Natural Area Preserve

Important Notices

COVID-19 & the VBWTBefore heading out to visit a site on the Virginia Bird & Wildlife Trail, be sure to check if that site has any COVID-19 policies or closures in place. This information is typically posted on a site's own website.

Description

Bull Run Mountains State Natural Area Preserve contains over 2,350 acres of wilderness with over 100 species of birds, plus a diversity of other wildlife. In 2002, this land, representing Virginia’s easternmost mountains. was dedicated by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation as a natural area preserve to protect the unique ecosystems found here. As the owner and manager of the preserve, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation is committed to protecting the special ecosystem found here and sharing it with the public through managed access.

The Preserve is primarily forested with deciduous trees and accessed by 6.5 miles of easy to moderate trails in the southern section of the Preserve for the intrepid wildlife watcher to explore. The trails snake their way uphill to the ridge top along the Bull Run Mountains. Here you’ll be introduced to picturesque vistas to the west and the rolling hills of the Blue Ridge. A trail map can be found on the Virginia Outdoors Foundation website.

While walking through the woods, listen for the familiar sounds of the eastern woodlands-northern cardinals singing “pretty bird, pretty bird” or the tiny tin trumpets of white-breasted nuthatches. In the undergrowth, you’re likely to find families of Carolina wrens that are joined by white-throated sparrows and minuscule ruby-crowned kinglets in winter.

While hiking the trails, keep careful watch for white-tailed deer standing in a cautious freeze or sprinting through the forest with their tails raised in alarm. Be careful where you step, because there could be an eastern box turtle shuffling across the path. As if directly out of one of the forest scenes in “Alice in Wonderland, ” watch as flocks of passerines come and go as you turn each corner. Additionally, watch the flocks of chickadees and titmice scatter in a flurry as soon as a Cooper’s hawk glides past overhead.

Note: To retain the natural conditions of preserves, facilities are limited. Preserves do not have restrooms and may have poor or no cell phone coverage. Always tell someone where you are going before you visit a preserve. Hiking trails may be steep, narrow and remote. Most are inaccessible to emergency vehicles.

Directions

Physical Address: 17502 Beverley Mill Drive, Broad Run, VA 20137

From I-66, southwest of Washington D.C., take Exit #40 in Haymarket. Go south on US 15 for 0.2 miles to SR 55/John Marshall Highway. Turn right (west) on SR 55 for 2.6 miles to Turner Road. Turn right (north) on Turner Road for 0.1 miles. Turn left (west) on Beverley Mill Drive for 0.7 miles and continue to Bull Run Mountains State Natural Area Preserve. The public parking will be on your left about 700 feet before the main trailhead, just before reaching the Conservancy House. (Please do not park at the Conservancy House itself; this parking is private and reserved for Conservancy staff only.)

Location & Directions

View on Google Maps

Site Information

  • Site Contact: Virginia Outdoors Foundation Preserve Manager: jvillari@vofonline.org, 571-438-8957
  • Website
  • Access: Free. The public trails in the southern portion of the Preserve are open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays 8am – 6pm (Mar. 16th – Nov. 14th) and 8am – 4:30pm (Nov. 15th – Mar. 15th). The northern, more remote, section of the preserve is open to groups by appointment only.

Seasonal Bird Observations

Facilities

  • Environmental Study Area
  • Hiking Trails
  • Information
  • Interpretive Nature Program
  • Interpretive Trail
  • Parking
  • Picnic