Dates of stay: 10/14/09 – 10/23/09
Cost: Variable – seasonal and local resident rates. We paid about $25/night for 30 amp hookup.
Type of park: Multi-county/Regional
Web Site: http://www.nvrpa.org/parks/bullrun/
Location: Bull Run Regional Park is a park located in Centreville, Virginia. It’s hard to find and the routing to it is complicated. It’s located on the south side of Interstate 66, but you can only get to it from the north side and there’s no direct access from the interstate. You have to do quite a bit of back road hunting to get to the actual entrance. Most GPS’s will get you there using the following coordinates for the entrance: 38.803837, -77.489601
General/Facilities: It’s amazingly “complete” and quite large considering where it’s located. A lot of the park is set up for special events, but there’s a fair amount for campers, RV’ers and people just wanting to enjoy a day in the park. There are official soccer fields that are not open to public use, but there are large unmarked areas of good field for informal games. There are 12 shelters for grilling and picnicking, all with ample parking. There’s a water park, horse trails, disc golf and even a shooting center (archery, skeet, trap, sporting clays, rentals available). Plenty of trails are available too. There’s a short 3 mile loop that basically follows the creek (Bull Run), or serious hikers can do the seventeen mile trek along the creek that goes through several parks and comes out somewhere near Woodbridge. Make sure you talk to someone who knows the way (like park staff) before you attempt the short loop. If you miss the turn, you’ll be on the long trail and may have to trek back quite a ways to correct it.
Camping: They have a large and pleasant campground with nice facilities. It’s quite a way back in the park (about 2 miles) with no through access, so you shouldn’t normally have traffic going through the campground. They have a variety of RV capable spots, both pull-through and back-in. The pull-throughs are basically just a gravel arch off the road and they seem a little too “exposed” for our tastes. The back-ins are actually in the trees, so it makes it feel quite a bit more private. Just be prepared to attempt backing in two or three times… some of the spots are tight between large trees. You can get full hookups, primitive or electric only, depending on price. I believe that all the full hookup sites are pull-through, but you might want to check on that. Tent sites, group camps and cabins are also available. They have two bath houses, both with showers and laundry facilities. A water and dump site is available at the entrance, so you don’t need a full hookup if you’re there for only a short stay. There is generally room for parking (and no additional charge) for two vehicles.
Critters: Deer… LOTS of deer! There were herds of them crossing the road and roaming the fields at night. Drive slow, expect them to freak out for no reason. We saw several foxes, a few raccoons, one opossum, and lots of tree rats (squirrels). There was also a pair of cats, both with flea collars, one of which was friendly and instantly wanted to go for a ride in the Jeep (I assume they’re camp kitties). That’s it for the furred beasts, but there were a few flying and crawling ones as well, probably seasonal. Daddy Long Legs spiders were in abundance, and a couple of bees could be found, but they weren’t troublesome. A snake was sunning himself in the middle of the road one day (probably a corn snake). There were also several caterpillars of various shapes and sizes on the trails. Several birds but none I could identify (small chirping ones, not big lethal ones). There are probably beavers on the hiking trail somewhere, as we saw evidence of them
Gotchas: While it’s a nice park, there are some things to be aware of before making yourself at home… The campground may have reduced sites at any given time. The park runs events or shows during a lot of holidays, some of which may cause some of the campground to be closed. We were there during the set-up of a light show and half the sites were closed. We got the LAST one available with electricity for our stay, even though it looked relatively empty when I went through a couple days before. Due to the various events they occasionally host, it’s HIGHLY recommended that you call first or make reservations. Two campers were turned away while I was paying.
There is a ban on bringing in firewood due to various critters that can infect the trees. You’re not allowed to collect downed wood. That means if you want a fire, you’re buying wood from the camp store. I didn’t check how much it was, as I don’t like paying for wood (personal pet peeve of mine).