Charlottesville is one of the popular cities in Virginia. It is known for its diverse landscaping and many restaurants. Charlottesville is the gateway to Shenandoah National Park, which is along with the stunning views of Blue Ridge Mountains. The city has incredible beauty with many scenic outdoor activities that one can perform, such as hiking, mountaineering, biking, camping, among others. The following are the best hiking places in Charlottesville that you can enjoy yourself and your family.
Shenandoah National Park
It will take you about 30 to 40 minutes from Charlottesville to reach Shenandoah National Park. The park has numerous trails, valleys, mountains, high waterfalls, and exiting outlooks. Most of the hiking places in the park are relatively short but steep, and you will enjoy stunning natural features. One of the famous hiking trails in Shenandoah National Park is the Appalachian Trail, which goes throughout the park. The path expands from Maine to Georgia, with great overlooks and waterfalls.
Another trail in Shenandoah National park is the Upper Hawksbill trail, which has two lookout places near the summit. The peak of this trail is the highest in the park, and it is full of rocky
lookouts with no vegetation at all. The round-trip covers around 2.1 miles, and it takes about one and a half hours to complete the hike. The other trail that will give you a better view of the park is the Bear fence Mountain Trail. The trail has a 360-degree view above the neighboring mountains and valleys, allowing you to have an entire look at the surrounding area. However, the trail is not ideal for some hikers as it involves scrambling over rock areas, where one needs to climb using the hands and feet up and over the rocky edges. Bear fence Mountain Trail is about 1.2 miles long, and it will give you a good experience and a full view of the park.
Old Rag Mountain
To get to Old Rag Mountain from Charlottesville, it will take you about two and a half hours. You must be well prepared as the hike takes approximately four and a half hours. Old Rag Mountain is about 3280 feet tall, making it the walk with the highest foot traffic. As you begin your hike for about two miles, you will enjoy gorgeous wooded trails, where you can watch deer and other wildlife. The area also has beautiful wildflowers, and you will experience various vegetation types as you go up.
It is essential to note that as you climb high, you will come across the blue blazes and huge granite boulders. The blue blazes help you to keep on track, and they and they have some numbers beneath. The numbers are reference numbers for rescue personnel and search. It is advisable to note the numbers down in case you want to report any incidence.
As you approach the summit, you will see numerous exciting viewpoints and the feldspar and quartz. You will then scramble across the rock areas to get up to the summit. When you get to the summit of the Old Rag, here is the peak of all excitement. Here you will be able to see over 200,000 acres of the Shenandoah National Park. You can then go down through the Saddle Trail, where you will get two shelters: Old Rag Shelter and Byrd’s Nest shelter. The shades are only for day-use.
Crab Tree Falls
Crab Tree Falls is another hiking place in Charlottesville. The gorgeous loop trail is about 2.5 miles, and it is average to strenuous with rocky terrain and steep incline. The hike takes 1.5-2.5 hours, depending on the hikers’ speed. At the bottom of the trail is where the Crab Tree Falls. The water pours down over a 60-foot rock cliff. You will see numerous kinds of wildflowers and ferns that grow in the hollow as a result of the waterfall’s cold spray. It is advisable not to climb the rocks as they are slippery, which can lead to injuries.
Sugar Hollow Trail
The trail is a fantastic escape in nature, where you need to pass through the water as you hike. The trail is about 3.0 miles long, and it is an excellent ambling and shady trail. Sugar Hollow Trail is extensive though easy and comfortable to hike. You need to be well prepared with proper footwear as you pass across some streams. Sugar Hollow Trail is suitable for everyone despite the age, and you will enjoy skipping rocks and wading in the water with your entire family. The designated destination is the swimming hole that has small waterfalls.
Another hiking place in Charlottesville is the Spy Rock, and it has spectacular views. It will only take you about two and a half hours’ drive from Charlottesville to get there. The hiking estimated time is approximately three hours, so you need to be well prepared. The hike to Spy Rock is exciting and demanding, with differing intensity levels as you go up. The trek has some steep sections as you will traverse the falling Crabtree Falls, wildflower-dotted Crabtree Meadows, and some sections of the Appalachian Trail. The first one mile that keeps you on the fire road is somehow misleading since immediately you pass there, the rest of the hike becomes strenuous until you get to the peak. As you are almost to the top, there is a small rock scramble. Then you will arrive at the top where you will experience a 360-degree extensive view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Take a breath as you prepare to get down.
This is one of the famous hiking places in Charlottesville. The round-trip from Charlottesville is about 30 minutes’ drive, and the hiking time is around one and a half hours. Humpback Rock will give you a fantastic view of Central Virginia, and it is one of the most preferred hikes by UVA students and Charlottesville residents. The students and residents walk to enjoy the sunrise in the morning and have a look at the sunset over the mountains in the evening. The hike is very short with a steep one mile to the top with 800 feet of elevation. You will have a fantastic view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah National Park to the east.
Loft Mountain Loop
Loft Mountain Loop is another hiking place in Charlottesville. The trail is about 2.7 miles long, and you will go through the fire road, the Frazier Discovery Trail, and the Appalachian Trail. The area is quiet, and you will enjoy watching some wildlife animals such as deer, rabbits, timber rattlesnake, and bear, among others. The hike begins on the firewood across the Skyline Drive. You will climb for a short distance and get to the Ivy Creek Hut and the Ivy Creek Spring. Climb up following the blue blazes until you reach the junction of the Appalachian Trail, then stretch along the AT. Here the temperatures are very cool, and the area is beautiful full of green grass. Finally, you will get to the ridge of Loft Mountain’s rocky summits. You will see a vast greenstone outcrop poked above the trees. The summit has spectacular viewing points, where you will see the whole Big Run Valley, including Rocky Mountain, Brown Mountain, and Rocky top.
Dark Hallow Fall Trails
The hike in Dark Hallow Fall Trails is short as it covers 1.4 miles return hike. The hike is ideal for everyone, including children and the elderly; thus, it is a perfect hike for the entire family. The trail has some rocky patches with a 70-feet waterfall over the ledges at the base. This makes it the most reachable waterfall in the whole park, and it is shaded, so enjoy the cool temperatures even on a hot day. Even though the total hiking time varies with different hikers, most of them take approximately one and a half hours. The north of the Byrd Visitor Center is where the parking lot of this trail is, which is very large though you can lack parking space, especially on the weekends. It is essential to know that pets are allowed in this trail.
Ivy Creek Natural Area
The area is just quiet with few people. It is a 30 minutes’ drive from Charlottesville, and it can take you around two and a half hours of hiking. Enjoy the forested beauty and some active wildlife such as deer, rabbits, squirrels, turtle, bunnies, beavers, and others. The hike is about 5 miles long, and it is easy to climb, although some sections are a bit challenging. There are also some elegant wildflowers, and the area is just cool.
Hiking in Charlottesville is exciting. There are many fantastic and exciting places for you to hike. The many trails in Shenandoah National Park are just amazing. From many wildlife to various vegetation is something charming. Humpback Rock will offer you a spectacular view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah National Park to the east. The above are among the best hiking places in Charlottesville, you can choose one place to visit, and you will never regret it.
Hi, I am Michael B.McMahon. I am a professional Hiker, Traveler, Climber & Mountainer. I love to travel a lot. I describe my all experience in this blog. I visit a lot of places. I hope my all article helpful everyone. Enjoy It