Let’s take a hike on the 152nd anniversary of the Battle of Second Manassas!
The route: This is a two-part hike: Conway Robinson State Forest and Brawner Farm.
• Conway Robinson State Forest. We’ll start at 9:40 am from the parking lot and hike clockwise along the Blue Trail. It’s 3.2 miles of smiles through a mixture of pine and old growth hardwood forest. The surface is dirt, relatively flat, and the hike should take only about an hour. After completing the Conway Forest hike, hikers will reembark and drive to the Brawner Farm parking area. To get there, exit the parking lot and turn left on US-29 N/Lee Hwy. At the next traffic light, turn left on Pageland Lane. Drive north on Pageland Lane and take the first right turn to enter Brawner Farm parking area.
• Brawner Farm. At Brawner Farm, we’ll meet Ranger Rick at 11:00 am for a ranger-led walking tour describing the fighting on August 28-29. The duration is about an hour, subject to questions, and will take us about halfway out on the Brawner Loop Trail; 1.3 miles total. The surface is paved from the parking area to the Brawner Farmhouse, and the loop trail is freshly mown.
After the ranger-led walking tour, there will be living history demonstrations at Brawner Farm, each lasting about 30 minutes: an infantry demonstration at 12:00 pm, and an artillery demonstration at 12:30 pm.
Finally, there is an lighted interpretive map inside the Brawner Farmhouse that provides a short overview of the battle.
Google map: http://tinyurl.com/nq829ge
How to get there:
• If you're hiking both parts: Your first stop will be at the Manassas National Battlefield Henry Hill Visitor’s Center at 6511 Sudley Road, Manassas, VA 20109, to purchase your $3 ticket. To get there from the I-495 Capital Beltway, travel west on I-66 to Exit 47B, Route 234 North (Sudley Road). Proceed through the first traffic light. The entrance to the Henry Hill Visitor’s Center is on the right, just past the Northern Virginia Community College. After purchasing your ticket, continue to the meetup location at Conway Robinson State Forest. Exit the Henry Hill Visitor's Center and turn right on VA-234N/Sudley Rd. Drive 0.5 miles north to US-29 S/Lee Hwy and turn left. Drive 3.4 miles along US-29 S/Lee Hwy to the traffic light at the intersection with University Blvd. Turn right to enter the Conway-Robinson Forest parking lot and park.
• If you're hiking Conway Robinson State Forest only: From the I-495 Capital Beltway (either direction), take Exit 49A to I-66 W, following signs for Front Royal. Drive 21.5 miles along I-66 W and take Exit 43B for US-29 N/Lee Hwy. Turn right onto US-29 N/Lee Hwy. At the first traffic light (University Blvd), turn left to enter the Conway Robinson State Forest parking lot and park.
• Sorry, this is not a Metro-accessible hike.
What to bring: Water, comfy shoes, and your furry friend if desired. (Leashes are required.) Sunscreen and insect repellent are recommended. As a reminder, this is a kids-free zone, no one under 18 years of age is permitted.
Cost: If you are doing both parts, a park pass is $3, payable at Henry Hill Visitor Center. There is no fee to hike Conway Robinson State Forest only.
Administrative stuff: Drinking fountains and restrooms are located at Brawner Farm parking area, 6660 Pageland Ln, Gainesville, VA. Hikers should stop by for pit stops as needed before, during, and after the hike.
After the hike: A wine tasting is available at the nearby Winery at Bull Run. To get there from the Stuart’s Hill Center park office, drive 4.1 miles back towards Manassas along US-29 N/Lee Hwy and turn left at the first gravel path past the Stone Bridge parking lot. The CapMac food truck will be on hand at the winery from 1:00 to 5:00 pm, serving their signature CapMac’n Cheese and other fare.
• Conway Robinson Forest, Lee Hwy/US-29 and University Blvd, Gainesville, VA: http://tinyurl.com/p2bv7oo
• Manassas National Battlefield Park: http://tinyurl.com/2apm9jf
Henry Hill Visitor’s Center, 6511 Sudley Road, Manassas, VA
Brawner Farm Parking Area, 6660 Pageland Ln, Gainesville,
• Second Manassas at Civil War Trust:http://tinyurl.com/o7fp3xw
• Battle of Brawner Farm: http://tinyurl.com/ojbsfzn
• Winery at Bull Run, 15950 Lee Hwy, Manassas, VA: http://tinyurl.com/qdtnmst
• CapMac: http://tinyurl.com/oykobsu