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Trails in Charlottesville

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Map of City trails 

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 All City trails are for biking, hiking, and jogging with exceptions and Ivy Creek and Ragged Mountain

NEWS - The City s has been awarded VDOT T.A.P. funds to construct a multi use trail entry from Sherwood Avenue into western McIntire Park alongside Rugby Avenue. The project includes a 12 foot asphalt path on the east side of Rugby Avenue to expand the current sidewalk, and a striped bike lane on the west side of Rugby Avenue, as well as a new 4-way stop and crossing improvements at Westwood. Proposed Trail Diagram

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 complete and construction will begin in June 2019.  PLAN SET

NEWS -  The City has been awarded a TAP grant to extend the Water Street / Coal Tower trail west to the Belmont Bridge.  Plans are complete and construction is anticipated to begin in the fall of 2019. Water Street Shared Use Path Plan Set

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.

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.

Rivanna River Trail

The Rivanna River Trail is a city managed 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

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 .

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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.


trail at McIntire park
McIntire Park

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.


John Warner Parkway


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.


trail at greenleaf park
Greenleaf 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.


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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.

Greenbrier Park

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.

 Meadow Creek Valley

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.

Meadow Creek Gardens

The RTF footpath 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.

Crushed Stone Path Greenbrier

Greenbrier Elementary School - Stone dust loop path around soccer field

Paved Path Johnson School

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 bridges. Trail construction is underway between Meadowbrook Heights Road and Hydraulic Road. The connection between the YMCA and the existing paved trail behind the fire station will be built in the late summer and fall of 2019 . The trail is planned to eventually connect to the Meadow Creek trail system near Hydraulic Road, as well as potentially connecting east to the Rivanna River trails at Free Bridge.

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.

ADA Accessibility of Charlottesville Trails

Other trails in the Charlottesville area include the Albemarle County Greenways/Parks the Saunders Trail at Monticello, and trails managed by the Rivanna Trails Foundation.

The regional greenways plan can be found at

For additional information or questions regarding trails, contact the Park & Trail Planner via email at or via phone at 434-970-3656.