This trip involved a put in at the Stone Bridge on the Manassas Battlefield, and take out at the Route 28 bridge on the north boundary of the City of Manassas. The trip is almost entirely through parkland, which makes for a rather pastoral experience. A few fishermen were encountered around the VA 616 bridge, and the take out at Route 28, but they seemed friendly if not somewhat puzzled with the sight of whitewater boats heading down a gentle fishing stream.
The water level on the stream gauge at Rt 28 was approximately 3.2, which was quite low, and not runnable for the first few cobble bars below the put-in. I would not put in in this location at levels below 3.7
This stream is an excellent novice paddling experience. There are frequent riffles that require simple reads, and minimal maneuvering. Many of the riffles require avoiding debris that does not block the stream, so there is some challenge there. The penalty for failing to read the water properly is minimal - usually just getting stuck on a cobble bar. No significant hazards were encountered on the trip.
The riffles are more frequent in the section north of I-66, but the better ones are toward the end of the trip. The upper section contained one low diagonal ledge (under one foot high) in addition to the cobble bars. Below I-66, there is one small ledge type riffle that had a small wave train, waves under 1 ft.
The only rapid on the trip is a low ledge just upstream of the take out at the Route 28 bridge. This is a very straightforward Class I ledge, but a fun splash for the novice paddler.
At low water levels this trip took about 3.5 hours, but could be shortened by putting in the stream almost anywhere along the river left bank in the Bull Run Regional Park. Finding a put in spot here could be tricky, due to the typically high banks.
The put-in parking requires a $3 entry fee for the National Park. As this is an envelope system, you should have exact change unless you want to donate to the Park Service. The parking is convenient to the bridge, but a short (about 200 yard) carry is needed. The put-in area has a nice sandy bar just under the Rt 29 bridge that can be accessed by walking across the stone bridge and heading downstream on river right.
The take out is a bit tricky for a novice, requiring an easy eddy turn on river left below the Class I ledge. Once out of the boats, there is a convenient staircase leading up to the ample parking lot.
$3 park entry fee at the Manassas Battlefield.
You may also face a park entry fee if you enter the Bull Run Regional Park.
From I-66 to the Put-In:
Exit on Route 28 South. Head west on US 29 (Lee Highway) approximately 3 miles. The Stone Bridge is just upstream of the Rt 29 bridge across Bull Run at the Manassas Battlefield. There is parking on the right side just before crossing the Rt 29 bridge.
From I-66 to the take out:
Head south on Rt 28 toward Manassas. There is a parking area before the Rt 28 bridge over Bull Run, and just after the intersection for Rt 28 and Compton Road.