Cub Run Stream Valley, Chantilly

There is tons to explore at Cub Run, which has a wonderful rec center that features a great leisure pool with a playset in the middle of the kiddie pool, and a water slide that goes out of the center and back into the main leisure pool. They also have nature programs throughout the year that are very popular; my now 10-year-old son participated in the nature summer camp last year and he loved hiking the trails and poking around the streams.

This summer, he volunteered to lead us through woodlands, and we took him up on it. We parked at the rec center and started on the trail to the right of the center. This trail is not conducive to strollers, by the way.

Although it looks quite idyllic, the chirping of the birds and crickets was interrupted about every 10 minutes by planes taking off; apparently, it’s on one of the main flight paths of the Dulles Airport. Besides the roar of the airplanes, we were often reminded that we weren’t very far from civilization from odd things on the trail, which started rather abruptly at the end of a paved road. In the middle of our walk, where the plants overgrew the trail, was a manhole cover, and toward the end of the walk, a rusted STOP sign hung drunkenly from a tree.
The stream, though, was full of fun finds. We wore water shoes, and the boys waded in and found clams, crawfish, minnows and best of all, baby catfish! I wasn’t going to let them keep the minnows, but when I saw those cute black catfish fry, I relented and even collected rocks for the home aquarium. We ended up returning the fish, though, to the stream because they weren’t used to eating fish food and just wouldn’t eat it.

For more info on the rec center, see


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