Manassas National Battlefield Park | CHINN RIDGE LOOP TRAIL

Start of the Chinn Ridge Loop Trail

Start of the Chinn Ridge Loop Trail


Note: The trails at Manassas National Battlefield Park are poorly marked, so be sure to bring a trail map with you for navigation purposes. The best is the Trail Guide, a tri-fold map that is free at the Henry Hill Visitor Center. For planning purposes, you can download the map here, but be sure to pick up a full-color version before you begin your hike.

Manassas Trail Map (PDF)


Length: 1.5-mile loop
Time: 1 hour
Difficulty: Moderate

Note: There is also a paved out-and-back trail that the National Park Service calls the Chinn Ridge Trail, but this is not the same as the Chinn Ridge Loop Trail.

The Chinn Ridge Loop Trail starts at the far end of the parking lot for the Chinn Ridge stop on the Second Manassas Battlefield Automobile Tour. It is designed to be hiked in the counterclockwise direction, so locate the trail sign and head off across the open field towards the forest. Unlike most of the other trails at Manassas National Battlefield Park, which are mostly out in the open, the Chinn Ridge Loop Trail runs almost entirely through the forest.

The trail starts off on a very mild descent as it makes its way towards Youngs Branch, a small creek located at the bottom of the valley. The path is wide and fairly smooth, so you have an easy hike on the way out.

Typical terrain of the northern half of the Chinn Ridge Loop Trail

Typical terrain of the northern half of the Chinn Ridge Loop Trail

Along the way you will pass a Witness Tree: a tree that was around during the Civil War. Most of the battlefield was farm land, so many of the trees that you see today sprouted after the National Park Service took over the property in the late 1930s.

Witness Tree

Witness Tree

At the half-mile point is Youngs Branch. The trail dead ends and you must take a left. A sign points the way.

Youngs Branch

Youngs Branch

The short walk along the creek ends after just two-tenths of a mile at another intersection. Take a left to begin the hike back towards the parking lot, or stay straight and cross the creek if you want to hike to the New York Monuments, Stop #9 on the battlefield tour. From here on out the hike is along a merged segment of the Chinn Ridge Loop Trail and the Second Manassas Trail. The merged segment makes up two-thirds of the hike, so if you have hiked or plan to hike the Second Manassas Trail, there is no need to hike the Chinn Ridge Loop Trail.

Once leaving Youngs Branch you will be hiking up out of the valley. The incline is moderate for a few minutes, then becomes gradual like on the way down.

Since making the turn away from Youngs Branch, the park’s bridle (horse) trail has also been merged with the hiking trail, so watch your step. To denote this, trail signs have both a blue dot (hiking trail) and a yellow dot (bridle trail) on them. The bridle trail does break away on its own at the 1.1-mile mark on the hike, the final intersection at the southernmost tip of the trail. Take a left to stay on the Chinn Ridge Loop Trail. The bridle trail continues straight.

Take a left to stay on the Chinn Ridge Loop Trail

Take a left to stay on the Chinn Ridge Loop Trail

From the turn you have a .4-mile walk back to the parking lot. The trail traverses two hills, but neither are that steep. You will eventually end your journey at the gate that was to your left when you started the hike.

End of the Chinn Ridge Loop Trail

End of the Chinn Ridge Loop Trail

While the Chinn Ridge Loop Trail certainly covers terrain that the Confederates marched through on their way to engage the Union at Chinn Ridge, it is the only battlefield-related trail at Manassas National Battlefield Park that passes nothing of historical importance—no artillery exhibits, no historic homes or home sites, no cemeteries, no memorials to fallen officers. Everything of interest is located near the parking lot. I found the Chinn Ridge Loop Trail to be the least interesting of all trails in the park, and therefore recommend putting it last on your list of possible hikes.

Back to the Top


With a few exceptions, use of any photograph on the National Park Planner website requires a paid Royalty Free Editorial Use License or Commercial Use License. See the Photo Usage page for details.
Last updated on April 9, 2020
Share this article