Ascent of Bull Run Mountains-Jackson Lookout Tower on 2005-08-01

Climber: Scott Surgent

Others in Party:Beth
Date:Monday, August 1, 2005
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Bull Run Mountains-Jackson Lookout Tower
    Elevation:1279 ft / 389 m

Ascent Trip Report

he highpoint of Prince William County is not far from where my wife's folks live, a 40-minute drive along good (if crowded) highways. During our visit a year ago we made an effort to seek out this highpoint on our way to a day visiting the Battlefields at Bull Run, where some of the first and most significant battles of the Civil War were fought. By all accounts this should have been an easy visit but I failed to bring the map with us and we had to do this by instinct and guesswork.

So a year ago, we made our way to the area, following US-50 east, then south onto US-15 for about 5 miles toward the city of Manassas. Still short of the city, we turned right (west) onto Logmill Road, in towards a community called Bull Run Mountains Estates. We drove in a couple miles to where the main road came to a Y-junction. All we knew was to go up, so we went right and found a good road that steeply wiggled up the mountainside, passing numerous homes along the way.

Our progress was halted by a gate across the road, within view of the radio towers atop the highpoint. We could have walked but felt more comfortable checking out the approach from the other side, where there might be less homes and trespassing issues to deal with. So we descended, got back onto Logmill, went south to Sumney Road, and followed that up. It turns to graded gravel and is quite steep in places. Shortly it comes to (if I recall correctly) Lookout Road, marked Ridge Road on the map. We went straight, and drove to a dip in the road, but near a distinct highpoint. A guy stringing cable had no issue with us walking up to the small hill, so we did, took some photos and felt happy about visiting the highpoint.

Now, just a few hours later we're thumbing through our Virginia DeLorme atlas and what falls out? The map for Prince William County's highpoint. I studied it and realized we went up the wrong hill. We went up the hill south of the true highpoint. Also, we were too busy with other things to go back for it so we decided to try again a year later.

So now a year later (2005) we're back. This time a day trip to Washington D. C. is on the docket, but I convince Beth to let us have another try at this highpoint, knowing exactly what we needed to do. We retraced our route up Sumney to Lookout, and went farther, down the dip and up again, past our "wrong" hill and up a steep grade that ended besides someone's home and driveway. We parked and knocked on their door but no one was home. No cars were in the driveway either, but a lawn mower was out as well as some kid playthings. Probably at work and school.

We gave ourselves permission to walk the old road/track beside the yard into the trees, and up the short grade to where it topped out near the radio towers at a fence. We entered into the forest to check for the benchmark and other outcrops, and tagged a few. We also walked past the fence into the radio yard and saw a cleared area with a distinct rock, higher than all else and with the benchmark. This was it. We tagged it and hiked back down, happy to get this one out of the way and looking forward to visiting the Washington D.C. highpoint, among the other things to see and do in the capital.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:80 ft / 24 m
    Round-Trip Distance:0.3 mi / 0.5 km
    Trailhead:1199 ft / 365 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail

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