Thursday, April 23, 2009

Paddling the Bull Run

The following is an e-mail sent by Jim Zawlocki to a group of kayakers after a paddle trip last weekend on the Bull Run to both enjoy the Spring and see the Bluebells and other natural wonders. OWL is the Occoquan Watertrail League, a great paddling group that is supported by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.

"The OWL Bull Run Virginia Bluebell Paddle was 8.4 miles and lasted for 3.5 hours . We saw many birds and waterfowl along the paddle. The great blue heron, grey heron, kingfisher, mallards, Canadian geese, and birds of prey were present. Beaver, deer, and turtles were enjoying the bluebells too. The bluebells were in their glory as Bull Run creek narrows with trees arching overhead . I saw the bluebells last year and knew it was a unique place to paddle. It was great to share a place I love to paddle and relax with paddlers new to the area. Our founding fathers thought the same when the first saw the bluebells in the Virginia colonies. John Banister in the late 1600s was the first to describe the bluebells. Thomas Jefferson described the bluebells as "blueish funnel flowers". So, we were able to enjoy history, flowers, a fantastic paddle, and great company. Thanks NVPRA for making the paddle possible. I hope you enjoy the pictures."



Marcus said...

I would be interested in paddling bull run also. How would I find info about launch sites. Thanks Marc

Paul Gilbert said...

I am sure you will love paddling the Occoquan/Bull Run. You can use our web site to find access points like Bull Run Marina, Fountainhead, and Occoquan Regional Parks.
If you want to paddle this area much I would highly recommend buying the waterproof map packet for the Occoquan Water Trail. You can find this at:
These maps will show all the access points and help you navigate this area and learn more about some of the points of interest.

Mike said...

Do you happen to know if there is an areas along Bull Run that are suitable for camping? My friends and I were trying to plan a canoe trip from a little further up stream on Bull Run Creek and were thinking we could canoe for a few hours one day and camp one night and finish at Bull Run Marina the next day. Any advice or recommendations?

Paul Gilbert said...


Bull Run Park has a great campground. So you could take out at Bull Run and camp there for the night, and continue on the next day.

I paddled from Bull Run to Bull Run Marina a few years ago and it is not great paddling. It can be shallow and lot of trees accross the stream. I would recommend Spring as the best season since the water level will be higher.

From Bull Run Marina all the way down the reservoir is great paddling.