Charlottesville Parks and Recreation maintains a variety of trails in the City. There are nearly 6 miles of paved trails, and about 30 miles of nature trails available for residents and visitors to enjoy. Multi use trails exist at Riverview Park (and upstream along the Rivanna river), Meade Park, at Schenk's Greenway, McIntire Park, John Warner Parkway, and at Forest Hills Park. Nature trails exist in the woods of many City parks and alongside creeks. Each trail is described in detail below, or you can view the overall Map of City trails.
NEWS - Due to the sewer line replacement project, Schenk’s Greenway trail will be closed during fall and winter 2015, and will be rebuilt with a paved surface and new landscaping and open for use by early spring 2016.
NEWS - The City has been awarded a MAP-21 grant to extend the 250 bypass trail under Dairy Bridge and west to Hydraulic Road. Plans are nearly complete and construction could occur by fall of 2015.
NEWS - The City has been awarded a SAFETEA-LU/MAP-21 grant from V.D.O.T. to build a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over the railroad tracks to connect the two sides of McIntire Park. A presentation about the bridge project is available here. Comments from the January 28th public open house design review include using stamped concrete stone facing similar to the 250 interchange design, altering the lighting, softening the view of the retaining wall, and working to blend the bridge better into the park setting. A fact sheet with images of the bridge is available here. To see the presentation from the February 2013 public meeting, go HERE
Trails at the Ragged Mountain Natural Area are now open for use. Work remains to be done in order to expand the shoreline trails around the lake. It will be approximately January 2016 until the floating bridge can be installed that will close the trail loop, so all hikes are out-and-back until then.
The section of RTF trail between Sunset Avenue bridge and McElroy Drive is closed while we work to obtain private property permission for the trail. Please use the posted detour around Jefferson Park Circle.
NEWS - Please also note that the culvert under the railroad to/from Greenbrier Park is not open for public use at this time. The City is working with the railroad on safe and legal trail accommodations for the future, possibly using the culvert.
The city has undertaken a major new effort to build trails both within parks—to create loops for walking and biking—as well as longer connections between parks, schools, and other public spaces. The Bicycle, Pedestrian and Trails Plan of Charlottesville includes maps and descriptions of proposed trail systems in the City.
The Rivanna Trail is a handicapped-accessible paved trail that starts at Riverview Park and meanders north about 2.3 miles, crossing under Free Bridge and Route 250 East along the Rivanna river. The trail is a public right-of-way across private property; please respect the adjacent private property by staying on the path.
Schenk's Greenway is a crushed-gravel surfaced trail, good for hiking, biking and pushing strollers and similar in surface to the Saunders Trail at Monticello. While traveling along the trail, which wanders for 1/4 mile along a stretch of McIntire Road, you can enjoy views of Schenk's Branch creek and Art-in-Place sculptures. This section of trail is only the beginning of a much longer route that will soon connect to Preston Avenue and the downtown mall, and north into McIntire Park .
Pen Park Nature Trail
The Pen Park Nature Trail is a 1.5 mile trail that runs along the Rivanna River. This trail is a combination of a wider main path and a number of side trails that offer closer views of the river. The main trail is very flat and wide, good for jogging or hiking. To reach the trail, enter the park and turn left at the tennis courts. The trailhead is behind the picnic shelters. Pass through the fitness trail and continue down the hill along the fence line to the river. Follow the path to the right (downstream). To return you can follow the new trail up to the cemetery and clubhouse, or retrace your steps back to the fitness trail.
Pen Park Fitness Trail
This 1/2 mile paved loop offers 20 stations for a variety of stretching and fitness opportunities while jogging or walking. Located behind the Pen Park picnic shelters.
A number of nature trails run along the creek and through mature forests at McIntire Park. Enter the trails behind the picnic shelters, to the north of the baseball fields, or from the CHS bridge. There are three parallel trails running north of the descent to the CHS bridge and one running south to Melbourne Road from the bridge. There are also trails on the east side of the railroad tracks as part of the developing McIntire botanical garden and passive park.
A soft-surface trail connects Greenleaf Park with Walker School and the school administration building. Go past the raingarden and down the hill into the woods. The trail to the school goes to the left along the creek and 250 bypass. There is a smaller trail connecting the park to neighborhoods to the south.
Forest Hills Park
A 1/4 mile paved trail connects Forest Hills Park with the Prospect and Johnson Village neighborhoods. The trail passes through mature woods.
The RTF footpath runs through the middle of Greenbrier Park along Meadow Creek. Within the park, the trail is wider than usual and there are a few benches for resting. Access is available from Greenbrier Drive at RTF trailheads near the elementary school.
The RTF passes through this park and includes a number of spur trails providing a variety of circuits through wooded and open area.
Buford Forest Trail
Explore the woods and creek valleys behind Buford School and Smith Recreation Center on these footpaths built by volunteers.
Greenbrier Elementary School - Stone dust loop path around soccer field
Johnson Elementary School - Paved loop path around soccer field and playground
Ragged Mountain and Ivy Creek Natural areas - Natural surface trails provide hiking access to the land around these reservoirs. Maps are located at parking lot trailhead areas. (No biking is allowed in these areas)
Trails at Riverview, Quarry and McIntire Parks are on the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
NEW TRAILS currently under development include:
250 Bypass-McIntire Park Multi Use trail from Dairy Bridge to McIntire Park. The trail behind the fire station is complete, including two new bridges. Trail construction will be completed west to the "Whale Tail" in 2015 and the east end will open when the YMCA is complete. The trail is planned to eventually connect to the Meadow Creek trail system near Hydraulic Road.
Meade Avenue Multi Use trail - from railroad to Meade Park - VDOT funded grant to construct multi-use trail along the east side of Meade. The trail supports biking, walking, strollers, wheelchairs, and other forms of non-motorized transportation.
Moores Creek - Trail easement acquisition underway between Rives, Quarry, Jordan and Azalea Parks.
Rivanna River bike/ped bridges- possible locations between Pen and Darden Park and near Riverview Park to Pantops in planning and design with Albemarle County. There is no current timeline or funding for either proposed bridge.
The regional greenways plan can be found at http://www.tjpdc.org/pdf/TJArea_Bike_Ped_Plan.pdf. For additional information or questions regarding trails, contact the Park & Trail Planner via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 434-970-3656.