Pros:Fishing, Hiking, Kayak/Boat opportunities
The Bottom Line: Bull Run Marina offers boating, fishing, and a bit of hiking. Lots to love for those who enjoy the outdoors.
The Bull Run Marina in Clifton, VA is a fine place to relax. That would be after getting here, as getting through this small town is a recipe for getting lost, along with getting away from the rest of the urban sprawl surrounding this oasis of serenity. Northern Virginia residents are blessed with recreational opportunities within a couple of hours drive, but one place is right in their own backyard. This Marina is truly that spot, as you can spend a day here hiking, kayaking, or fishing. A hat trick of all is especially good, and the part of the Occoquan Reservoir that runs down here, is quite picturesque. Just be sure to load the directions on your GPS or become familiar with the area, or you might just drive by the marina that's down below the main road. Yes, I still do that sometimes.
Parking is across the street. You can pull your pickup truck with a non gasoline powered boat down at the marina, but this is a drop off area only. The same goes with kayaks and other equipment. You have a ten minute limit, and then you have to move your vehicle on the other side of Yates Ford Road. Its a short walk, so not a big deal, although do watch out for fast cars. You can launch a boat here by paying an annual rate of around $100, and kayaks can be done for $2.00 a time. These funds go to help Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, that owns and operates many parks in the area. I usually go here to kayak, and the waters are calm, and you can easily reach other locations like Fountain Head Park.
These calm waters also provide for good fishing opportunities. If you are interested in some bass, consider sitting on the shore, or getting in real close to it. Here they are hiding under the wood piles and branches down, and my friends and I've had some luck here. Also, we've been able to land some catfish, but the majority of fish are bluegill and perch. There's nothing wrong with those, although you will need a lot to make a meal. If you are here to fish, I highly recommend minnows. Those seem to be sought after, and if you go here in early September, the Bass are hitting hard.
If water's not your thing, you can hike the Occoquan-Bull Run Trail. This connects with this marina area. Its not paved, but its for the most part flat in this area. You can see some views of the Reservoir, and also there are plenty of trees, which seem to be endangered in the rest of the county. As far as amenities, there are none, other than a few Don's Johns, and a couple of picnic tables. This alone is another reason I like it, as it is a spot you better be prepared for, instead of having everything handed to you on a silver platter like a lot of other places.
Parking can be problematic on the weekends, and this is especially the case in the summer. This marina is not open year round, as its available from March to Dec or "so." Its however the weather is playing out, that causes NVRPA to make that decision. Also, it is only open from dawn to dusk. I think Bull Run Marina is good for those who love to go out on kayaks, or boats with batteries on them, to get some fishing in. This waterway is not as polluted as others, and it eventually does connect with the Potomac River several miles away. Its a good place to spend a day.
**Thanks to Di(Surgrn911) for adding this to the database
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Best Suited For: Friends
Best Time to Travel Here: Jun - Aug