The Rivanna River Greenbelt Trail is a part of the Greenbelt trail system that the City of Charlottesville has designated on its Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan. This segment of the Greenbelt meanders north just over 2 miles from its beginning in Riverview Park alongside the scenic Rivanna River. In addition to the initial trail, completed in May 1993, a river loop of about 0.8 miles also has its beginning in Riverview Park and makes a loop about 100 yards to the east of the initial segment, skirting the banks of the Rivanna River. The Greenbelt loop joins up with the initial Greenbelt segment as it travels eastward as one exits Riverview Park.
The trail, which is accessible to persons with disabilities, is excellent for bikers and joggers alike. Good fishing spots are available at many areas along the trail. Visitors to the trail are often treated to sightings of deer, beaver, rabbits and other wildlife one would not expect to see in a city park.
The Rivanna River Greenbelt Trail, the first segment of the city's Greenbelt system to be built, uses the scenic and recreational resources of the Rivanna River to provide an enjoyable outing for area residents and visitors alike. As you walk along the trail, please notice the duck boxes that were placed by the Virginia Chapter of Ducks Unlimited.
A Brief History of the Rivanna River
Thomas Jefferson became interested in navigation on the Rivanna River (known originally as the "River Anna") and made a study of the river in 1763. At his instigation, the channel was cleared of rocks and debris and it was said to be navigable for cargo by canoes and bateaux as far as Milton. The Three-Notched Road, now Main Street, crossed the river near the site of the Woolen Mills. The Rivanna River was an important transportation route during the American Revolution.
Charlottesville Woolen Mills
Sometime around the 1820's, Charlottesville gave its ports on the Rivanna the name "Pireus", after the port City of Athens. This area is now better known as "Woolen Mills". The Charlottesville Woolen Mills (historic Holsinger Photo, above), which manufactured cloth for the Confederate soldiers' uniforms during the Civil War, was burned by Union soldiers. Rivanna Park sits on the land near the Woolen Mills and Dam that was known as "Pireus".
How to Get There
FROM I-64: Take Route 20 North to Monticello Avenue to right on Avon Street to right on Market Street to left on Riverside Avenue to Riverview Park.
FROM 250 BYPASS: Take East High Street to left on Meade Avenue to left on East Market Street to left on Riverside Avenue to Riverview Park
FROM VISITORS CENTER: Take Market Street from the downtown mall east towards the river. Turn left on Riverside Avenue just before the Woolen Mills. Go one block and turn right into the park.
The City of Charlottesville wishes to thank:
Holsinger Studio Collection, Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library and the Rivanna Trails Foundation