Broad Run Trail Between VA28 and Victory Elementary School Recon (First Attempt)
I wanted to do a fun hike for Memorial Day. So I traveled to the Center at Innovation Shopping Center at the intersection of VA28 and Sowder Villiage Square in Bristow, VA. It was here that I wanted to hike the Broad Run Trail between VA28 and Victory Lakes Elementary School. I didn't know what to expect on this hike. But what I got was a very tough trail that I could not complete.
The trailhead for this hike was located at the southern end of the shopping center just past T.J. Maxx. I walked down a set of steps made of railroad ties and then went past a kiosk. Unfortionately, this kiosk had been vandalized. There was spray paint all over it and no information on it. That was sad. The trail was mowed in this area. There was some kind of water treatment plant in the vacinity and they appeared to have mowed the grass in this area. My thanks to them for doing this.
So I started traveling west along Broad Run. Initially, the trail was level and very pleasant to hike on. It probably needed some weed whacking but it was OK. Then, after about a quarter mile I crossed a few streams that were a bit of a challenge. Then I came across some kind of retaining wall. It looked man made and it looked old. I don't know why it was built. But it was difficult to get past. At that point the trail became very difficult to navigate. There were massive blowdowns, huge rocks and the footing was terrible. It was like bushwhacking.
And there were streamers and flags of various colors all over this area. I usually give Prince William County Parks, Rec and Tourism a hard time about blazing their trails properly. And I initially thought that about this trail. But after awhile I thought: This trail needs to be relocated further up the bank, be graded, have the blowdowns as well as some live trees removed and then be blazed. This is going to be a gigantic undertaking.
I only got about three quarters of a mile from my vehicle when there was a very big blowdown that I was going to shimmy over. I looked further up the trail where it made a hard left along with Broad Run. There was a shear rock wall along the side of the stream. It looked like the only way to get by was to rock hop along the edge of the stream. It was here that I came to the conclusion that this was not fun anymore. So I turned around and hiked back to my vehicle.
While I was hiking this trail I made a few mental notes to myself about how to improve it. My reccommendations would be to try and move it 25 to 30 feet away from the stream. Some sections are right next to the stream and I am sure that they flood a lot. Also, there appear to be remnants of an old road or path around 25 to 30 feet from the stream. They could utilize this old path along certain portions. As for the shear rock wall the only solutions that I could think of would be to either take the trail to the top of the stream bed and then bring it back down at some point. Or they could build a bridge that attached to the shear rock wall and run a trail along this bridge.
All I know is that Prince William County will have to make this trail more accessable if they want people to hike it to the shopping center, VRE or the Manassas Airport. As it stands now, this is a perilous venture along this stretch of trail that will probably require an army of volunteers or a professional trail crew like the PATC Acme Treadway Company or Cadillac Crew to make it hikable.
It looks like this section of the Broad Run Trail is not up to snuff for the POPUMC Hiking Group. I'm going to attempt to hike this trail eastbound from Victory Lakes Elementary School in the near future and see how that goes. I will also offer my services to try and make this trail more hikable. I believe that there is another section of this trail between Dunbarton and Rollins Ford RD that has similar issues. Both of these stretches will have to be fixed before this trail can be considered passable as well as not overly strenous.
Map of the section of Broad Run Trail That I Hiked
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