Charlottesville Parks & 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. All City trails are for biking, hiking, and jogging with exceptions and Ivy Creek and Ragged Mountain.
Donate to the Trail Program
The Charlottesville Department of Parks and Recreation is responsible for developing, expanding, maintaining, and improving the network of trails on City properties and on easements across private properties, including natural surface recreation trails and paved and stone dust transportation trails. Those efforts include new land and easement acquisitions, construction of new trails, as well as installation of bridges, signage, benches, trash cans and other amenities, as well as landscape and forest management along trail corridors. Any interested party can donate to the Parks and Recreation Department in order to protect and improve the trail network.
- Forest Hills Park Trail
- Greenbrier Park Trail
- Greenleaf Park Trail
- Heyward Community Forest
- Ivy Creek Natural Area
- John Warner Parkway
- McIntire Park Trail
- Meadowcreek Gardens
- Meadowcreek Valley
- Pen Park Fitness Trail
- Pen Park Nature Trail
- Ragged Mountain Natural Area
- Rivanna River Trail
- Schenk's Greenway
A 1/4 mile paved trail connects Forest Hills Park with the Prospect and Johnson Village neighborhoods. The trail passes through mature woods.
An 8-foot wide stone-dust path runs the length of the park along the north bank of Meadow Creek. This trail includes boardwalks across wetland areas in the eastern portion of the park. The RTF footpath runs through Greenbrier Park, starting with a trailhead at Kenwood Drive, running the south bank of the creek, then crossing the bridge at Jamestown Drive to the north side and following the stone dust path to Brandywine Dr. Within the park, the trail is wider than usual and there are a few benches for resting. Access is available from Greenbrier Drive, Brandywine Drive, and Jamestown Drive.
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.
142 acres of undeveloped forested land with rock outcrops and mountainous topography. It is intended to be used for environmental education, forest preservation, and trail purposes.
The public is welcome to explore the property on new trails recently constructed through a joint community effort.
More volunteer work will continue to develop new trails on the property, particularly a stream-side trail along Reservoir Road that will allow user to access both Heyward Community Forest and Ragged Mountain without having to walk, jog or bike along upper Reservoir Road.
To visit the property, follow these directions to Heyward Community Forest, 1730 Reservoir Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903, and park in the lower parking lot.
Take a video tour of Heyward Community Forest
Natural surface trails provide hiking access to the land adjacent to Ivy Creek and the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir. Maps are located at parking lot trailhead areas. (No biking, jogging, or dogs are allowed on these trails)
This paved trail extends from the 250 bypass at McIntire Park north to Rio Road, and is mostly built on the old Southern Railroad alignment. The 49 acres of land north of Melbourne Road are new parkland given to the City by VDOT as replacement land for the area the road used in McIntire Park. The RTF trail is parallel to the paved trail closer to Meadow Creek north of Melbourne Road.
Parking for the JW Parkway Trail is available near the CARS rescue squad at 828 McIntire Road (south end), Melbourne Road street parking (middle) and CATEC at 1000 Rio Road East (north end).
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.
The RTF footpath passes through this park and includes a number of spur trails providing a variety of circuits through wooded and open area.
The RTF footpath passes through this new City parkland connecting Hydraulic Road with Brandawine Drive between Meadow Creek Gardens and Greenbrier Park. Plans are underway to add a parallel multi use path in the corridor and well as two new bridges over Meadow Creek.
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.
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.
Natural surface trails provide hiking access to the land around the reservoir. Maps are located at parking lot trailhead areas. No dogs are allowed on these trails.
The Rivanna River Trail is a city managed handicapped-accessible paved trail that starts at Riverview Park and meanders north about 2.3 miles to the Veterans of Foreign Wars property and up to River Road, crossing under Free Bridge at Route 250 along the Rivanna River. The trail north of Riverview Park 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 paved surfaced trail, good for hiking, biking and pushing strollers. 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 .