marker for trail head

The Best of Charlottesville’s Rivanna Trail


The Rivanna Trail is Exhibit A that Cville is as cool as its hype.  Born over 30 years ago, today the trail remains as essential as it is magical, 20 miles of city-encircling, urban-escaping, recreation path that rivals the best in America. Here’s what we consider to be the best of The Rivanna Trail.

Download the Rivanna Trail App or view the trail here:

On October 26  the 16th Annual Loop de Ville occurs.  This enthusiast outing begins at dawn and circumvents the trail counter clockwise.

Like verses of a song, numerous segments of the trail can transport you from urban reality. Jeff Wilbur, longtime board member of the Rivanna Trail Foundation, recommends his three as his favorite stretches of the 20+ mile trail:

  • The O’Hill section – from Fontaine to Ivy Road. It is accessible from parking on top of O’hill and while the trails from the top are not the RT, they all lead down to the RT and there are a myriad number of loops and connections in the area. This section, just under two miles in length, is used by both students and neighborhood dog walkers as well as mountain bikers and runners. The topography, trees and plant life, instantly remove you from the urban to the natural jungle
  • Barracks Rd to Leonard Sandridge Rd – You can easily park and enter at the UVA North Grounds “The Park”. Extending just over one mile in length, this section boasts a healthy deer presence along with fox and lots of birdlife – in conjunction with student runners, bikers and walkers.
  • The spur section that runs north along the Rivanna River from Pen Park is a wonderfully quiet woodland walk  which traverses hillsides, skirts the river and runs through farm fields for a mile and a half. It’s a quieter section, where serenity sleeps.

Bring your water, strap on a pair of trail runners or hiking shoes, and head out to become lost in Charlottesville.