We kayaked Bull Run from Sudley Springs to Yates Ford in early June; About 9 miles. The gage at Blackburn’s Ford read approximately 6’. The put-in is within the Manassas Battlefield Park along the northern edge on Little Bull Run immediately upstream of it’s confluence with Bull Run. Unload in front of the gate on the eastern side of the road and park across the street in the lot south of the church parking lot. A NPS park entrance fee is paid at the visitor center a short southward drive from this location. A vehicle was positioned at the take-out at Blackburn’s Ford at the Rt-28 bridge and parking lot.
This section of Bull Run is about 90% park land meandering through Manassas Battlefield down to I-66. Beyond this, river right is private property while Bull Run borders Bull Run Regional Park on river left. We encountered people and animals as we approached the Stone Bridge as well as downstream along the banks of the regional park.
At 6’, portaging was unnecessary, but the week previous when the gage read 3.04’ and we put-in at the Stone Bridge, light portage was necessary after getting stuck on cobble and/or sand bars. Much higher than this, on the other hand, and obstructions from above may start to become a concern. Many stopping points are washed out at this level, but there are still opportunities for breaks along the way.
6’ is about twice what normal levels are, but still well below action and flood stage at 11 and 12’ respectively. Paddles are used more for steering than forward movement and/or momentum at these levels as there’s sufficient current to keep the boat moving. We had 14’ SOT kayaks which performed fine in the water though the current tends to push larger boats around from time to time. Depending on water levels, there may be a class I or II rapid on this stretch, which are very manageable.
The take-out is a bit tricky. Most boaters take-out on river left and use the stairs to the parking lot. Immediately above the rapid here on river left is a ledge which has a cut in it that is used to put and pull boats into/out of the water. We’ve used this cut multiple times in 3’ and 6’ of water successfully noting that it was also challenging particularly for larger boats. I’ve seen whitewater boaters just carry the boat out.
An eddy turn may be necessary approaching the rapid to get into the area where the cut is located. Once at this location, boaters may be able to exit the boat to get it up on shore. Larger boats are much easier to take-out with a second person.
River/Creek (Up to Class II)
Number of Portages: