Charlottesville’s Great Outdoors
For those who love being outside, there are plenty of outdoor activities in Charlottesville to keep you busy all season long. From hiking to fishing to cycling, Charlottesville and the surrounding area has the perfect place for every outdoor hobby. (If you’re looking for somewhere to pick up food for a picnic at one of these spots, check out our post on the best food in Charlottesville here.)
Hiking in Charlottesville
If you love hiking, there are dozens of hiking trails in and around Charlottesville with mountain views to wow your Instagram followers. Hiking is one of residents favorite outdoor activities in Charlottesville because of the abundance of trails. Here are some of the best:
- Ivy Creek Natural Area in Ivy Creek Park is a moderate 4 mile loop trail with views of a gorgeous lake. The trail is perfect for hiking, trail running, and walking, and is open year-round.
- Saunders-Monticello Trail is the better of two trails in Kemper Park. The 4 mile out and back trail is easy terrain. This is a great trail if you’re planning to take younger kids with you.
- Ragged Mountain Natural Area Trail is a 5.5 mile moderately-difficult trail. (Note that the whole loop is approximately 7 miles, and it can be difficult to find your way without GPS beyond the 5th mile.)
- If you want to bring your dog on your hike, check out Walnut Creek Park’s Purple Trail. (Note, though, that the park only permits dogs on leash.) The loop trail is 5 miles and can also be used for mountain biking.
Cycling in Charlottesville
Charlottesville residents are big on all kinds of cycling – from road biking on narrow country roads to mountain biking through the mountains. Charlottesville also has groups for biking enthusiasts to ride together such as Charlottesville Bicycle Club. Whether you’re interested in road or mountain biking, you’ll quickly see why cycling is one of the most talked about outdoor activities in Charlottesville.
The League of American Bicyclists designated Charlottesville a “Bicycle Friendly Community” because of the sheer number of potential routes for scenic rides. And in 2015,when the UCI World Road Cycling Championships were held in Richmond, Team USA designated the Charlottesville area as their training location.
If you’re planning to take public transportation after a ride, all Charlottesville buses have bike racks.
Boating and Fishing in Charlottesville
If you love water sports, Charlottesville is the perfect place to call home. With no shortage of lakes and rivers in the area, Charlottesville has the perfect spots for boating and fishing, whether you want a relaxing afternoon or are up for an adventure.
- Beaver Creek Lake is home to sunfish, largemouth bass, and channel catfish for the sports fisherman. The park has over a hundred water acres (over 200 acres total) and is open year-round.
- Chris Greene Lake is the ideal spot for boating, fishing, and canoeing. It includes two acres of beach for family members who aren’t so interested in water sports. The park also has several grills and restrooms available.
- Walnut Creek Park (listed above as a great place for hiking) offers boating and swimming. The park also has canoe rentals if you don’t want to buy or lug around your own.
- Mint Springs Valley Park is vast and is largely known for its hiking. Because of this, most visitors don’t visit the lake, which makes it the perfect place for peaceful boating or fishing. Though the lake is small, it’s incredibly scenic.