Featured Recreational Trails Program: The Rivanna Trail – Charlottesville, Virginia

The Rivanna Trail is bounded by the Rivanna River, two of its tributaries (Meadow and Moore’s Creeks), and a small undeveloped mountain called Observatory Hill. The twenty-mile rustic footpath meanders through the natural greenbelt that surrounds the City of Charlottesville. The area provides a scenic opportunity for hiking, and residents and visitors alike can quickly and easily leave behind the stresses of modern city life. The trail is unique in that it is truly an urban wilderness trail.

The Rivanna Trail is a well-used well-loved urban treasure. It was built and is maintained entirely by community volunteers. The Trail passes through six City parks; connects neighborhoods and schools; skirts community garden plots; lies within reach of restaurants, hotels, and medical facilities; takes hikers safely under busy roads through culverts; traverses University of Virginia land; and provides hikers with views of historic mills and dams.

The community highly values the opportunity to have a wilderness experience right outside their doorsteps. Within minutes, a hiker can reach a place where he hears only the sounds of nature: rushing water, wind in the trees, birds— no cars or machines.

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