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The water level on the stream gauge at Rt 28 was approximately 3.2, which was quite low, and not runnable for the first few cobble bars below the put-in. I would not put in in this location at levels below 3.7
This stream is an excellent novice paddling experience. There are frequent riffles that require simple reads, and minimal maneuvering. Many of the riffles require avoiding debris that does not block the stream, so there is some challenge there. The penalty for failing to read the water properly is minimal - usually just getting stuck on a cobble bar. No significant hazards were encountered on the trip.
The riffles are more frequent in the section north of I-66, but the better ones are toward the end of the trip. The upper section contained one low diagonal ledge (under one foot high) in addition to the cobble bars. Below I-66, there is one small ledge type riffle that had a small wave train, waves under 1 ft.
The only rapid on the trip is a low ledge just upstream of the take out at the Route 28 bridge. This is a very straightforward Class I ledge, but a fun splash for the novice paddler.
At low water levels this trip took about 3.5 hours, but could be shortened by putting in the stream almost anywhere along the river left bank in the Bull Run Regional Park. Finding a put in spot here could be tricky, due to the typically high banks.
The take out is a bit tricky for a novice, requiring an easy eddy turn on river left below the Class I ledge. Once out of the boats, there is a convenient staircase leading up to the ample parking lot.
From I-66 to the take out:
Head south on Rt 28 toward Manassas. There is a parking area before the Rt 28 bridge over Bull Run, and just after the intersection for Rt 28 and Compton Road.
Full Size Sail Rig
Rescue / Throw Bags
Classic Freestanding Rack
PFD's (Life Jackets)